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Situated Practice MA

This programme teaches the principles and skills of situated practice in relation to conceptual spatial theories in art, architecture, performance, urbanism and writing.

About

Contemporary culture doesn't fit neatly into a box. The overlap between practices, methods and approaches from the fields of architecture, art and design is the fast-evolving terrain of this programme, which examines how architecture cross-pollinates with other creative arts. 

Students learn about spatial theories and practices in art, architecture, performativity, urbanism and writing, develop a robust understanding of research methods in art and design, and design practice-led research and their own site-related projects – from physical installations and digital interventions to site writings. 

Working with practitioners and researchers from The Bartlett School of Architecture, alongside affiliated centres and institutions, this programme empowers students to pioneer new forms of hybrid practice between art and architecture. 

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Highlights

  • Develop a strong understanding of appropriate research methodologies in art and design practice-led research, specifically relating to approaches towards criticality, performativity and textuality
  • Make ‘situated practice’ projects that are site-related – from physical installations and events to digital interventions and site-writings
  • Identify the polemics of interesting sites, research and develop interventions, and evaluate their success
  • Learn in state-of-the-art facilities at UCL at Here East, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and have the opportunity to exhibit your work 

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Modules

Core modules

Situated Practice: Research Methods (15 credits)

Coordinator: Professor Jane Rendell

This module introduces students to the main research methods adopted in situated practice. It aims to provide students with a perspective on how practitioners have articulated their practice in relation to theories concerning space, place, site and location. The themes addressed include critical spatial practice, performativity and subjectivity and discourses and practices concerning site-specificity. An understanding of how to situate one’s own practice in relation to the work of others is demonstrated in a draft proposal for a project focusing on a specific site.

Mediated Environments (30 credits)

Coordinator: Henrietta Williams

In this module, students explore the potential of the film-essay to discuss architectural themes. Initially, students construct a sonic environment, developing skills in sound recording, field recordings, multi-track audio editing. Following this, they develop their sound work into a film essay, using High Definition Video recording, narrative development, scriptwriting, scoring ad editing to produce a piece of video that responds to a chosen site in London. 

Critical Spatial Practice: Site-Writing (30 credits)

Coordinator: Polly Gould / Professor Jane Rendell

‘Site-writing’ (Rendell, 2011) is a mode of critical spatial practice which considers situatedness, relationality and positionality in relation to writing and explores how voice and textual strategies can be adopted as ways of responding to sites. Students develop skills in creative and situated writing and learn the potential of font, typography, layout, paper stock and binding in the production of an artist’s book, which may include documentation of a situated text-based installation. 

Major Project (90 credits)

Coordinator: James O'Leary

Structured around a series of individual tutorials between the student and their supervisor, students develop a unique work of situated practice, which responds to a specific site or sites, in form as well as content. Work is submitted in the form of a live intervention into a site, then documented and reflected upon through an artist’s book and film. 

The final project can include film-making, artwork and gallery installations, digital scripting, curation, scenography, live art, participatory works, and or design proposition, as part of its final form. An aspect of the final situated work will be displayed as part of the school’s winter exhibition. 

Optional module 

The Open Work (15 credits)

Coordinator: James O'Leary

This module facilitates self-directed research and practice, in which students design and fabricate a set of constructed prototypes to test and interrogate the spatial, material and social conditions of a chosen site or situation.

OR

Instead of ‘The Open Work’ students can opt to take any 15-credit module from across The Bartlett School of Architecture, Bartlett Faculty, or UCL.


Key information

Modes/duration 

Full-time: 15 months, beginning in October and ending in December the following year
Part-time: 30 months
Flexible: two to five years

Entry requirements

A minimum of a second-class UK degree in an appropriate subject or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. 

A design/creative portfolio is also expected. Applicants will be asked to submit a portfolio of their design work once their completed application has been received, and should not send or upload work until it has been requested.

Applicants may be interested in curatorship, public engagement, event design, creative regeneration, participation design, site-writing, filmmaking and other disciplines.

Application deadline 

Applications open for this programme on 15 October 2018 and close on  26 July 2019 for 2019 entry.

We strongly advise early application, as our programmes are over subscribed and competition is high.

Fees and funding

  • Tuition fee information can be found on the UCL Graduate Prospectus.
  • For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding section of the UCL website.

Staff

Programme staff

James O'Leary, Programme Director

James O'Leary is Associate Professor and Programme Director of Situated Practice at The Bartlett School of Architecture. An architect and installation artist, James is one half of the collaborative partnership Kreider + O’Leary who make performance, installation and time-based media work in relation to sites of architectural and cultural interest.

Since 2003, Kreider + O’Leary have made interventions in sites across the UK, USA, Europe, Australia, South America and Japan. Their work has been shown at venues including Tate Britain, Whitechapel Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts.  

