Taught course

Design Cultures

Manchester Metropolitan University · Manchester School of Art

Entry requirements

You will normally have an undergraduate honours degree or a degree-equivalent postgraduate diploma or a professional qualification. Alternatively, you may be admitted if you can demonstrate appropriate knowledge and skills at honours degree standard. In addition you also need to submit a Digital Portfolio.

Months of entry


Course content

This innovative course explores a diversity of design worlds, from the ‘high’ design of award-winning architecture, furniture and products to the often overlooked objects and experiences of our everyday lives. We consider the work of the professional designer alongside the amateur DIY-er and the anonymously designed objects that shape the daily habits of ordinary life. Through seminars, fieldwork, archive research, lectures and independent study you will be encouraged to build your own research areas, using methods based on the disciplines of design history, design studies and material culture. Developing your critical skills, you will work towards a personal project that has expression in academic writing and research, exhibition or a series of alternative creative outputs. Emphasis on negotiated outcomes reflects the current dynamic interplay of design theory and practice. This is therefore ideal for students who are fascinated by the cultures of design as a whole, whether coming from an interest in design theory, such as historians or archivists, or design practice, such as product designers and curators.

The programme is practice driven and focussed on the development of your existing practice. It will enable you to identify and explore new concepts and approaches negotiated through an individual Working Synopsis.

You will establish key theories and issues relating to Contemporary Curating, Design Cultures and Contemporary Visual Culture and then develop these into more complex approaches.

The MA Design Culture is made up of five units totalling 180 credits.

UNIT 1: Practice 1 -Art - Contemporary Curating, Contemporary Visual Culture, Design Cultures

UNIT 2: Choice of one option from the following-

    • Contested Territories
    • Digital Futures
    • Health and Wellbeing
    • Images and Archives
    • Making Our Futures - Ecological Arts & Sustainable Design
    • Negotiated Study
    • Object and Context
    • The Museum and The City
    • Writing Research and Funding Proposals

UNIT 3: Practice 2 - Art- Contemporary Curating, Contemporary Visual Culture, Design Cultures

UNIT 4: Professional Platforms

UNIT 5: Practice 3 Major Project (Contemporary Curating, Contemporary Visual Culture, Design Culture)

If you choose to progress to MFA Design Culture award you will study a further two units of 60 credits each.

This route is focussed on the continuation of your practice aligned to the research and selection of appropriate public or professional venues and platforms to disseminate a significant body of work. You will be required to produce work for a public audience in the most relevant and appropriate form along with any implicit publicity and dissemination material.

Information for international students

For more information to support your studies in the UK, including course details, how to apply, and living in the UK visit www.mmu.ac.uk/international

Fees and funding

UK students
For further information please see: http://www.mmu.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/fees/
International students
For further information please see: http://www.mmu.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/fees/

For further information please see: http://www.mmu.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/fees/

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months


part time
48 months
full time
24 months

Course contact details

Course Enquiries Team
+44 (0) 161 247 6969