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MA in Social Practice & the Creative Environment





1 Year


Art & Design

Start Date


Course Type

Postgraduate Taught courses


Clare Street, Online

MA Social Practice and the Creative Environment (MA SPACE) is a vibrant, experimental level 9 programme, which focuses on Social Practice and the Creative Environment. The programme maintains a reputation as a world-class provider of postgraduate education in the field of social art practice/socially engaged art practice.

This taught MA programme is based on the study of the theory and practice of socially engaged creative practice and the production of work based on these principles.  Social Art Practice has been described as art activism, critical art, socially engaged art, social practice art, activism, political art, participatory, dialogical or collaborative art. MA SPACE invites candidates from Art, Design and other related fields who are interested in creating art that addresses topics such as; Space and Place, Food Politics, Gender Politics, Ecology, Climate Change, environmental politics, Science and Art, Civil Rights, Globalization and Economics, Health, Trans-Global Movement, Labour and Land Politics and more.

MA SPACE offers a strong theoretical and critical grounding in the area of social practice. It equips postgraduates with appropriate research skills, educates in the roles participants will play within communities/situations/spaces, and ultimately, offers a deep level of authentic experience and situated learning through the delivery and documentation of a self-chosen social practice project.

MA SPACE is delivered by both LSAD staff and a varied range of visiting lecturer specialists through a mix of active learning, field research and engagement in the wider world. The core teaching staff are high profile practicing artist’s in the field of Social Art Practice. MA SPACE also has a panel of visiting artists and practitioners, both national and international, who lecture on the programme providing diverse exemplars of social art and design practice.

MA Social Practice and the Creative Environment at LSAD is now Irelands first online master’s programme in Socially Engaged Art practice.Building on over ten years of excellence, MA SPACE has been shortlisted twice for the prestigious HEA Graduate Ireland Postgraduate Programme of the Year Awards in 2019 and 2020.The programme is delivered over one year with contributions from the best international practitioners in the field.  The online delivery is further supported with a number of West of Ireland based gatherings, where we will get to know each other and will build a new learning community in the field of social art practice.

This innovative MA programme is distinctive in that;
· It is focused on Social Practice
· It is delivered through theory and practice
· It is open to practitioners of art and design
· It is also open to experienced graduates outside of the art and design fields.

MA SPACE students will immerse themselves in a challenging seminar programme which supports their engagement in a range of theoretical dialogues encompassing the position of artists, designers, cultural practitioners and other engaged disciplines in contemporary society.

An important element of this programme is a wider public engagement in the process. This is an opportunity for postgraduate students to apply their knowledge and abilities to initiate, develop, and complete a Social Practice project.

The aims of the MA SPACE programme are to:

  • Build on the MA SPACE reputation as a world-class provider of postgraduate education in the field of social art practice/socially engaged art practice.

  • Develop the LSAD focus on art education towards a more contemporary, collaborative and adaptive level. 

  • Offer a specialisation in social practice that leads the growing significance of the discipline within contemporary art and design practice.

  • Produce students who can think, act, manage and collaborate at an appropriate post-
graduate level.

  • MA SPACE graduates form a new network of creative professionals.

  • Respond in a more focussed way to the needs of broader society, the city and beyond.

  • Ensure that postgraduate students will work closely with cultural, educational, voluntary and public and community partners. 

What are the entry requirements?

Minimum Entry Requirements
Candidates entering the course must have: A minimum 2.2 honours degree in their chosen Art, Design, Humanities, and/or related fields of study e.g. Architecture, New Media, the Performing Arts and Multi-Media  

Equivalent qualifications including the pre-NFQ NCEA National Diploma. Applicants with equivalent qualifications on the European and International frameworks will also be considered. International students must evidence a proficiency in English language.

Candidates with prior experiential learning will be considered for the MA SPACE programme. The work of candidates with prior experiential learning is assessed by an internal panel of experts to asertain that the candidate can operate at Level 9.

All qualified candidates will be interviewed in order to assess their interest in or previous experience in the area of Social Practice, and their potential contribution to the group dynamic. Applicants will also need to undergo Garda Vetting, as many students may work with groups containing children and/or vulnerable adults.

