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Socially Engaged Arts Practice with Community Experience


School - School of Arts & Media

Subject area - Art and Design

Start Date(s): September


One year full-time, two years part-time

Fees 2018-19:

2019-20 fees will be displayed shortly.

Full-time - £7,560 per year (180 credits)

Part-time - Pro-rata by credits - contact for details

In Brief:

  • Develop your knowledge and skills relating to current debates and practices
  • You will develop your arts practice within a socially engaged and collaborative context
  • Undertake placements, residencies and live project opportunities with communities, arts and public sector organisations.
  • Part-time study option
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

This programme is open for September 2018 entry only.

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. Students on the programme may 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.

Course Details

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 Masters level degree study, which is informed by current industry practice.
  • Develop advanced understanding of research methods in the context of contemporary art & 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 their 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.

Socially Engaged Arts Practice focuses on building relationships between artists, members of communities and organisations 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. Students on the programme may identify with a specific community in a specific area or identify a community of users from public places such as a school, hospital, museum/ gallery or sites of commercial interest.

Course Structure

The programme structure consists of 5 modules, 4 of which are delivered within a collaborative framework allowing all students across the Masters in Art & 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 1 module is tailored to the specific programme learning outcomes.

For the full-time study option:Semester 1 - October to February
Semester 2 - February to June
Semester 3 - June to September

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

Semester 1

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
  • the ability to analyse, critically reflect and present your developing concerns and any potential outcomes.
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 2 assessment points at week 6 and 12 and submissions will generally be project based (70%) with an underpinning written component (30%).
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 2

This semester 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.

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.
This module deals with the theoretical and practical issues faced by practitioners in the context of socially engaged practice 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 and collaboration.

Semester 3

This semester focuses exclusively on a self-directed major project/ exhibition.

The aim of this module is to offer you the opportunity to critically engage in a major practice-driven project in which the emphasis will be on production, analysis and critical reflection in response to your practice-drivers and concerns

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

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 could be a community based event or presentation of a sustained body of activity within a particular setting.

Part-time mode

You will take five core sequential modules and will study one day a week. Part-time students will have concentrated module delivery in the mornings alongside full-time students.

Year one

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

Year two

  • Exploring Theory & Practice  (30 credits)
  • Definitive Practice (60 credits)

Entry Requirements

Relevant undergraduate degree, normally at 2:1 or above, and supporting portfolio of practice. Applicants with an undergraduate degree of 2:2 will be considered where a high quality portfolio of practice is presented.

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.

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 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.

If your current English language qualification is below this level, you may be able to take one of the many pre-sessional English courses in our School of Languages. For further details, please search for English on Course Finder.

Suitable For

This course is for committed fine art or creative practitioners who wish to develop their personal practice to a higher, professional level. It actively encourages the pursuit of individual agendas for study and for personal choice of media/disciplines selected from the range of practices within the field of contemporary fine art.

Applicant profile

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.

Fees 2019-20

Fees for entry in 2019 will be displayed shortly.

Fees 2018-19

Type of StudyFee
Full-time£7,560 per year (180 credits)
Part-timePro-rata by credits - contact for details
Full-time International£13,860 per year

Additional costs

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

Scholarships and Bursaries

For more information please see our funding section


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 students to progressively take ownership and direction of their learning so that they may develop as independent, life-long learners. The process of Masters 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 students have the opportunity to negotiate their learning and assessment requirements.

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.

Postgraduate Staff Profile

Sam Ingleson

Programme Leader for MA Art & Design Masters 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.

SEEK Profile -


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.

Alumni Profile

Lauren Mullarkey

Artist in Residence at Seashell Trust, a charity is dedicated to providing a creative, happy and secure environment for children and adults with complex and severe learning disabilities, which include little or no language abilities. She uses her art skills to communicate through materials with the students.  

During her time on the masters Lauren had placements with Manchester hospital Schools and worked with the Whitworth Art Gallery alongside the Arts & Health Engagement Team using the handling collection to work with a variety of users.

The masters programme gave me the confidence to engage with professional organisations and grow as an arts educator”  Lauren Mullarkey

(the quote and video can be used for publicity purposes)

Links with Industry

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 & 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 Childrens 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.

Further Study

Graduates from this course pursue professional practice via a range of enterprise, employment and self-employment strategies and contexts. Continuing practice-based and driven research is supported via MPhil/Phd courses at the University of Salford.
Graduates can become associate members of the School of Arts & Media Research Centre or other Research centres as appropriate to individual practice drivers. Graduates are currently engaged in further study via PhD.


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

These include:

  • 2D & 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.

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