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RCA MRes Students on an Exciting, Interdisciplinary Approach to Research

The Royal College of Art MRes programme provides early-career researchers with the intellectual, technical and professional tools with which to complete high-quality research projects. The programme is delivered through a combination of structured learning – comprising of lectures and master-classes by practitioners and senior academics – workshop classes based around a set task (a ‘brief’); tutor-led seminar classes; and project assignments that support the structured teaching programme. 

Here, three current MRes students give their perspectives on this exciting, collaborative and interdisciplinary research degree. 

Sarah Griffin is an independent curator specialising in the applied arts currently on the MRes Humanities Pathway at the RCA. She recently curated several exhibitions at the New Art Centre in Wiltshire and at Chatsworth House, and prior to that worked for the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Part of what attracted Sarah to the RCA MRes programme, she explains, was the fact that it offered a ‘single, concentrated year of study’. She comments that 'I think that having professional experience has really allowed me to hit the ground running. I can already see how my current research will lead to new exhibition programming.’

Although students apply to a specific MRes Pathway – in Architecture, Communication, Design, Fine Art or Humanities – the small and vibrant programme regularly comes together for lectures, and for the Research Methodologies element of the course. Sarah found this cross-college aspect particularly rewarding, and comments that ‘the interdisciplinary nature of the programme is teaching me things that I didn’t know I needed to be taught.' 

Mia Imamovic, who is on the MRes Design Pathway, came to the course from her BA in Technical Arts & Special Effects at Wimbledon College of Art. Following her BA – during which she was also working as a professional prop maker and sculptor – Mia decided to apply to the MRes at the RCA in order to develop a different approach to her practice. Her current research focusses on the experience of children within the education system. While on the MRes Design Pathway, Mia has enjoyed the range of specialisms represented by visiting professionals: ‘It has connected us to some really interesting people from within the industry’. She adds that, 'In my experience, arts education requires you to be very self-reliant, but I have been impressed with the extent of the teaching here. It feels personal and supportive of individual practice.'

For Stephen Hall, the decision to apply to the MRes Communication Design Pathway at the RCA was motivated by repositioning himself as a creative practitioner, specifically as a communication designer and illustrator. ‘Research is a crucial skill for a designer today’, he explains, ‘and the MRes programme provides you with the essential tools and methods for research-based practice.’ Stephen, who currently teaches at the University of the Arts, London, also views the MRes as professional development which will help him further his teaching career.

Professor Teal Triggs, Associate Dean of the School of Communication, believes that one of the benefits of this focused, intense and interdisciplinary programme is that it is able to look imaginatively and critically at what forms research should and can take, and encourages both the staff, students and the college to embrace new modes of collaboration and exchange.   

For more information on applying for an MRes at the RCA visit the individual pathway pages:

MRes RCA: Architecture Pathway | MRes RCA: Communication Design Pathway | MRes RCA: Design Pathway | MRes RCA: Fine Art Pathway | MRes RCA: Humanities Pathway | MRes RCA: Material Pathway

Or to arrange a conversation about the MRes degree, please email the relevant pathway:

[email protected] | [email protected] | [email protected] | [email protected] | [email protected] 

Click here to apply online.

Please note we are unable to offer UK Student Visas for international students undertaking a two-year, part-time Master’s of Research. Students studying full-time will be eligible to apply for a Student Visa.