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MRes RCA Material Pathway

The MRes RCA Pathway in the School of Material offers interdisciplinary training in approaches to research for fashion, textiles, jewellery, metal, ceramics and glass. The Pathway will encourage the development of methodological and theoretical perspectives building on a range of interdisciplinary research methods and theories to explore and develop the research culture within our design and craft disciplines.

The launch of the new MRes RCA Material Pathway comes as we recognise the increasing role that research-informed thinking and practice plays in these fields internationally, and the RCA’s unparalleled ability to offer a training ground and networks to enhance developing research careers. 

Experimentation, risk-taking, and critical and creative thinking are key to the Pathway, with an emphasis on developing design and craft research questions, proposals and propositions for further development at PhD level or within multiple employment, industry or independent design and craft practice settings.

The School staff of academics, practitioners and researchers can support a diversity of experimental approaches and practices. The workshop facilities enable high specification making by the new industrial craftsperson as well as investigation into new forms of practice that might include the development of new machinery/manufacturing capabilities, digital, AI and virtual futures, and bespoke products.

The Material Pathway will encourage the development of new thinking and new models of practice that might include our core disciplines married to economics, sustainability, systems thinking, publishing, broadcasting and socio-political approaches, through practice-based, experimental and theoretical methods.

Lectures, seminars, intensive workshops and projects led by internationally active staff drawn from across both the College and School will introduce students to a broad range of research practices and techniques, which can be used in the independent project. Training in research methods and skills, as well as the development of independent research, is supported by one-to-one tutorials with a personal research supervisor. The Pathway includes a group project across the School of Material, which offers scope for collaborative and shared modes of research. Final outcomes for the independent project  may take the form of practice-based or theoretical research, together with supporting documentation.

Key features of the Pathway:

  • Training and support for the development of a research career in academia and/or arts, business, policy and cultural enterprises
  • Training in practice-led as well as critical theory and research methods
  • A broad programme of interdisciplinary research methods training across art and design, at the interface of practice and research
  • Focus on the public value and contribution of research through understanding impact agendas for arts and humanities research
  • A combination of time-tested and experimental research formats and approaches, including practice-led and practice-based research
  • Designed to nurture an individual research project (potentially leading to PhD or public project) and a portfolio of writing and research examples
  • Taught by a team of internationally-active, public-facing researchers
  • Central London research community with extensive national and international partners including museums, arts organisations and academic subject-specialist networks