Head of Programme Welcome

Professor Suzanne Buchan, Animation

The RCA Animation Programme is world-renowned for artistic, director-led creative practice and innovative risk-taking, and works of our award-winning alumni span the shift from analogue materials to digital technologies. Our students find their own meaningful fit or stance within a continuum – between mimetic narrative to playful abstraction  – of techniques, concepts and canons to contribute to a greater collective intellectual and creative capital. 

The Programme philosophy has at its core that animation is central to contemporary debates in visual culture and communication. It is a moving image form that extends across a global landscape of technologies, screen platforms, and human/nonhuman relationships. This is impacting and influencing intellectual, artistic, political and cultural agendas that, in turn, affect people in their daily lives. Whether films, installations, projection mapping, theatre environments, sci-tech visualisation tools, the spatial politics of citizen science games or apps, we engage with animation’s increasing pervasiveness and influence of our understanding of how we see the world.

Structured around practice, experimentation and constructive critique, the curriculum has a particular emphasis on developing creative content informed by collaboration, contextual research and verbal and textual articulation. Enduring historical relations with the material-based media of painting, drawing, illustration and sculpture – the ‘stuff’ of animation practice – are enhanced by contemporary innovation and the paradigm shifts of digital and information revolutions. We support outstanding aspiring practitioners to gain the critical tools, specialist knowledge and the confidence to take the authorial lead and be game changers and innovators in their respective fields. 

Three entry Pathways – Documentary Animation, Experimental Animation and Narrative Animation – offer opportunities for specialisms with fluidity between and beyond them, and students are encouraged to explore multidisciplinary environments in the College. The Programme’s alignment within the School of Communication is crucial to expanding experience and expertise applied to ideas, styles, aesthetics and technological approaches. The MA and postgraduate research degrees attract individuals from a notably wide range of disciplines to explore their fields through animation: film, architecture, graphic design, literature, communication arts, performance, art history, computing, illustration, pure and applied sciences and maths, fine art and more. 

The Programme offers:

  • a singular approach to learning and teaching for developing creativity and skills to negotiate rapid cultural and technological change
  • an exceptionally stimulating environment, complemented by the College’s award-winning Programmes in art and design
  • a curriculum that allows students to explore the creative slip between diverse forms and platforms of the animated moving image
  • innovative, practice-oriented research sensitive to understanding nuances of contexts, cultures, identities, traditions and futures
  • a potent combination of workshops, lectures, discussions, screenings and tutorials, with opportunities to develop individual and collaborative practice
  • internationally renowned faculty and invited speakers and engagement with highly placed professionals, studios and cultural institutions.

"Our graduates shape the progress of animation in- and outside the expanded industry as innovative writers, designers and directors."
Professor Suzanne Buchan, Head of Animation
Professor Suzanne Buchan, Head of Animation