This radical programme teaches students to design performances and interactive experiences.
What happens when we design not in three dimensions but four? This radical, multidisciplinary Master's degree teaches students to understand and design performances and interactive experiences.
This programme welcomes students from an array of artistic and technical backgrounds to work with interactive technologies to consider objects, space, people and systems as potential performers.
At the core of this programme is the belief that the creation of spaces for performance and the creation of performances within them are symbiotic activities.
Dr Ruairi Glynn, Programme Director and Associate Professor, The Bartlett School of Architecture
Throughout this programme, students gain advanced skills to design for performance and interaction, informed by multidisciplinary theories taken from performing arts, digital media, spatial interaction, anthropology, sociology, cybernetics, cognitive neuroscience and aesthetics.
Structured to offer the widest scope for creativity, the programme facilitates and empowers students to find their own unique design vision, with an emphasis on prototyping, from interactive objects to staged events and performance architecture.
The programme is taught in UCL’s cutting-edge facilities at Here East, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - a space renowned as a hotbed for technological innovation and home to some of the UK’s leading performance and design companies. These world-class facilities provide an ideal space for the large-scale construction of installations, as well as for public events.
- Design and make individual and collaborative projects that feature in an end-of-year public exhibition of interactive objects, installations and performances
- Learn to communicate your ideas in three and four dimensions through animation, film, live presentation and staged events, real-time simulation, podcasts and online, virtual and augmented environments
- Gain a working knowledge of technical systems including sound, lighting, interactive computation and electronics
- Use state-of-the-art technologies at UCL at Here East including virtual reality systems, networked media spaces, motion capture rigs, multi-channel surround sound systems and robotics
- Gain an understanding of parametric tools required when designing or adapting large performance spaces including acoustics, lighting, seating (spectator line of sight) and simulation of occupant behaviour
- Introductory Workshops (15 credits)
Module coordinator: Dr Ruairi Glynn
Working in small groups, students take a series of week-long workshops in which they make and test both physical and virtual prototypical performative objects. Through these activities they gain get a full range of design and technical skills including: coding, electronics, parametric design, choreography, robotics, virtual reality and 3D sound design.
- Design Thesis Portfolio: Initial Project (30 credits)
Module coordinator: Dr Ruairi Glynn
Students learn processes of digital modelling and animation, alongside the role of making prototype settings, performances and interactive installations. They work in groups to create an initial set of design experiments based on a design topic of their choice. The resulting performances and interactive assemblies are presented at a public Project Fair where experts from industry and academia provide useful feedback and suggestions. The work carried out in this module inspires future projects throughout the rest of the programme.
- Design Thesis Portfolio: Final Project (60 credits)
Module coordinator: Dr Ruairi Glynn
Students build upon their experiences in the Initial Projects module by critically analysing the success of preliminary work and developing a larger scale proposal. They have the opportunity to test their works in progress at various public exhibitions and locations including the Austrian Ars Electronica Festival, the Barbican Centre, the Royal Opera House, the Bloomsbury Festival and The Bartlett Summer Show.
With support from tutorials and seminars students complete their final projects in our state-of-the-art facilities at our Here East campus. The project is then exhibited in the annual Bartlett winter exhibition, which is open to the public.
- Contextual Theory: Design for Performance & Interaction (15 credits)
Module coordinator: Professor Stephen Gage
This module allows students to develop the skills to undertake a comparative theoretical study of the work created in their initial and final projects. They develop their knowledge of the historical and theoretical background and current methods of approach to performance and interaction, as well as the different aesthetics that might drive the design of the assemblies.
- Design Thesis Written Report: Final Project (30 credits)
Module coordinator: Professor Stephen Gage
Guided by seminars and tutorials, students work individually to develop a theory that underpins their individual design work, and write an illustrated critical evaluation report of a key aspect of their final design project. They gain an understanding of what constitutes a design research question and learn the current methods and theoretical approaches to this.
Students are guided through physical and digital experiments, to critically evaluate their chosen area of discussion. They learn how to refer to appropriate theoretical and technical sources and demonstrate how the information from these sources is synthesised in their design.
- Skills Portfolio (30 credits)
Module coordinator: Jessica In
This module allows students to develop skills in both analytical digital simulation and synthetic making, and to develop a record of these skills in the form of a portfolio. The module begins by providing students with coding experience using tools such as Java/Processing, C++/OpenFrameworks, C#/Unity and Rhino/Grasshopper.