International Applicants

Non-EU applicants should apply directly to the International Office at LIT allowing plenty of time for completing the visa process. Applications for October start should be made by July 1st at the latest.

Application Deadline

Applications should be made by Wednesday September 1st, 2021 at the latest.

Who can I contact?

What modules will I study?

  • Year 1

    Title: Commentaries - Critical Grounding, Taking a Position

    Credits: 20 Credits

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    Commentaries- Critical Grounding, Taking a Position offers post graduate students the opportunity to examine and analyse the different forms that social practice/socially engaged art can take. It also contextualises social practice in terms of theoretical frameworks and explores the notion of social responsibility. The work of leading theorists from Martha Rosler to Guy Debord will be explored through lectures and student led seminar responses to these works. This module is a foundational part of the MA programme, within the context of the trend in contemporary art and design practice from site specific work to situation specific work, and from individual to collaborative artistic intervention in the social dimension. It serves to provide the theoretical underpinning which informs such practice, as outlined in the literature by Claire Doherty (ed.) Situation, 2009, Claire Bishop, Artificial Hells, 2012 and Gregory Sholette, Dark Matter 2011. The aim of this module is to provide students with a strong critical and analytical setting, to contextualise practice within current cultural policy, as well as within which to frame their own social practice.

    Title: Transactions, Roles and Research

    Credits: 15 Credits

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    Transactions, Roles and Research focuses on the interactions of the creative practitioner with broader community of practices. It also explores research techniques and methodologies relevant to post-graduate students. It introduces graduates to the disciplines, practices, languages and practices appropriated in socially engaged art, and gives an overview on the administrative, legal and planning aspects of working within defined space. It offers students the chance to explore and analyse the nature of experience, ethics and vernacular exchange.

    Title: Practice - Analysis, Contextualise, Assimilate

    Credits: 15 Credits

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    Practice, Analyse, Contextualise, Assimilate is focused on exemplars of socially engaged creative practice, where through analysis and examination of best practice case studies delivered by practitioners and through student led seminars, workshops and reading groups, students achieve a critical and contextual background of the history and contemporary activity of their practice. It offers students the chance to explore and analyse the way that the artist or designer operates within a socially engaged context.

    Title: Social Practice: Major Project

    Credits: 25 Credits

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    Social Practice: Major Project. In this practice based module students are requested to apply their learning to date through direct creative involvement in a social context. Each student will establish a creative and critical relationship with a chosen social context as a site for exchange, provocation, investigation or civic engagement. Prior to this module, students are expected to familiarise themselves with their student handbook which clearly sets out the roles and responsibilities of all partners in the major project. Through all their mediation with the public, students will be guided in best practice and coached in negotionating agreements with agencies and communities, especially in complex or challenging situations. Students are requested to examine and employ the theories and practices explored in earlier modules, in order to conceptualise and structure a major self directed project. The project should reach a resolution within the timeframe of the course.

    The form of practice adopted by the students will be developed by the individual's active research and project choice; they may use various forms, methods, and approaches as the situation dictates; any combination might be used with the intention of creating significant engagement and/or commentary, investigation, exploration, experimentation, agency, activation, reportage/documentation/witness of the site, context or situation. It is essential part of the process that each student be aware of the boundaries of engagement and is responsible and sensitive to any individuals, groups or social contexts involved.

    Drawing attention to the professional characteristics of the process, each student must present a working project management plan on their concept and the situation. This will illustrate where appropriate, contextual information, working methodologies, time management, project resources, documentation strategies, funds management, technical planning, project contracts and so forth.

    The module will ascertain the students' ability to pursue Social Practice as an independent cultural producer/facilitator. The module is delivered through workshops, tutorials and group critique sessions.

    Title: Documentation: Critical Reflection and Evaluation of Major Project

    Credits: 15 Credits

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    Documentation: Critical Reflection and Evaluation of Major Project relates to the documented reflection and evaluation of the Major Project. Students will apply research methods covered in Module 1, 2, 3 and 4. This reflection and evaluation will typically use the format of an action project, where the intervention/designed work/situation/collaborative piece or other form of project provokes a change which is then critically evaluated by the student producing a reflective portfolio. Which may include;

    ;a written text
    ;reflective diaries
    ;social media formats of documentation
    ;other documentary works, including sound, image, video etc


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