Course Overview

This Masters Level course in Contemporary Crafts focuses on developing and extending individual creative practice and underpinning and empowering it with critical thinking. The course is project-led and studio-based supported by close tutorial guidance, lectures, seminars and open access to a wide range of craft workshops. The course supports the practical and theoretical engagement with craft both as a profession and as a personal expression. It aims to support the student as a practitioner to identify their own working methodology and identify where they sit within the wider context of craft.

Practice at all times is informed by in depth rigorous research, experimentation and exploration, fostering innovative thinking and approaches. The engagement in continuous reflective analysis allows students to assess their practice and move it forward. Workshop access and the development and refinement of technical making skills are also important in order to achieve exemplary and well finished creative objects. Communicating and presenting ideas and research through professional presentations and the exhibition of work encourages students to examine the context, reception, audience and end user.

Hereford College of Arts MA Contemporary Crafts


  • The programme is, at its heart centred on the development of individual creative practice which is formalised through the writing of a research proposal.
  • The course attracts ambitious students from a wide range of craft disciplines including textiles, small metals, jewellery, artist blacksmithing, ceramics, printmaking and multi-disciplinary approaches. The engagement with new and traditional craft practices to extend professional and technical expertise is realised within the context of extensive open workshop access and support.
  • One –to-one supervision and group tutorial support is central to the delivery and ethos of the programme and runs throughout the duration of the course.
  • The MA programme aims to underpin and inform creative craft practice through a rich academic vocabulary and repertoire of research skills. Students are encouraged to identify new ways of thinking and making in order to develop and extend personal creative working methodologies and approaches.
  • The course and its students sit within the context of the post-modern and contemporary craft scene, the discussion and exploration of craft in terms of its skills base, conceptual potential and social and cultural contribution will be integral.
  • The course is populated by students who are passionate and committed to extending their practice and pursuing careers within the crafts industry primarily as professional makers. Professional engagement with contemporary craft business practices, industries, organisations and private and public bodies are seen as an important feature of the programme.
MA Contemporary Crafts Hereford College of Arts
  • The MA course is located within HCA which offers a wide range of BA craft specific programmes. This allows for engagement with a larger creative hub of craft practice whilst MA students have their own dedicated studio spaces and sense of community which nurtures the discussion, development and exchange of ideas.
  • There is access to a full range of well-equipped craft workshops including textiles, print-making, the forge, 3D workshops, ceramics, CAD/CAM cutting and 3D printing technologies, enabling the investigation of a wide range of materials, test ideas and make high-spec maquettes or components.
  • The programme includes the series of ‘Gravity’ lectures throughout the year by high-profile, national and international designers and artists giving insights into their own design practice.
Hereford College of Arts MA Contemporary Crafts Wilna Venter
  • There will be opportunities to participate in Master-Classes and Master- Tutorials delivered by industry professionals.
  •  Insight into current business practices, the writing of a personal business plan, the construction of a professional portfolio and online digital presence is supported by a series of workshops, seminars and lectures.
  • A MA post-graduate show allows for the professional exhibition of achieved outcomes.

Hereford College of Arts MA Contemporary Crafts


You will have your own studio space and access to a wide range of well-equipped craft workshops including textiles, printmaking, small metals, jewellery, ceramics and the forge. Further supporting facilities include extensive photography and film resources, IT (image, design, office) and library facilities.

Hereford College of Arts MA Contemporary Crafts


 Why take this course?

The course places students in an environment to become immersed in conversations about thinking and making within an academic framework, giving them the space to reflect upon and develop their practice to a more advanced level.  The programme will give them the opportunity to rationalise their own skill-base and re-think their knowledge of contemporary crafts in order to ensure they remain at the forefront of their chosen discipline. An in-depth understanding of contemporary crafts and how to market and promote a commercially sound practice is central to the delivery and philosophy of the programme.  A key feature of the course concentrates on the development of both professional and entrepreneurial skills that aim to ensure viability and sustainability long after the course has finished.

Hereford College of Arts MA Contemporary Crafts

At the end of the course students should consider themselves independent, technically expert and critically aware designer-makers with a broad range of transferable skills, who can develop careers as ‘sole traders’. Alternatively graduates can explore broader opportunities in the creative arts sector through consultancy, community arts, teaching and residencies. Some makers may wish to further extend their studies and undertake PhD study.

Entry Requirements

• Applicants should have an advanced understanding of their particular discipline and be able to demonstrate their ability to sustain research at MA level
• Applicants should be (or about to become) graduates. Preference will be given to good honours graduates although exceptional applicants from a non-academic background will also be considered
• Applicants should submit a short proposal of up to five hundred words, detailing a proposed programme of study, supported by an electronic portfolio of current practice, which will form the basis of discussion within the interview
• Applicants whose first language is not English must achieve IELTS level 7.0 (reading & writing) or equivalent prior to enrolment. Please note, we only accept international applications from EU/EEA countries 
• Typical applicants would be Crafts or Applied Arts graduates. However, graduates from other disciplines within art, design and media will be considered
• Professional artists, designers or craftspeople who wish to reposition their practice may also qualify

What you will study:

Proposal (Postgraduate Certificate).

Postgraduate Certificate is the diagnostic stage of the programme.

The initial purpose or suggested area of inquiry is developed through contextualising research and experimental visual assignments. You will broaden and deepen your knowledge in your first-degree area of study, or gain relevant knowledge in an associated area of study.

You will amass new study skills in research methodology, and use critical and creative practice to achieve Postgraduate Certificate objectives.

Applied Research and Development (Postgraduate Diploma).

Postgraduate Diploma is the Development Stage of the programme. You’ll be expected to develop advanced skills of enquiry in your specialist discipline, or obtain new interdisciplinary skills in the furtherance of a generalist approach alongside developing a range of entrepreneurial, business and professional skills underpinning your specialist field of practice.

At the end of the Postgraduate Diploma, which is essentially consolidatory, you will have positioned your individual study area for the evaluative process for the MA

Consolidation and Outcome (MA).

MA is the advancement of individual practice.

A proposal from the Postgraduate Diploma is progressed and substantiated by critical analysis and contextualising evaluation. You’ll be expected to utilise advanced knowledge and skills by demonstrating understanding of the conduct of a complex enquiry in both theory and practice, using sophisticated critical judgement and visual discrimination to achieve MA objectives.