James' current research examines the role of the architect in the transformation of ‘post-conflict’ sites, particularly the use of digital archives to frame discussions around the long-term transformation of ‘Interface Areas’ in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Jane Rendell, Professor of Critical Spatial Practice

Jane Rendell is Professor of Critical Spatial Practice at The Bartlett School of Architecture, where she co-initiated and teaches on Situated Practice MA and Architectural History MA. She supervises history, theory and design PhDs in architecture, art, urbanism and experimental writing. 

Jane’s research, writing and pedagogic practice crosses architecture, art, feminism, history and psychoanalysis. She has introduced concepts of ‘critical spatial practice’ and ‘site-writing’ through her authored books: The Architecture of Psychoanalysis (2017), Silver (2016), Site-Writing (2010), Art and Architecture (2006), and The Pursuit of Pleasure (2002). 

Working with Bartlett Ethics Fellow, Dr David Roberts, Jane leads The Bartlett’s Ethics Commission and, with Research Associate, Dr Yael Padan, she leads work on ethics for Knowledge in Action for Urban Equality (KNOW). In 2018 she was awarded the History/Theory prize at the RIBA Research Awards for her work on housing, psychoanalysis and ethics and a Provost's Education Award for her work on ethics.

Henrietta Williams, Teaching Fellow

Henrietta Williams is a Teaching Fellow at The Bartlett School of Architecture where she is also working towards a PhD. Her practice-led PhD critiques drone surveillance technologies and the history of the aerial viewpoint through both video practice and writing.

Henrietta has a visual practice focused on urbanist theories; particularly considering ideas around fortress urbanism, security, and defense. Her projects have been widely exhibited and published in the UK and internationally, most notably at the V&A Museum in London and on the front page of the Guardian. Through her commercial practice Henrietta has made films for a number of high profile architecture institutions in the UK and Europe. 

David Roberts, Teaching Fellow 

David Roberts is a Teaching Fellow in Architectural Design and Architectural History, research ethics fellow for The Bartlett Ethics Commission, part of collaborative art practice Fugitive Images and a member of architecture collective Involve

David’s collaborative research, art and cultural activist practice seeks to engage community groups whose homes and livelihoods are under threat from urban policy, empower ethical action in the built environment, and extend architectural education to primary school children. David has exhibited, screened and installed work including documentary/fiction film Estate, a Reverie, site-specific performance Empty Words Build Empty Homes, and PEER Gallery exhibition Real Estates.

Claire McAndrew, Senior Research Fellow

Dr Claire McAndrew is a Senior Research Fellow in Public Engagement at The Bartlett School of Architecture and Tutor on the Open Work. Her collaborative research brings together social theory with design for transformative social and cultural effect.
 
Since 2008 she has collaborated on a body of participatory works that invite the public to perform sites differently. In 2014 she was awarded an AHRC UnBox LABS Fellowship to explore how design, research and digital technologies can build engaged communities.

Claire has exhibited at FACT Liverpool with experimental media technologist Ben Dalton, and curated a series of telematic happenings at London’s Southbank Centre with artist Paul Sermon, connecting to Khoj International Artists’ Association and India Habitat Centre in Delhi, and screened at Gwangju Design Biennale 2015 in South Korea.

Affiliated staff

Other academics and visiting tutors, drawn from The Bartlett’s internationally renowned teaching and research programmes, teach supporting modules and international practitioners and theorists lead workshops and contribute to roundtables and talks.

Affiliated centres and institutions

This programme draws on expertise from across The Bartlett and UCL, including anthropology, art history, film and gender studies, literature, material culture, political science and urban geography. Our staff are very closely linked in particular to:

Visiting lecturers and collaborators
Film+Place+Architecture
Anna Ulrikke Andersen 
Royal Academy of Arts
Jessie Brennan
Victor Burgin
Sarah Butler
Harvi Chera
David Cross
Alberto Duman
Polly Gould
Sander Holsgens
Kristen Kreider
Sol Perez Martinez
Anna Minton
Richard Mosse
Marit Munzberg
Michal Murawski
Phuong Tram Nguyen
Mariana Pestana
Body Politic
Hilary Powell
Joanne Preston
Chrysanthe Staikopoulou 
Barbara Holub (transparadiso)
Tom Dobson and Torange Khonsari (Public Works)

Careers 

The Bartlett School of Architecture is one of the world's top-ranked architecture schools and our graduates enjoy excellent employment opportunities and the practice-led research skills to carry out future doctoral research in the field.

Graduates of this programme are critical, innovative and transdisciplinary practitioners who undertake projects addressing the specific concerns of sites and developing appropriate transformations for them.


Contact 

Programme Director: James O'Leary
Admissions enquiries: Thea Heintz 
Programme administrator: Alice Whewell

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