MA Performance: Design and Practice will address your learning through practice holistically. This encompasses the relationship between your ideas, research methods, chosen form and contexts of your practice. Your learning is supported and developed through “Collaboration and Context” and the “Performance Practice” units to prepare you for your final independent project.
Central to the course is the recognition of different models of practice. These have significantly informed debates surrounding definitions, functions and roles within performance making. Such debates have spawned key practitioners, organisations, events, critical texts and seminal works. You will be expected to study and reference these in relation to your own practice. You will also be encouraged to engage with concepts of site, and space, both physical, digital and virtual reality.
Unit 1: Collaborative Practices
The first part of the course focuses on developing your conceptual and practical skills and your understanding of the context of performance making. There is a particular emphasis on cooperation, collaborative methods, composition and performance dramaturgy. During this unit, you will be asked to engage in a collaborative project – this could be a single extended project or a series of shorter projects. The length/scope of the project depends on the form and guidance on appropriate length/scope will be given as part of individual and group tutorials.
Overall, this unit gives you the opportunity to develop your skills in the initiation, management, and presentation of performance though cooperative endeavour. The early part of the course is about bringing your individual position, concerns, and strengths into a collective and co-operative community.
Forums, speakers, cultural visits and a seminar series will help you to engage with the art and performance landscape within which your work will be situated.
Unit 2: Performance as Dialogue
This unit focusses on how the work you make and the performance language you use can be understood and further developed. To do this the unit looks into how the work you are making is likely be encountered interpreted and understood by an audience, viewer or participants. Throughout the unit you are asked to present proposals for performance-based projects; these may be presentations of performance fragments or short form experimental works. Your critical position, as a practitioner, and your developing concerns are expanded on through a deeper engagement with research or practice enquiry. The proposals that you conceive and develop through this unit will be further explored or realised in the final unit.
Through a programme of studio critiques you will be supported in an interrogation of how you and your peers, as well as more established artists, communicate ideas and elicit emotional responses.
Unit 3: Independent Project
This final part of the course will ask you to unite your ideas and research methods to a level of resolution. You will be required to generate a body of independent practice for presentation, alongside a written document. These outcomes combine to reflect your conceptual, practical and professional abilities and as such are graded holistically. In this final part of the course might you undertake an investigation of an aspect related to performance in the expanded field. This investigation or Independent project should directly or otherwise help you to develop a body of practice and critical reflection.
Critical skills and methodologies
This course will develop your critical and research skills, as well as your knowledge of relevant research methods. You will focus on practice-based research, with particular emphasis on the theories underpinning the work of key international practitioners. Developing your critical thinking alongside practice-based experimentation will help inform your work. For example, it may influence its structure, context and form of communication. The course also aims to facilitate greater insight into debates around contemporary art and performance.
Independence and professional preparation
MA Performance: Design and Practice encourages independent study. This is the dominant focus of the second year, which is supported by seminars and discussions. You are provided with a supervisor or mentor appropriate to guiding the progress of your individual study programme.
These opportunities will consolidate thinking around contextual influences and drivers in your practice. In addition, the independent project combines practical work with research. This reflects the wide diversity of individual concerns and purposes on the course.
Important note concerning academic progression through your course: If you are required to retake a unit you will need to cease further study on the course until you have passed the unit concerned. Once you have successfully passed this unit, you will be able to proceed onto the next unit. Retaking a unit might require you to take time out of study, which could affect other things such as student loans or the visa status for international students.
Mode of study
MA Performance: Design and Practice is offered in extended full-time mode which runs for 60 weeks over two academic years. You will be expected to commit 30 hours to study and your developing practice per week, which includes teaching time and independent study.
The course is designed in such a way as to enable you to pursue studies, while also undertaking part-time employment, internships or care responsibilities.
Credit and award requirements
The course is credit-rated at 180 credits.
On successfully completing the course, you will gain a Master of Arts (MA degree).
Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications, an MA is Level 7. All units must be passed in order to achieve the MA but the classification of the award is derived from the mark for the final unit only.
If you are unable to continue on the course, a Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) will normally be offered following the successful completion of 60 credits, or a Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) following the successful completion of 120 credits.