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Awaiting the Soul's Return (In the Nightside Garden)

Overview

Object-making, public art and social practices

Key details

  • 180 credits
  • 1 year programme
  • Full-time study

School or Centre

Next open day

Application deadline

  • 4 Jan 2023

A critical environment in which to discuss contemporary issues for making sculpture.

The study of sculpture is ever-expanding and includes object-making, public art and social practices, site and space, performance, sound, film and video. Rather than only considering the specific manifestations of sculpture, we prefer to think of it as a methodology from which to progress the production of art.

This means that the Sculpture programme at the RCA supports a diverse, experimental and expansive approach to the development of artistic practice. Students are encouraged to adopt a critical and reflexive approach to the production, development and display of their work. Important to the programme ambition is that students situate their practice within the social, political and economic conditions of the contemporary world; identifying what sculpture can contribute to ongoing material, critical, technological, and philosophical debates.

To that end, core staff and visitors demonstrate that research and experimentation are highly valued elements of study, and can lead students to imagine new materials and spaces, to innovate with technology, for impact towards social transformation, sustainability and political awareness and change.

The programme supports collaborative and interdisciplinary approaches to the making and exhibiting of sculpture. Central to this interdisciplinary approach is the critique (and celebration) of the historical forms of sculpture, a legacy that we regard as a launch pad for rethinking the future.

Explore further

Explore Festus, the RCA Sculpture programme's annual series of collaborative projects with external partners.

Read about a recent series of sculptures installed at Battersea Park by RCA Sculpture students.

Visit 2022.rca.ac.uk to view graduate work by our students.

Catch the replays from our November 2022 online Open Day.

Gallery

Facilities

The School of Arts & Humanities is located across our Battersea and Kensington sites.

View all facilities

All full-time students on fine or applied arts programmes are provided with studios or workspace, and access to specialist workshops. There are a number of bookable seminar and project spaces across the site available to all Arts & Humanities students.

  • View of Sculpture facilities (photo: Richard Haughton)

    View of Sculpture facilities (photo: Richard Haughton)

  • Inside the Sculpture studio (photo: Richard Haughton)

    Inside the Sculpture studio (photo: Richard Haughton)

  • Marketing Suite at Assembly Point (July 2019)

    Marketing Suite at Assembly Point (July 2019)

  • Festus PV

    Festus PV

More details on what you'll study.

Find out what you'll cover in this programme.

What you'll cover

The programme is delivered across three terms and includes a combination of programme, School and College units.

Term 1

In the Sites and Situations unit, you identify the intention of your practice, its context and relation to site and material. This begins with an orientation of the culture and philosophy of the course, the location (city and building), facilities, staff and other students’ work. Sites and Situations embeds the central notion of thinking-through-practice. This is achieved through tutorials, critiques, seminars, panel talks and off-site activities. The unit supports you through the production of work, demonstrating the ability to develop a creative, innovative and individual practice. Through the unit, you will locate your work within a critical context that reflects current and emerging approaches to the production of sculpture and the wider arts and humanities.

Across Terms 1 and 2, you will participate in AcrossRCA, the College-wide unit. See below for more details.

Term 2

In The Expanded Field unit, you identify the future direction of your practice, its relation to materiality and immateriality. There is a focus on collaboration and an interdisciplinary context. This further embeds the culture and philosophy of the programme: experimentation, innovation and critical

reflection.

The Expanded Field encourages the development of an individual studio practice, within a wider matrix of professional relationships. This is achieved through collaborative off-site projects, workshops and a lecture series that is designed to support and encourage self-reflection, creative responses and a critical understanding of the creative economy.

In term 2 all School of Arts & Humanities students will participate in the Urgency of the Arts, School-wide unit. Through this unit we ask: what does arts and humanities research and practice have to offer in our current socio-political climate? The unit introduces students to a diverse range of perspectives, approaches and practices relevant to contemporary practice and thought in the Arts & Humanities. The delivery is devised to help you identify and query your own practices and disciplinary assumptions through encounters with others and within the various practices undertaken by students in the School, and to raise awareness around contemporary concerns. You will be supported in understanding the ramifications of your own work and practice within a broad cultural context, and to recognise its many potentially unintended readings and consequences.

Term 3

The Independent Research Project offers a point of synthesis through exhibition and subsequent critical reflection. The focus is on self-directed study. Staff will continue to support you to acquire advanced understanding of practice-led methodologies, critical reflection, production and presentation.

The Independent Research Project supports you with the specific conceptual and material demands of exhibiting and sharing your work and uses this to prepare you for the diverse professional practices of contemporary art.

Assessment will be based upon the Portfolio of Practice. A reflective document that looks at the key elements of development which led to your research and exhibition. Also, how has creative identity been forged for future practice? The Portfolio of Practice will include the ideas and context from which the work emerged, including experimentation, decision making, conceptual ambition, (im)materials and meaning.

Situated at the core of your RCA student experience, this ambitious interdisciplinary College- wide AcrossRCA unit supports how you respond to the challenges of complex, uncertain and changing physical and digital worlds by engaging you in a global creative network that draws on expertise within and beyond the institution. It provides an extraordinary opportunity for you to:

  • make connections across disciplines
  • think critically about your creative practice
  • develop creative networks within and beyond the College
  • generate innovative responses to complex problems
  • reflect on how to propose ideas for positive change in local and/or global contexts.

AcrossRCA launches with a series of presentations from internationally acclaimed speakers that will encourage you to think beyond the discourses of art, architecture, communication, and design, and extend into other territories such as economics, ethics, science, engineering, medicine or astrophysics.

