MA in Social Practice

and the

Creative Environment

Play Video

View Course Explainer Video

The MA SPaCE has a reputation as a world-class provider of postgraduate education in the field of social art practice/socially engaged art practice.

What is the MA SPACE?

MA Social Practice and the Creative Environment (MA SPaCE) is a vibrant, experimental, taught MA programme, designed for cultural practitioners who engage with the field of social relations as part of their work.

The MA SPaCE provides a challenging seminar programme that gives students a strong theoretical basis from which to articulate the critical and creative dimensions of their work. The complexity and constraints of working creatively in a social context are directly addressed. Tools and methods for developing an understanding of physical and social environments, social interaction, transaction and exchange, community concerns, history and culture are generated through the work of the programme.

The MA SPaCE has a reputation as a world-class provider of postgraduate education in the field of social art practice/socially engaged art practice.

Who can apply?

The MA is open to graduates from the fields of art and design and to experienced graduates outside of the art and design fields. Previous students have come from dance, social work, performance, youth work, architecture, media studies and more. The content of the programme reflects that diversity, engaging with the work of artists, designers, cultural practitioners and disciplines directed towards other aspects of contemporary society.

The Programme

The MA SPaCE programme is delivered through a blended learning approach, a combination of onsite workshops and online lectures and seminars. It is designed to support students on the MA SPACE to develop proposals and projects in situations of their own choosing. Each of the 5 modules contributes to that process in specific ways:

Title: Critical Impulses; a Genealogy of Social Practice

Credits: 20 Credits

Critical Impulses; a Genealogy of Social Practice examines some of the critical impulses in social practice, traced through historical and contemporary moments. This exploration helps students to situate the critical impulses of their own practice, and to confidently articulate that position.​

The module uses the metaphor of field and map as a way to organise knowledge and inquiry, sketching a broad outline of the territory of Social Practice for the purpose of orientation.​

Alternative Route, Michael Cleary, 2013-2022

Title: Voices from the Field

Credits: 15 Credits

Voices from the Field focuses on the interactions of the creative practitioner with the broader community of practices. It also explores research techniques and methodologies relevant to post-graduate students. It introduces graduates to the disciplines, practices, languages and practices appropriated in socially engaged art, and gives an overview of the administrative, legal and planning aspects of working within defined space. It offers students the chance to explore and analyse the nature of experience, ethics and vernacular exchange.

Casino Voltaire, Ciaran Nash, 2014-2016

Title: Circuits of Dissemination

Credits: 10 Credits

Circuits of Dissemination provides students with critical and professional skills to bring their work to the attention of relevant publics and to present their work professionally across different media. Circuits for the promotion and distribution of work and practice are considered, and strategies of dissemination, including modes of documentation, the use of online platforms, social media, publications and self-publication are explored. Students will receive instruction in the use of technology and applications to facilitate these undertakings. Live presentation methods will be covered, with opportunities for students to develop their presentation skills in a supportive peer-group context. The module will provide the student with critical and professional skills to bring their work to the attention of relevant publics and to present their work professionally across different media.​

Critical Cartography #3, FREE*SPACE, 2018

Title: Documentation: Critical Reflection
and Evaluation of Major Project

Credits: 15 Credits

Documentation: Critical Reflection and Evaluation of Major Project relates to the documented reflection and evaluation of the Major Project. Students will apply research methods covered in Module 1, 2, 3 and 4. This reflection and evaluation will typically use the format of an action project, where the intervention/designed work/situation/collaborative piece or other forms of project provokes a change which is then critically evaluated by the student producing a reflective portfolio. Which may include:

  • a written text
  • a catalogue
  • reflective diaries
  • social media formats of documentation
  • other documentary works, including sound, image, video etc.
Utopia Ltd. Eszter Nemethi, 2016

Title: Social Practice: Major Project

Credits: 30 Credits

Social Practice: Major Project. In this practice-based module, students are requested to apply their learning to date through direct creative involvement in a social context. Each student will establish a creative and critical relationship with a chosen social context as a site for exchange, provocation, investigation or civic engagement. Prior to this module, students are expected to familiarise themselves with their student handbook which clearly sets out the roles and responsibilities of all partners in the major project. Through all their mediation with the public, students will be guided in best practice and coached in negotionating agreements with agencies and communities, especially in complex or challenging situations. Students are requested to examine and employ the theories and practices explored in earlier modules, in order to conceptualise and structure a major self directed project. The project should reach a resolution within the timeframe of the course.

The form of practice adopted by the students will be developed by the individual’s active research and project choice; they may use various forms, methods, and approaches as the situation dictates; any combination might be used with the intention of creating significant engagement and/or commentary, investigation, exploration, experimentation, agency, activation, reportage/documentation/witness of the site, context or situation. It is essential part of the process that each student be aware of the boundaries of engagement and is responsible and sensitive to any individuals, groups or social contexts involved.

Drawing attention to the professional characteristics of the process, each student must present a working project management plan on their concept and the situation. This will illustrate where appropriate, contextual information, working methodologies, time management, project resources, documentation strategies, funds management, technical planning, project contracts and so forth. The module will ascertain the students’ ability to pursue Social Practice as an independent cultural producer/facilitator. The module is delivered through workshops, tutorials and group critique sessions.

Street Line Critics, Lotte Bender, 2013-2015

Limerick School
of Art & Design

Limerick School of Art & Design is the oldest college of art in Ireland, founded in 1852. For 170 years we have been educating, inspiring and empowering people seeking a creative future. We are proud to be recognised as one of Europe’s leading fine art, design and creative media schools. With over 1,450 students across our campuses, we are a hub of energy and imagination, a supportive creative community and a place of art, enterprise and research.

Limerick School of Art and Design runs a number of taught MA programmes and has a strong cohort of independent, postgraduate researchers.


MA SPACE is delivered by both LSAD staff and a varied range of visiting lecturer specialists through a mix of active learning, field research and engagement in the wider world. The core teaching staff are high profile practising artists in the field of Social Art Practice. MA SPACE also has a panel of visiting artists and practitioners, both national and international, who lecture on the programme providing diverse exemplars of social art and design practice.

Dr Fiona Woods

Joint Programme Leader.

Dr Fiona Woods is a joint programme leader. She is an artist, a researcher and an educator who specializes in the area of social practice, politics and aesthetics, critical spatial practice, publicness and the commons.

Dr Sean Taylor

Joint Programme Leader

Sean Taylor is a socially engaged artist and educator with considerable international and national experience. Sean’s social art practice explores concepts of annual and natural cycles in nature and time. The core artistic research methodologies he employs have a strong connection to space, place, ecology and the urgent need for social action. He holds a PhD exploring Acouscenic Listening and the Creative Soundwalk and its links to the social and creative reimaging of place. He established the art and science collaboration Softday with software engineer Mikael Fernström in 1999 and continues to develop public art projects with the Softday collaboration.

He is the Joint-Leader MA in Social Practice and the Creative Environment and Year 4 Lecturer on the undergraduate Sculpture & Combined Media programme, at Limerick School of Art & Design.

Examples of his work at available at: | | |

Applications can be made anytime up to
Thursday, September 1st, 2022

Applications and more information here

Domestic and EU applicants can submit applications to [email protected]

Non-EU applicants should apply directly to the International Office at TUS, allowing plenty of time for completing the visa process. Applications for October start should be made by July 1st at the latest.

Non-EU applicants should contact: [email protected]

For information on Fees and Grants please contact: [email protected]

Have questions about MA SPaCE?

We’re currently seeking expressions of interest for the September 2022 intake to MA SPaCE programme.

If you are interested in applying to MA SPaCE please contact us at the addresses below.