Students are then introduced to specific techniques for parametric and interactive design, robotic control, machine learning and coding for live performance. Other skills that students develop include 3D modelling, digital fabrication and Cinema4D animation.
Modes and duration
Full-time: 15 months, beginning in October
Part-time: 30 months
Flexible: two to five years
A minimum of a second-class UK degree in an appropriate subject or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Applicants with extensive experience in the field may also be considered.
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.
Applications are now closed for 2020 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.
Design for Performance & Interaction MArch draws upon the internationally recognised expertise within The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, as well as across UCL generally, including the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL Engineering and UCL Computer science.
- Dr Ruairi Glynn, Programme Director
Ruairi Glynn is Associate Professor at The Bartlett, a practicing installation artist and part of the Interactive Architecture Lab. He has exhibited internationally with recent shows at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the National Art Museum of China in Beijing, and the Tate Modern in London. He has worked with leading cultural and research institutions including the Royal Academy of Arts, the Medical Research Council and BBC and has built public installations for commercial clients including Twitter, Nike and Arup. Ruairi works collaboratively with artists, architects, and choreographers including Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company, New Movement Collective and Alma-nac Architects.
- Jessica In, Skills Module Coordinator
Architect, designer and creative coder, Jessica is interested in physically embodied interactions specifically focused on drawing with code, machine learning and robotics. Her 2018 work NORAA is currently part of the Ars Electronica Center’s year long show Understanding AI, and in 2019 was one of Max Cooper’s collaborators for his audio-visual project Yearning for the Infinite commissioned by The Barbican. Other recent exhibitions include the V&A Digital Design Weekend (2018), Roca Gallery London (2019), and NeurIPS Creativity (2018).
- Fiona Zisch, History and Theory Coordinator
Fiona Zisch is an architect, part of the Interactive Architecture Lab and an experimental psychologist with experience in film production design and designing for extreme environments. Her research focusses on the cognition, experience, and reciprocity of architectural space, bodies, and movement. Fiona works at the Institute of Behavioural Neuroscience and The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. She also teaches undergraduate Experimental Psychology at UCL and speaks at and organises international architecture and neuroscience conferences and festivals. She has collaborated on a number of multidisciplinary research projects, and acts as a consultant for architecture and technology companies.
- Vasilija Abramovic, Tutor
Vasilija Abramovic is an architect, designer and doctoral researcher. Her interest lies in the field of artificial life approaches to interactive architecture, building responsive environments with recent exhibitions in France, Netherlands and Belgium. Her work has been published in conferences and journals, most recently at ACADIA 2018, and eCAADe 2017. Vasilija is also a scientific committee member and editorial board member for scientific journals and has held academic roles across several universities, including the Faculty of Architecture in Prague, the University of Westminster and The Bartlett School of Architecture.
- George Adamopoulos, Tutor
George Adamopoulos is a computational designer, creative coder and architect specialising in Computational Geometry and Computer Graphics. As well as teaching, he designs and programs large-scale interactive art installations at Jason Bruges Studio. George's work explores the connections between the fields of virtual/mixed reality and architecture, and the use of real-time graphics and computational geometry as building tools for cross-disciplinary narratives.
- Paul Bavister, Tutor
Paul Bavister's award-winning architect practice specialises in public sector design, in particular acoustic and performance spaces. Paul is an active member of sound art group Audialsense, and has lectured internationally on the relationships between sound and architecture. Paul is Senior Associate Director at Flanagan Lawrence, Director of Soundforms, and both a design tutor and PhD candidate at The Bartlett School of Architecture.
- Dr Sandra Campione, Tutor
Dr Sandra Campione is a photographer and documentary filmmaker with a PhD in aerospace engineering. She collaborates with artists, designers, and architects documenting their work with a focus on revealing the process behind their practice. Sandra has worked with many artists, including Marshmallow Laser Feast, Universal Everything, Studio Roso, and Flat-E.
- Luca Delatorre, Tutor
Luca Delatorre is an acoustic and soundscape designer, merging his musical performance background with his training in architecture and engineering. He is a senior consultant at Charcoalblue, the world’s leading theatre, acoustics and digital design consultancy, and his interests span the interactions of architecture, sound and hearing. Luca's research examines musicians’ acoustic perception on stage and the conditions that allow them to perform at their best. It was directly applied to the design of Hoddinot Hall in Cardiff for the BBC Wales symphonic orchestra and Milton Court at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
- Matt DesLauriers, Tutor
Creative coder, Matt DesLauriers weaves together art, programming and technology to build playful creative projects for public installations, print media, and the web. His interactive installations have been displayed in special events at the Louvre Museum in Paris and the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. Matt is an active contributor to the open source creative coding community.
