Contemporary Performance Practices - MA

2024/25 Full-time Postgraduate course

Award:

Master of Arts

Faculty:

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School:

School of Arts and Humanities

Campus:

Derry~Londonderry campus

Start date:

September 2024

Overview

An interdisciplinary taught programme that combines performance practice with imaginative and rigorous critical engagement.

Summary

This innovative postgraduate programme combines contemporary performance practice with rigorous, creative thinking. Students explore examples of contemporary performance in an atmosphere of imaginative scholarly inquiry. Students make performances that respond to research questions that emerge from their artistic and scholarly work.

In addition to the core modules, students engage with the professional landscape through seminars with visiting practitioners and through placements. While there is scope to develop a wide range of work, the department has particular specialisms in Acting Theory and Practice, Performance and Disability, and Performance and Conflict.

We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

About this course

About

The design of the course incorporates knowledge and understanding of the subject with subject-specific, intellectual, practical and transferable skills. The course structure is designed to equip students with an integrated, interdisciplinary perspective on the nature and scope of contemporary performance practice within the creative industries, and the skills necessary to put that perspective into practice.

With this in mind, the course is designed to provide students with appropriate progression in terms of depth of study and to offer them an equitable range and balance of core and option courses in each semester of their degree.

This includes developing expertise in research methodologies, in contemporary performance theory and practice, and in work-based skills for consultancy in the creative industries.

Attendance

Full-time: three semesters (one calendar year in total).

This will normally be timetabled as one contact day per week full-time (normally Wednesdays), with an expectation that students will work individually and in collaboration in the preparation of work on the campus or other suitable venues and locations.

Start dates

  • September 2024

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Teaching and learning methods include seminars, workshops, and short lectures. Students are expected to prepare work independently, and to show and/or discuss their work during the class time. There is an emphasis on small group work, and on exploring theoretical concepts through practice.

Assessments are varied and some elements are negotiated between students and tutors. Assessment methods include literature reviews, essays, live performance, oral examinations, and reflective essays or portfolios.

Final projects may be practice-based or written.

Attendance and Independent Study

The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

  • Attendance and Independent Study

    As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

    Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10, 20, or 40 credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate courses typically 15 or 30 credit modules.

    The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Teaching and learning activities will be in-person and/or online depending on the nature of the course. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

    Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

    Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.

  • Assessment

    Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes.  You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessments. This feedback may be issued individually and/or issued to the group and you will be encouraged to act on this feedback for your own development.

    Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification, the assessment timetable and the assessment brief. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised. The module pass mark for undergraduate courses is 40%. The module pass mark for postgraduate courses is 50%.

  • Calculation of the Final Award

    The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

    Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

    All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study.

    In Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

    Figures from the academic year 2022-2023.

Academic profile

The teaching staff have international profiles in their specialist fields, from their published work and their creative practice.

These include acting theory and practice (Giuliano Campo); theatre for young audiences (Tom Maguire); Irish theatre, and feminist performance (Lisa Fitzpatrick), and theatre and disability (Jennifer Goddard). Fitzpatrick and Maguire serve on the AHRC peer review panels, and act as peer reviewers for journals and publishers in their disciplines. Fitzpatrick is Senior Editor of the 'Theatre Research International', the Cambridge-published journal of the International Federation for Theatre Research. Campo's study 'Acting the Essence: The Performer's Work on the Self' has been translated into numerous languages, and he has ongoing collaborations in Brazil and Japan. Maguire is the Chair of the Board of Big Telly Theatre Company and of the International Theatre for Young Audiences Network. Goddard has a number of ongoing collaborations with the University of the Atypical, Stage Beyond, and leading practitioners in the field of theatre and disability.

Visiting professionals from industry provide further specialist training and input in areas such as: ethics of intimacy and violence on stage; stage combat; queer performance; directing; intercultural performance; digital performance.

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 60% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (19%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (22%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic and learning support staff (85%) are recognised as fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advance HE - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise.  The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff.  This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

Figures from the academic year 2022-2023.

Modules

Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

In this section

Year one

Approaches to Contemporary Performance Practice 1

Year: 1

This module provides students with a grounding in key issues in and approaches to contemporary performance practice, integrating theoretical concerns with practical exploration, organised around key questions. Assessment is 100% by coursework, through which students demonstrate their integration of practice and critical analysis.

Approaches to Contemporary Performance Practice 2

Year: 1

This module seeks to provide an opportunity for students to explore, both practically and critically, the key issues and performance practices associated with contemporary situated art. Students are encouraged to interrogate these theories and practices in both tutorial and workshop-based situations.

Researching Contemporary Performance Practice

Year: 1

This module enables students to develop sustainable research strategies to support their research work within the programme and beyond. It engages with key issues relevant to researching contemporary performance practice and explores the ways in which research is a vital tool for the creative practitioner.

Independent Project

Year: 1

This module allows students to negotiate their own programme of study in pursuing a specific research question. Students may present their work as a dissertation, a practical performance or workshop, or undertake a work-based learning project.

Assessment: 100% coursework

Year two

Contemporary Professional Landscape with Professional Placement

Year: 2

Professional placement offers students the opportunity to get hands-on experience of a host organisation within the creative industries. Acting as a creative consultant, the student will undertake a focused research role to address opportunities or challenges in the organisation's operation as a way of identifying potential solutions and innovative approaches.

Standard entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

Entry Requirements

Applicants must normally have gained a second class honours degree or better, and provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English (GCSE grade C or equivalent).

In exceptional circumstances, an individual who has substantial and significant experiential learning, and a portfolio of written evidence demonstrating the meeting of graduate qualities (including subject-specific outcomes, as determined by the Course Committee) may be considered as an alternative entrance route.

For more information, contact the Course Director.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Exemptions and transferability

Studies pursued and examinations passed in respect of other qualifications awarded by the University or by another university or other educational institution, or evidence from the accreditation of prior experiential learning, may be accepted as exempting candidates from part of the programme provided that

(a) they shall register as students of the University for modules amounting to at least the final third of the credit value of the award at the highest level.

(b) no exemption shall be permitted from the Independent Project

Careers & opportunities

Career options

Creative, technical and administrative roles within the creative industries

Community-based education and/or creative work

Teaching at FE

Further academic or practical study

The course equips students with transferable skills for those who prefer to pursue a career in industry or commerce.

Work placement / study abroad

The module DRA705 includes both an exploration of the professional landscape, and a placement with a professional arts organisation.

The placement is negotiable in length but must include an element of consultancy: i.e., the student must have a specific set of responsibilities and a task to be completed. This might include surveys of audience base; development of marketing or social media presence; identification of funding sources; management of a time-limited project, or other.

The student will negotiate the placement with the module coordinator and the management of the arts organisation.

Apply

Start dates

  • September 2024

Fees and funding

Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and EU Settlement Status Fees

£7,000.00

International Fees

£17,090.00

Scholarships, awards and prizes

Students may apply for university prizes such as, for example:

BPW NI Travelling Scholarship

Greer Garson Award for Theatre

Greer Garson Award for Film

John RE Scott Postgraduate Student of the Year Award

McCrea Literary Award

Additional mandatory costs

None

It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals, as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.

There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees.

See the tuition fees on our student guide for most up to date costs.

Contact

We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.


For more information visit

Disclaimer

  1. Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
  1. If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
  1. The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
  1. The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.

Testimonials

The MA programme Ulster has been an extremely challenging and enriching experience. As a dance practitioner and choreographer, the programme design enables me to delve deep into my creative process to explore new avenues in contemporary practice, and through the support of the experienced academic staff it has also supported me to gain new skills and confidence as an academic researcher. (Eileen McClory)