Postgraduate MA

Socially Engaged Arts Practice

Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology





One year

Two year

Next enrolment

September 2021


In a nutshell

Socially Engaged Arts Practice focuses on building relationships between artists, members of communities and organisations by working alongside those communities in ways that inform the artist’s practice. Through such practice, communities and individuals can be supported to articulate their own concerns and priorities.

Whilst on this course, you work with a community in a specific area or identify a community of users from public places such as schools, hospitals, museums/galleries or sites of commercial interest to collaborate with.

This course embraces a range and diversity of practices and aims to:
  • Provide the skills needed to professionalise careers through embedded creative placements and live projects with industry and community organisations.
  • Develop creative, critical, analytical and intellectual competencies appropriate to master's level degree study, which is informed by current industry practice.
  • Develop advanced understanding of research methods in the context of contemporary art and design practice and to understand how the boundaries of knowledge are advanced through research.
  • Enhance your knowledge and understanding of professional, contextual and collaborative frameworks appropriate to your experiences and objectives by establishing intellectual debate to enable the articulation and dissemination of their propositions.
  • Assist students at an advanced level in developing, extending and applying complex strategies and process based activities within collaborative, community based, and informal educational contexts, enabling detailed discourse and the creation of a contextual framework from which to practice.

Find out more by signing up to our upcoming Open Day, or if you have any general questions please contact course enquiries.

You can also find helpful FAQs, learn more about student life at Salford or explore all our Art and Design courses. Continue reading to understand more about MA Socially Engaged Arts Practice course. 


options available


students accepted

This is for you if...


You are a committed fine art or creative practitioner who wishes to develop your personal practice.


You want to learn by undertaking placements, residencies and live project opportunities with communities, arts and public sector organisations.


You hope to develop your knowledge and skills relating to current debates and practices.

Course details

All about the course

The programme structure consists of five modules, four of which are delivered within a collaborative framework allowing all students across the master's in art and design programs (Contemporary Fine Art, Socially Engaged Arts Practice and Design for Communication) opportunities to engage with your peers whilst working through individual assignments focused around each programme. The remaining one module is tailored to the specific programme learning outcomes.

During the first semester, focus is placed upon you investigating, critically-reflecting and presenting ideas and findings; developing an understanding of research methods for practice; experiencing different strategies and a broad approach to the subject area.

Importance is placed on developing the ability to explore, manage and present research content/drivers and potential of your individual practice, the ability to identify and articulate practice-derived and research issues from your studio production or live projects, and the ability to analyse, critically reflect and present your developing concerns and any potential outcomes.

Semester two focuses upon developing student knowledge, ability and application to explore different practical and theoretical issues relating to a variety of practices in art within the creative and cultural industries.

For the full-time study option:
  • Semester one - October to February
  • Semester two - February to June
  • Semester three - June to September
Semester one

Creative Research Methods

This module focuses on the understanding of and the application of a range of practice based research methods. You are initially encouraged to develop an individual line of inquiry that will be explored through a variety of creative research methods of which you are supported through lectures, seminars and tutorials. This module has two assessment points at week seven and 12 and submissions will generally be project based (70%) with an underpinning written component (30%).

Developing Approaches to Engagement

This module provides historical and theoretical knowledge from this field as well as an exploration of ethical considerations and guidance upon developing individual approaches. You will take part in workshops and seminars focusing on methods of engagement and collaboration and how these impact upon your own arts practice.

Semester two

Exploring Theory and Practice

This module deals with the theoretical and practical issues faced by practitioners in the context of art and the creative and cultural industries. The module supports you in developing new ideas through research and practice and through an appraisal of the context in which they operate. Particular emphasis is placed on contexts that emerge from international perspectives and from contemporary debates around creativity.

Real World Context

Through the Real World Context module you will undertake a placement in a relevant work place to gain new experiences and test out developing ideas and activities. The creative and cultural industries embrace a range of professional subjects. Given the transversality of these industries, it is important for you to have sufficient knowledge about the sector and its wider contexts, enabling you to identify and acquire professional skills within and across relevant sub-sectors. It is also important to enable you to understand and have experience of working in a multidisciplinary environment and an international context.

Semester three

Definitive Practice

The aims of the major project are to offer you the opportunity to critically engage in a major project in which the emphasis will be on defining and analysing through action research, and developing a constructive practical response to a line of inquiry or research question while formulating your own resolutions or conclusions from your body of work. The culmination of this module is an exhibition or other form of public exposition.

During the 'major project’ you are provided with a supporting supervisor, in developing concerns and practice-drivers accrued throughout the chosen programme of study, via a programmed series of tutorials. Individual tutorials and peer interaction/group discussions are integral to the development of the major project.

Part-time structure

Year One

  • Creative Research Methods (30 credits)
  • Developing Approaches to Engagement (30 credits)
  • Real World Context (30 credits)

Year Two

  • Exploring Theory and Practice (30 credits)

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?

This course uses a range of teaching and learning settings including lectures, seminars/workshops, tutorials, situated learning (e.g. ‘live’ projects) and independent learning. The combination of these aims is to develop an environment that allows you to progressively take ownership and direction of your learning so that you may develop as independent, life-long learners. The process of master's level study, relating to an individual and independent arts practice, is one of dense critical self-reflection; this is achieved by including self-directed projects where you have the opportunity to negotiate your learning and assessment requirements.

You will take five core modules and will study one day a week. Full-time students will have concentrated module delivery in both the morning and afternoon. If studying part-time, you will have concentrated module delivery in the mornings alongside full-time students.

