Arts and Place

MA | PGDip | PGCert
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  • A course that puts particular emphasis on collaborative practice in response to an expanded understanding of place
  • Includes a unique residency-based learning programme – arts residencies are a significant part of the contemporary arts industry and of contemporary art making


MA: 1 year FT, 2 years PT.
Other routes are available, including online options – see ‘Learning Pathways’


start date

April. (Our master’s courses start at various points in the calendar year – find out why.)

full Term dates

2022 course dates

25 Apr – 6 Jun: Module 1 – Approaching Residencies (teaching weeks on-site at Dartington)
13 Jun – 15 Jul: Module 2 – Urban Places (off-site residencies)
25 Jul – 27 Aug: Module 3 – Contemporary Remote (off-site residencies)
5 Sep – 7 Oct: Module 4 – Themes in Residency (off-site residencies)
17 Oct – 16 Jan 2023: Module 5 – Major Project / Dissertation (Independent work with tutorials on-site at Dartington and online)

An online version of this course is available – see ‘learning pathways’, below.

next application deadline

Monday, 6 September 2021

Learning pathways

Our degree programmes are designed to suit the complexities of modern life, allowing you to live where you live and work where you work, whilst studying the subject you are passionate about as a member of our wide-reaching learning community.

Some qualifications are offered part-time – these are indicated below.

MAster's (ft/pt; 180 credits)

A full-time (1 year) or part-time programme (2 years, UK students only) with 4 x 30 credit modules and 1 x 60 credit dissertation or major project module. The first six-week module is delivered at Dartington and the subsequent three six-week modules each involve 10 days of fieldwork with a residency network host – selected for students by course tutors. Students are supported by e-learning throughout the course.

Students will need to live onsite or nearby for the first six-week module at Dartington, spending 10 residency days at each of three other host organisations in subsequent modules (see below). Full board accommodation onsite is available (but not mandatory) throughout terms 1 and 2 for international students.

Postgraduate Diploma (ft/pt; 120 credits)

A full-time (1 year) or part-time programme (2 years, UK students only) with 4 x 30 credit modules. Students taking the full-time option will study all four modules during the first two terms.  For full details on part-time pathways, please contact us.

Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits)

A full-time programme with 2 x 30 credit modules. Students will study both modules during term one.

First module only (30 credits)

Modules from this course can be studied on a standalone basis, with 30 credits allocated per module.

To apply for the accredited single module option, apply in the usual way, selecting the ‘single module’ option during the application process.

Online-only pathways

All options for this course are offered on a low-residency model, and are also available online-only. Please ensure you select the online-only option during your application as required.

More about flexible learning at Dartington >

course content

Open to practitioners and curators working in any art form including performance, writing, soundart, moving image, photography, digital art and fine art, the Arts and Place course puts particular emphasis on collaborative practice in response to an expanded understanding of place.

The course offers a unique residency-based learning programme. Arts residencies are a significant part of the contemporary arts industry and of contemporary art making.

We are increasingly confronted with complex challenges that require new ways of knowing and forms of collaborative engagement and practice, which can be addressed in this master’s enquiry. This course enables you to develop your creative practice and your professional practice knowledge and network alongside each other.

Q&A with Programme Lead: See answers to our frequently asked questions about this course in this blog post. >> 

programme structure & modules

During MA Arts and Place, there is one six-week timetabled teaching period at Dartington when you must live on site (or nearby in Totnes or the vicinity) and participate in the learning community, unless you choose an online-only pathway. From March to June 2021 there are three 10-day fieldtrips when you will be in residence at three other locations in the UK.

Outside of the six-week period at Dartington and the three 10-day fieldtrips, international students (only) can request accommodation and full board onsite for terms 1 and 2 and this would require you to participate in the learning community activities. Alternatively, you can opt to live nearby or anywhere in the UK and travel to and from Dartington for the six-week taught period and to and from the three fieldtrip locations.

We have a limited number of residential places available for international students. Apply as early as possible.

Module One: Approaching Residencies (30 credits)

A grounding in methods and concepts to support collaborative practice and inter-transdisciplinary engagement with complexity. Using the Dartington estate as a residency focus, this module is an introduction to the history, theory and practice of making artworks in residency contexts. Techniques for engaging with site and community in relation to your own practice are developed.

Module Two: Urban Places (30 credits)

This module explores the development of arts practice in an urban residency context through fieldwork with a residency host and the development of a project. Students extend their understanding and creative engagement with the complexity of place into urban contexts.

Module Three: Contemporary Remote (30 credits)

This module explores the development of arts practice in a rural or digital residency context through fieldwork with a residency host and the development of a project. It further develops students’ creative engagements with the complexities of place.

