Here’s a bit of good news for anyone looking for a Master’s degree linking education and culture. Southbank Centre and King’s College London are working together for the first time with the launch of an MA in Education in Arts & Cultural Settings. They claim it is the first of its kind and it’s certainly the first I’ve heard of.
Many people work on educational programmes in arts organisations across the UK and internationally, but until now available professional qualifications have been thin on the ground. Yes, there are dozens of post-graduate degree programmes relating to the arts and cultural sector, but the specific focus on education and the professional needs of arts educators is unusual.
The new programme is a partnership between the Department of Education and Professional Studies at King’s and the Learning and Participation department at Southbank Centre. Its first students will start — full or part-time — in September.
Teaching will take place both at the College and at Southbank Centre. The programme includes two compulsory modules. The first combines theoretical teaching in informal pedagogies (the ‘internal’ module, to be taught by King’s). The second is the ‘external’ module, based at the Southbank and making use of its extensive experience of running a learning and participation programme.
MA Students will also include a Southbank Centre-based ‘fieldwork’ element in their final dissertation: a report on a small-scale piece of research conducted on one aspect of Southbank Centre’s learning and participation programme.
King’s and Southbank Centre are hoping that this MA will attract people who currently work, or would like to work, in arts organisation-based education. It will explore ideas for designing, teaching and managing education programmes and ways of getting the education and culture sectors to co-operate.
At the launch event on 09 February, Principal of King’s College London, Professor Rick Trainor, said: ‘The development and delivery of this MA speaks to a new and landmark partnership between King’s College and Southbank Centre. We have been physical neighbours for 60 years - and so perhaps it is about time that we are now pooling our expertise around a shared endeavour!’
Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, added: ‘The UK arts sector has been incredibly successful in engaging audiences through their educational and outreach programmes. We are delighted to be partnering with King’s College to offer students the opportunity to gain first-hand practical experience and develop excellence in this ever-growing and important area for the arts.’
I know dozens and dozens of people working in this field who might - if they have the time and the energy - be drawn to this pretty interesting sounding opportunity and I shall be very interested to hear from anyone already signed up, considering it and/or from participants once it gets going.