MA Programme Description
The first year emphasises experimentation and innovation through a foundational approach to the study of the interior. In the first year, students will examine and develop ideas in response to what are considered to be some of the fundamental elements and principles of the interior. These have been developed into three key areas of work: ‘Proximities’, ‘Inhabitation’ and ‘Identities’.
In term one, students undertake a series of short introductory projects often undertaken with the second-year students. Following this diagnostic introductory period, the whole of the programme undertakes a field study visit. The ‘Proximities’ phase of the project then proceeds up to the Christmas break.
In the second term ‘Inhabitations’ introduces projects based around different forms of the use of the interior. ‘Work in Progress’ is a School-wide exhibition that is used to show the College what the programme is undertaking. The third term consolidates the previous learning into a project entitled ‘Identities’, where students are required to construct design projects that examine the manifestations of particular atmospheres, surfaces, rooms and conditions that convey the aspects of a particular site, communities, clients and stakeholders. It will foreground and subsequently develop all aspects of the student learning to date and will be realised at the end of the year in a portfolio submitted for the interim examination.
All of year one is underpinned by a School-wide elective lecture and seminar series. The programme also offers ‘Re-use’, a weekly series of lectures, talks and seminars that underpin the current project being undertaken with key ideas, texts, theories and discussions. A year-long dissertation is undertaken in the Critical & Historical Studies module.
At the start of the second year (term four) students integrate with the first year through undertaking a series of collaborative short projects in mixed groups. After the study trip, students join a particular platform in order to pursue their personal thesis project.
The focus of the work is concerned with developing an innovative project that explores an aspect of interior design at a level appropriate for a Master’s project.
This work may be a single interior design project, involve an extended piece of research, a series of smaller exploratory projects or a combination of these approaches. This work is formed and developed in the platform and assessed in the Work in Progress show. The project culminates in the material developed for the Independent Research Project, assessed in the Final Examination and then exhibited at the Degree Show.
The second year of the programme is organised around a number of Platforms and the Exhibition Design Pathway. Each Platform will begin around the middle of term one and be based around emergent or current issues in the subject of interiors and in other built environment/design led contexts. Each platform is configured in order to respond to a particular overall provocation and location.
Exhibition Design is a pathway that students join the programme to pursue or can opt to undertake at the end of Year One. It is a research-informed, practice-led approach to the making of exhibitions. Participants engage in the development of a specialised approach to making exhibition environments.
Critical & Historical Studies
The RCA provides a unique environment for postgraduate art and design students to reflect upon their own practice, and to engage with students from their own and other disciplines. The role of Critical & Historical Studies (CHS) is to support the studio programmes in enabling these critical engagements to take place. The courses offered by CHS to first year studio-based MA students propose an intellectual framework within which they can begin to establish a coherent relationship between theory and practice.
In the autumn and spring terms there are a series of College-wide seminars and lectures. The autumn term series will relate to your particular discipline (though it is possible to elect to join a series being offered to students on other programmes) whereas the spring term series will be more broad-based and cross-disciplinary in nature.
In the spring and summer terms, a CHS tutor will give you individual tutorials to support the development of a dissertation which is submitted *at the end of the Summer Term.* The dissertation should be between 6,000–10,000 words in length – this is a major piece of work and you will be not be able to submit for the Final Examination until you have passed this assessment.