Indicative to the course are:

  • formal lectures
  • seminar presentations
  • workshops
  • critical analysis and independent learning

Award specific learning activities include exercises, team and peer-based learning, studio practice and critical seminar-events, site visits, visiting professionals, work placements, online activities and critical debates.


Assessment methods used on the course include:

  • Practical projects (60%)
  • Reflective writing and essays (30%)
  • Group presentations/exhibitions (10%)

You will be assessed throughout the course on:

  • Body of work and contextual research: e.g action research/publication/exhibition etc.
  • Reflective journals: log or sketch-book/statement/critical writing/seminar or other presentation*

All submissions are comprised of a body of practice plus a contextual and critical research portfolio, and reflective logs/journals and case studies. As the ‘thesis’ is embedded in the action research there is no requirement for a separate, written dissertation - although you may elect to do so, if appropriate, by negotiation with final award Course Team.

*You can negotiate the format of your submissions, in response to the needs and priorities within your practice, and in line with contemporary professional practice habits.

Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

All our Art and Design courses are delivered by the Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology.

Our School and University have strong and long-lasting relationships with local and national industry.

Once you graduate with us, you’ll join a thriving alumni community in Greater Manchester and beyond.


This programme is based at Peel on the main campus. Students working on site have access to their own studio space. You will also have access to facilities in New Adelphi Building.

These include:

  • 2D and 3D printing facilities
  • 3D workshop
  • Fibre workshop
  • Photography studio which includes a lighting set-up
  • Computer suites
  • Gallery spaces

You will be inducted into the workshops, which covers how to use all the machinery, by trained workshop technicians.

Teacher Profile

Sam Ingleson
Programme Leader for MA Art and Design master's suite

Sam Ingleson is a multimedia visual artist. Her art practice is centred in social engagement and participatory performances. Her core research themes are the exploration of creative space and engagement in the formation of artistic strategies that include makers and performers. Sam’s current interest is collaborating to developing board games that bring groups of people together to celebrate, learn or reflect. This has led to the publication of a chapter 'An artists approach to board games', in: Moseley, A & Whitton, N (eds.), New traditional games for learning, A Case Book.

Sam is currently working with the Institute for Dementia at the University of Salford using game based methodologies to raise awareness and generate personal narratives around dementia. This is part of an ongoing body of work looking at how we can use games to engage with and widen the dementia debate.

Sam was previously the artistic director of Artists and Education (2003-2010), a company with a database of over 100 artists that devised, delivered, and evaluated artists’ residencies with young people. The company worked extensively in the North West with external partners including: Creative Partnerships, the Arts Council, and Salford and Manchester City Councils.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

Some teachers on leaving the course step out of formal education and become freelance practitioners working in galleries, prisons, youth centres, hospitals and schools. They are supported in establishing business practices and marketing their activities.

Artists leave the course as professional freelancers working in a variety of formal and non-formal workshop or residency settings. The mix of freelancers and employed teaching staff enrolled on the course brings a wide range of peer employment opportunities. Current students are working in primary and secondary schools, prison education, hospitals, galleries, further and higher education, youth clubs and residential and care homes.

The school co-ordinates a range of enterprise projects and initiatives that can benefit graduating students, in order to assist their career opportunities or routes into self-employment.

Further Study

Graduates showing strong academic and research skills can pursue a further academic research path through our doctoral (PhD) programmes on a full-time or part-time basis subject to a satisfactory proposal.

Career Links

We have links with some of the key cultural organisations within the north-west. These include the Center for Chinese Contemporary Art, Hotbed Press, Islington Mill, Castlefield Gallery, International 3, Salford Museum and Art Gallery, Artworks, Mark Devereux Projects, Textbook Studios, Dr Me, Magma Books and HOME. Talks are also in process with community organisations in Salford and the north-west, including Pendleton Together and The Children's Society and The Seashell Trust, which will provide opportunities for students to work with and respond to local communities and initiatives.

The range of opportunities for students span from residencies and internships to live projects and design briefs to external mentoring and professional talks.


What you need to know

  • This course is based at our Peel Park campus
  • Part-time study option
  • International students can apply

All students working in any media or discipline need to demonstrate a commitment to an ongoing career as a practising artist and a willingness to challenge the scope of their practice.

Which qualifications do I need?

Applicants are required to present a portfolio (or equivalent) at interview. Applicants are also asked to provide a short statement describing their practice to date and motivations for study.


International applicants must also provide evidence of proficiency in English (some countries are exempt from this- detailed information can be obtained from the International Relations Office). Evidence of proficiency in English takes the form of IELTS 6.5 band score.


Standard entry requirements

Standard entry requirements

To join this MA you should have a second class honours degree, 2:2 or above.

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.5, with no element below 5.5, is proof of this.

Alternative entry requirements

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

English language requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2021/22 £8,100per year
Full-time international 2021/22 £15,030per year
Part-time 2021/22 £1,350 for home and £2,505 for international per 30 credits
Full-time home 2022/23 £8,280per year
Full-time international 2022/23 £15345per year
Part-time 2022/23 £1,380 for home and £2,557.5 for international per 30 credits
Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships for international students

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships.
We have a range of scholarships available for students applying for courses in 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. Our Global Gold Excellence Scholarship is worth £3,500 and our Global Silver Excellence Scholarship is worth £3,000 - both are available for students studying in our 2021/22 intakes.

We also offer the Salford International Excellence Scholarship which offers up to £5,000 discount on tuition fees. As this is a prestigious award we have a limited number of these scholarships available.

See the full range of our International Scholarships.

Apply now

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Enrolment dates

September 2021

September 2022