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MA in Social Practice & the Creative Environment

Status: Applications open for 2022-2023




1 Year


Art & Design

Start Date


Course Type

Postgraduate Taught courses


Clare Street

MA Social Practice and the Creative Environment (MA SPaCE) is a vibrant, experimental, level 9 programme that 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. 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. It is a blended learning course, with simultaneous online and onsite options.  

The one-year taught MA programme is designed for cultural practitioners who engage with the field of social relations as part of their work. Social Practice encompasses such diverse practices as art-activism, critical art, socially engaged art and architecture, social practice art, activism, political cultural work, participatory, dialogical and collaborative practices of art and/or design. It involves individuals, communities and/or social institutions in the activation of new situations, working critically through different modes of production and co-production. The move towards Social Practice, at practitioner and institutional levels, reflects a growing need for a democratization of the relationship between creative practitioners and communities, and a sharing of ‘expert’ and ‘lay’ knowledges.  

The MA SPaCE provides a challenging seminar programme that gives students a strong theoretical basis from which to articulate the critical and creative dimensions of their work. Students are supported to develop proposals and projects in situations of their own choosing and encouraged to engage with publics as part of their research process.  

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.

The MA is open to graduates from the fields of art and design, and to experienced graduates outside of the art and design fields. Previous students have come from dance, social work, performance, youth work, architecture, media studies and more. The content of the programme reflects that diversity, engaging with the work of artists, designers, cultural practitioners and disciplines directed towards other aspects of contemporary society.   

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 by 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 artists 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. 

The aims of the programme:  

  • Provide high quality teaching and active learning to post-graduate students through an innovative, student-centered programme. 
  • Develop the TUS focus on art education drawing on contemporary, collaborative, and adaptive modalities.
  • Offer a specialisation in social practice that leads the growing significance of the discipline within contemporary art and design practice.  Foster creative responses to social conditions that have an impact for society, in Limerick city and beyond.
  • Assist students to work closely with cultural, educational, voluntary, and public and community partners and to form a network of creative professionals.  
  • Teach students to think, act, manage and collaborate at an appropriate post-graduate level.  
  • Provide a programme that focuses on the application of creativity and innovation to real-life issues.   

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 Thursday September 1st, 2022 at the latest.


For information on fees and grants please contact

Who can I contact?

What modules will I study?

  • Year 1

    Title: Circuits of Dissemination

    Credits: 10

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    Circuits of Dissemination provides students with critical and professional skills to bring their work to the attention of relevant publics and to present their work professionally across different media. Circuits for the promotion and distribution of work and practice are considered, and strategies of dissemination, including modes of documentation, the use of online platforms, social media, publications and self-publication are explored. Students will receive instruction in the use of technology and applications to facilitate these undertakings. Live presentation methods will be covered, with opportunities for students to develop their presentation skills in a supportive peer-group context. The module will provide the student with critical and professional skills to bring their work to the attention of relevant publics and to present their work professionally across different media.​

    Title: Critical Impulses: A Genealogy of Practice

    Credits: 20

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    Critical Impulses; a Genealogy of Social Practice examines some of the critical impulses in social practice, traced through historical and contemporary moments. This exploration helps students to situate the critical impulses of their own practice, and to confidently articulate that position.​

    The module uses the metaphor of field and map as a way to organise knowledge and inquiry, sketching a broad outline of the territory of Social Practice for the purpose of orientation.​

    Title: Documentation: Critical Reflection and Evaluation of Major Project

    Credits: 15

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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 forms of project provokes a change which is then critically evaluated by the student producing a reflective portfolio. Which may include:

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

    Title: Major Project

    Credits: 30

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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: Voices from the Field

    Credits: 15

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    Voices from the Field 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.

Are there opportunities for further study?

Graduates of MA SPaCE have continued their studies at Doctoral Level, in Ireland and abroad.  

What are the career prospects?

Graduates of the MA SPaCE find employment as:

  • Professional cultural practitioners (art, design, theatre, dance) 
  • Film and media professionals 
  • Arts and health practitioners 
  • Youth workers 
  • Arts administrators 
  • Curators 
  • Cultural programme managers 
  • Educators 
  • Writers