Course overview

‘Ecologies’ is a specialism within the Philosophy pathway on our MA Art and Design programme. ‘Ecology’ is taken in its widest, philosophical sense to mean the study of connection, interrelationship and belonging. It is intended for art and design graduates who wish to develop the ecological dimension of their practice, and for humanities or science graduates who are interested in how ecology and visual practice can inform one another. It is a research-preparation Masters programme that can be taken either as a theory–practice or a purely theoretical route. The form that your work might take is one of the philosophical questions we discuss. Some familiarity with ecological theory or practice is desirable but not essential.

Course content

The Ecologies pathway focuses on the capacity of art and design to generate ways of acting and making that explore the connection between self and world, and enhance our relationship with others, where the ‘other’ might be, for example, an animal, a community or a location. Subjects covered extend from environmental questions of participation, landscape and place, to economic and philosophical questions of embodiment, work and institutional critique. We also incorporate ecological theory and practice in the design of the seminars and assignments, by considering the forms they might take and the relationships they might create. Other core elements include:

  • Key thinkers and concepts in the philosophy of ecology, from Plato to the present
  • Aesthetics as ecology
  • Contemporary debates in the art, design and philosophy of ecology, for example (to give three):
    • A world of objects versus a world of relationships. What’s the difference?
    • What can the senses teach us about our immersion in the world?
    • The possibility of ways of acting, making and thinking that do not rely on a dualistic, subject–object worldview.

You will develop your own creative, theoretical and practical abilities, as well as a critical insight into your chosen area of ecological enquiry. You will participate in a series of seminars and workshops, including research writing workshops, and have the option to take a module in transdisciplinary research skills. From February, in the second semester, readings, seminars and workshops are tailored increasingly to the subject interests of the group. Your studies will culminate in the presentation of a major body of practice and dissertation, or a written thesis.

The programme is offered in full-time (one year duration) and part-time mode (two year duration). In both cases, the programme is delivered on one day per week during the first and second semesters (October to June). You will be expected to be self-directed at all other times, negotiating your own programme of learning with your personal tutor.

Career potential

Graduates of the Ecologies MA (Art & Design) programme are well placed to pursue their career in a variety of professional or creative industries contexts, including art practice, journalism, new media, the public understanding of science, or as a facilitator of interaction between different subject communities. Others may seek to develop their careers in education and academia, for example, teaching, lecturing or further research.


Assessment is though a combination of portfolio review, essay, viva voce examination, dissertation and a final body of theoretical–practical work.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a good BA (Hons) or BSc (Hons) degree (or equivalent) in a related field.

For further information, contact:

Postgraduate Certificate in Research Skills (CRS)

This qualification offers a detailed and comprehensive introduction to the range of methods, strategies and debates which can apply to art and design research.

Click here to visit the CRS web page.

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