Module Four: Themes in Residency (30 credits)

This module explores the development of arts practice in response to themed residency contexts through fieldwork with a residency host and the development of a project. It allows students to make work in response to key issues such as social justice, climate change, the role of cultural workers in contemporary society and well-being.

Module Five: Final Major Project (60 credits)

The final major project enables students to pursue a creative project of their own interest, or an academic essay interrogating arts and place, arts practice in residency theory and practice, or a combination of project and essay (50/50). The outcome is presented in the public domain at Dartington or at one of the host residency locations.

residency network hosts

Allenheads Contemporary Arts, Northumberland

Established in 1995, Allenheads Contemporary Arts hosts residencies for creative practitioners that bring together myriad combinations of themes in contemporary art and contemporary living in both the local and global context. Artists often work in collaboration with other disciplines such as science, astronomy, environment and philosophy and there is an astronomical observatory onsite.

OVADA, Oxford

OVADA, the Oxford Visual Art Development Agency, is an artist-led organisation – a contemporary art gallery and development space that provides opportunities for both artists and audiences. OVADA presents a dynamic programme of exhibitions and events and a range of learning opportunities from their city centre venue and other off-site locations.

artdotearth, Dartington, Devon works openly and collaboratively, celebrating and supporting artists who are concerned either explicitly or implicitly with environmental or ecological issues and community. The project produces events and conducts research, working as internationally as possible while acknowledging absolutely the power and lure of the local.

Peacock Visual Arts, Aberdeen

Peacock Visual Arts is a centre for contemporary art focusing in particular on print media. They have print and digital studios and run The WORM – a contemporary art space.

Cornubian Arts & Science Trust (CAST), Cornwall

CAST aims to promote participation, appreciation and learning in the visual arts and to encourage interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration across the arts and sciences. It works with artists, curators, writers and specialists from other fields, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, to develop professional expertise and exchange, and to create opportunities for audiences of all ages to experience groundbreaking cultural activity.

Watershed Pervasive Media Studio, Bristol

The Pervasive Media Studio hosts a diverse community of over 100 artists, creative companies, technologists and academics exploring experience design and creative technology.

Outlandia, Glen Nevis, Scotland

Outlandia is an off-grid treehouse, imagined by artists Bruce Gilchrist and Jo Joelson, who work together as London Fieldworks. A flexible meeting space in the forest for creative collaboration and research, Outlandia is inspired by wildlife hides and bothies, forest outlaws and Japanese poetry platforms.

Delfina Foundation

Based in the heart of London, Delfina Foundation is an independent, non-profit foundation dedicated to facilitating artistic exchange and developing creative practice through residencies, partnerships and public programming.

entry requirements

Qualification(s) required for entry to the MA

BA (Honours) Degree: A first degree in an arts or humanities subject. All applicants will be required to present a portfolio of work. Where the first degree is not arts or humanities-related, a portfolio of work in support of the application or experience that is equivalent.

Other non-standard awards or experience: A willingness to engage with the field of Arts & Place. Candidates will be considered with prior credited learning and prior experiences subject to interview.*

Interview requirements: All applicants are required to attend an interview, either at the School or online.

*For further information please contact our admissions team at


For full details on our fees, click here. Please note that for this course, the following also applies.

as this programme contains residencies, you will also need to budget for travel, accommodation and material costs.

The first six weeks module is delivered at Dartington and is a full timetable over at least four days of each week. You will need to either live on site with full board, participating in the learning community @ £299 per week or live nearby and travel in and out.

The programme also includes three x 10 day fieldtrips where you will need to pay for your accommodation and travel.

Depending on the type of work you develop, you are also likely to have some material costs during the course and for your final project. Please bear this in mind when considering the total costs you need to budget for.


Jo Joelson

Jo Joelson

Dr Jo Joelson is Programme Lead for MA Arts and Place. She is a London based artist, researcher and writer.

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Tine Bech

dr Tine Bech

Dr Tine Bech is Senior Lecturer in Arts and Place. Her specialisms are art and play, public art, and interactive art.

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Alan Boldon

Alan Boldon is a practising artist and the Managing Director of the Dartington Trust. He specialises in arts and ecology and systems thinking.

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Tracey Warr

dr Tracey Warr

Tracey is Head of Dartington Arts School and Head of Research. She is a fiction and non-fiction writer and also works with text in the vicinity of art.

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Top image credit: Tania Candiani, Landscape Sound Amplifier. Exoplanet Lot, Saint Cirq Lapopie. Organised by Maison des Arts Georges et Claude Pompidou. Photograph by Yohann Gozard