In interdisciplinary teams you will be challenged to use your intellect and imagination to respond to urgent contemporary themes, providing you with an opportunity to develop innovative and disruptive thinking, critically reflect on your responsibilities as a creative practitioner and demonstrate the contribution that the creative arts can make to our understanding and experience of the world. This engagement with interdisciplinary perspectives and practices is designed both to complement your disciplinary studies and provide you with a platform to thrive beyond graduation.

Requirements

What you need to know before you apply

Candidates are selected entirely on merit and applications are welcomed from all over the world. The selection process considers creativity, imagination and innovation as demonstrated in your portfolio, as well as your potential to benefit from the programme and to achieve high MA standards overall.

You must have a good first degree in sculpture or a relevant subject, as well as being able to display a facility with materials and techniques. You’ll also be knowledgeable about the history and cultural relevance of the disciplines pertinent to the arts and humanities, as well as be able to hold and articulate a view of your own work in relationship to that. You should be able to critically reflect on your work, to question received modes of production and frameworks, and metabolise academic, social and philosophical encounters.

What's needed from you

We want to see that you are critically engaged with the work you are making, that you are able to draw on processes and approaches to Sculpture – and art in general – that are relevant to your research interests. The portfolio should demonstrate that you are able to communicate the ideas that impact on your work coherently.

The Sculpture programme includes a rich and diverse range of practices, we are looking for students that are able to help us better understand how sculpture is relevant today. That is, how sculpture can have a meaningful impact on the changing social, technological and physical environments that we encounter every day.

In the portfolio please submit clear and well considered documentation of your work, including title, date, size and materials. You have five slots and each can accept four supporting items. You may use these slots to show how a work developed and evolved from start to completion.

We want to understand:

  • How you approach the conception and making of your work?
  • How you position your practice in a contemporary context?
  • What are the issues, concerns and themes you explore in your work?

The Sculpture programme approaches Sculpture as an expanded, self-reflexive, critical activity that draws on interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches as well as a wealth of varied historical, material and conceptual positions.

The programme is committed to broadening the understanding of our discipline in all its forms. Our students are here to begin to establish what kind of artists they want to be with the ultimate aim of enabling a sustainable professional practice as engaged practitioners.

In this two-minute video, please respond to the above statements and elaborate on the questions previously asked about your work and practice as documented in your portfolio.

If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need the equivalent of an IELTS Academic score of 6.5 with a 6.0 in the Test of Written English (TWE) and at least 5.5 in other skills. Students achieving a grade of at least 6.0, with a grade of 5.5 in the Test of Written English, may be eligible to take the College’s English for Academic Purposes course to enable them to reach the required standard.

You are exempt from this requirement if you have received a 2.1 degree or above from a university in a majority English-speaking nation within the last two years.

If you need a Student Visa to study at the RCA, you will also need to meet the Home Office’s minimum requirements for entry clearance.

Find out more about English-language requirements

Fees & funding

For this programme

Fees for new students

Fees for September 2023 entry on this programme are outlined below. From 2021 onward, EU students are classified as Overseas for tuition fee purposes.

Home
(subsidised)
£15,750 *
Overseas and EU
£36,750 *

Deposit

New entrants to the College will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit in order to secure their place. This will be offset against the tuition fees.

Home
£1,000
Overseas and EU
£2,000

* Total cost is based on the assumption that the programme is completed in the timeframe stated in the programme details. Additional study time may incur additional charges.

Scholarships

Scholarships

Scholarships are awarded for a specific programme and entry point and cannot be deferred without consent from the academic Programme and scholarships panel.

Supporting students on any MA programme from the UK (Preferably is a Scottish national), experiencing financial hardship

Funding Categories: Financial hardship, Full time, Student preferably of Scottish origin

Eligible fee status: UK fee status

Value: £10,000


Supporting MA Sculpture, Painting, Contemporary Art Practice, Print and Photography students experiencing financial hardship

Funding Categories: Financial hardship, Full time

Eligible fee status: UK fee status

Value: Up to seven full tuition fee scholarships for new students

Supporting Sculpture, Painting, Contemporary Art Practice, Print and Photography MA students.

Funding Categories: Full time

Eligible fee status: Any

Value: A tuition fee bursary of £5,000

The Scholarship supports 21 UK MA, MRes and PhD students every year from across all RCA MA, MRes and PhD disciplines.

Funding Categories: Financial hardship, Students with Black African and Caribbean diaspora heritage, or mixed Black African and Caribbean diaspora heritage

Eligible fee status: UK fee status

Value: £21,000

A Scholarship supporting MA Painting and Sculpture students with demonstrable financial need.

Funding Categories: Financial hardship

Eligible fee status: UK fee status

Value: One full tuition fee scholarship valued at £15,000

Supporting Environmental Architecture, Sculpture, Writing and Innovation Design Engineering students from the UK from underrepresented communities, with disabilities, or in financial hardship

Funding Categories: Financial hardship, Students from under-represented communities, Students with a diagnosed physical or sensory disability

Eligible fee status: UK fee status

Value: Two scholarships valued at £30,000 each

More information

External funding

There are many funding sources, with some students securing scholarships and others saving money from working. It is impossible to list all the potential funding sources; however, the following information could be useful.

Payments

Tuition fees are due on the first day of the academic year and students are sent an invoice prior to beginning their studies. Payments can be made in advance, on registration or in two instalments.

Start your application

RCA students at work (photo: Richard Haughton)

Change your life and be here in 2023. Applications open 2 November.

The Royal College of Art welcomes applicants from all over the world.

Before you begin

1.
Make sure you've read and understood the entrance requirements
Visit the requirements page
2.
Check you have all the information you need to apply.
Read our application process guide
Visit our applications portal to get started

Ask a question

Get in touch if you’d like to find out more or have any questions.

Register your interest with us here
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