Institution / National College of Art Design
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Socially Engaged Art - Further Adult & Community Education

If you are a practicing artist or designer, an educator, a commuity activist, a youth worker or have an interest in these or similar areas of working, this prgramme could be for you.

What to Expect
The MA Socially Engaged Art (SEA) focuses on the dynamic relationship between socially engaged arts practice and pedagogy. Embedded in this programme is a further education teaching qualification, accredited by the Teaching Council of Ireland, and necessary for those considering a career as a teacher or facilitator of learning within an increasingly diverse further education sector.

Socially engaged art practice is an artistic practice that requires a meaningful interaction with communities of place and/ or interest and with broader social or political intentions at its core. It includes collaborative, community based, process based, public and dialogic practices that rely on social intercourse and exchange. The further education sector in Ireland is in a state of flux as policy and structural reforms have impacted on provision and pedagogical practices. As a site for experimental learning and critical debate, the course attracts students from a range of disciplines who want to immerse themselves in a trans-disciplinary enquiry at the intersection of socially engaged arts practice and further education as well as informal and non-formal educational settings.

The MA SEA is an intensive course involving taught modules delivered over two evenings a week but includes a further range of engagements off campus and occasional full-day workshops. It comprises nine 10 credit modules including sociology, adult and community education, teaching and learning strategies, curriculum studies as well as modules exploring the history of socially engaged practice, the critical discourse that occupies the field and a module exploring practice and pedagogy. Students also engage in two practicums, one within a further education context (to meet teaching council requirements) and one within a context of your own choosing, where you immerse yourself in context based learning. In the final semester of year 2, students are fully focused on a 30 credit research project.

Opportunities to Engage
The course is committed to staying connected to the critical debate within the national and international field of Socially Engaged Art and Education so students are invited to participate in many events, seminars and symposiums taking place in the city, with international events including the Creative Time Summit screened annually live from New York. In Year 2, the MA SEA is committed to partnering with an international artist or organisation to engage in a critical enquiry into key issues that face their practice and co-develop a response. In 2015, in collaboration with The Stockyard Institute in Chicago, the MA produced a critical newspaper connecting practice issues in two cities.

Programme Team
The MA SEA has a strong staff team combining established practitioners from the field of socially engaged arts with core NCAD education staff. The course is coordinated by artist Fiona Whelan (G.Dip.,MA) and Nuala Hunt (MA, MSc,GDip).

Fiona Whelan is a socially engaged artist whose practice has been positioned in Rialto, Dublin for over ten years where she works in collaboration with a community youth service.

Nuala Hunt is Head of Continuing Education at NCAD, where she has initiated reform of adult education provision, devised progression routes for part-time learners, led curriculum change and fostered college based teaching and learning initiatives.

Associate staff include: artists Chris Maguire, Marie Barrett, Dr. Glenn Loughran, Dr. Ailbhe Murphy, as well as adult educator Dr. Anne Gallagher and community worker Dr. John Bissett.

Entry requirements

The programme is open to graduates with an honours degree award of 2.2 or higher, or an equivalent academic or professional qualification in a related discipline. The College also takes into consideration prior learning and experience.

English language: Students who have not been educated through English must show proof of achieving IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6 in the writing section on the academic version) or an equivalent score in another accepted test.


2 years

Number of credits

120 ECTS credits

Careers or further progression

After Your Degree
The MA SEA was launched in 2013 and succeeds the Graduate Diploma Community Arts Education.which has produced over 120 graduates over ten years. Many of these graduates are practicing artists with a wide range of public, socially engaged, community based and educational practices with others moving on to work in arts administration, arts management and within the community and voluntary sector. In addition to being awarded a Masters Degree, graduates from the MA SEA will also be qualified to work within the Further Education sector. Graduates are also eligible to progress to PhD or professional development opportunities.

Further enquiries

Programme Contact
Nuala Hunt

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