- David Di Duca, Tutor
David Di Duca is an architect and interaction designer, and founding director of BAT Studio. He previously worked for Jason Bruges Studio where he was involved in a number of major artworks including the Coca-Cola pavilion at the London Olympics. He was also a member of the workers' collective who recently built robots which roamed the galleries of Tate Britain, After Dark.
- Felix Faire, Tutor
Felix Faire is a multidisciplinary designer and musician practicing in London. His audio-visual work explores embodied and synaesthetic experiences of music, space and image through the media of light, sound and code. Felix's work has been exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art, Somerset House and installed, performed or presented at various events around the world including Sonar+D, Moogfest, the V&A and TEDx.
- Professor Stephen Gage
Stephen Gage is Professor of Innovative Technology at The Bartlett, an internationally recognised leader in the education of interactive and performance architecture. He has taught at The Bartlett since 1993, holding posts as Director of Technology and Director of Architectural Design as well as leading various funded research projects, and supervising Master's and PhD students. His graduates are now some of the industry leaders in interactive and performance architecture including Jason Bruges, Dominic Harris & Usman Haque, to name just a few.
- Yi-Wen Lin, Tutor
Yi-Wen Lin is a freelance creative coder from Taiwan who has worked in Paris and London for the past ten years on a range of commercial and artistic projects. His work explores combinations of eastern and western cultural influences and has been featured by Experiments with Google, and Samsung at Milan Design Week.
- Professor Sarah Rubidge, Tutor
Formerly Professor of Choreography and New Media at the University of Chichester, now Professor Emerita, Sarah Rubidge has re-embarked on a freelance career as scholar, artist and academic and artistic consultant. She is a PhD supervisor and Examiner, both in the UK and overseas, and continues to lecture, write, make creative works and act as consultant for national and international bodies and institutions.
- Dr Kevin Walker, Tutor
Dr Kevin Walker is a researcher, designer, writer and artist working at the boundaries of the digital and physical – specifically in curation and computation in physical spaces, grounded in cognitive and cultural theory. Author of Hackers & Slackers (2012), co-editor of Interior Futures (2019) and Digital Technologies and the Museum Experience (2008), his background is in journalism, art and design, interactive media and anthropology.
- Alexander Whitley, Tutor
Alexander Whitley is a choreographer and dancer who has created work for several of the UK’s leading companies including the Royal Ballet, Balletboyz and Birmingham Royal Ballet. He is a New Wave Associate artist at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, and an associate artist at DanceEast. He collaborates across art forms, working with filmmakers, designers, digital artists and composers to broaden the scope of dance. Alexander's Dance Company has enjoyed sell out performances at the Royal Opera House and Sadler’s Wells as well as being nominated for a Critics’ Circle Award. The company has rapidly established a reputation for its ambitious and intellectually engaged work and has developed a wide network of world-class collaborators.
- Dominik Zisch, Tutor
Dominik Zisch is a creative technologist, with a background in architectural technology, theoretical physics, and software engineering. He works at Jason Bruges Studio and also teaches on the MArch programme at Innsbruck University. Dominik has collaborated with UCL experimental psychology as chief app developer for a series of navigation experiments in the real world. He has a passion for user interaction design with an emphasis on programming and dedicates his time outside of work to researching new ways to interact and work with technology and data.
Please note: The tutors listed here are subject to change and do not include the many other Bartlett staff, critics, and consultants that students will also encounter.
- Affiliated practices and groups
Our staff are very closely linked to a large network creative practices, in particular:
- Bompass & Parr
- Ciminod Studio
- Jason Bruges Studio
- Marshmallow Laser Feast
- Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance
- Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
- ScanLAB Projects
- Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company
The programme also has long-standing collaborative relationships with institutions such as the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, the Royal Academy, the Roundhouse, Tate Modern, and the BBC.
The Bartlett School of Architecture is one of the world's top-ranked architecture schools and our graduates enjoy excellent employment opportunities and the potential to carry out future doctoral research in the field.
This programme empowers graduates with specialist knowledge and skills that are relevant across a wide variety of areas and creative industries, including spatial and urban design, lighting and sound installation, performance and event design, and virtual and physical community building.