Event and Experience Design - MA

Overview

Dedicated to developing skilled practitioners for the creative events industry, this taught programme gives you the knowledge and technical skills to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing and expanding field.

As the events industry continues to expand, the demand for the experience is growing. It is a global industry encompassing a vast range of event and experience typologies, from the mega event to the intimate bespoke experience, live events and performances to virtual reality and mixed reality experiences. Consumers are encouraged to be part of a brand community and the product is no longer enough.

We consider what forms of experiences can be created or contested in a mediatised society, when the roles of consumer and producer are no longer clearly defined and everyone with a smart phone is potentially an active agent.

This is a dynamic interdisciplinary evolving field of media, visual arts, design communication and performance. Through practice and research, you will be engaging with, contributing to and critiquing this exciting area of cultural production.

You have the opportunity to experiment and test ideas across a range of media and means of communication (mobile and location-based), within urban interfaces, transitory spaces (festivals/communities of interest/protest/consumption), the place-bound realms of architecture or the landscape. 

Entry requirements

A first or 2.1 honours degree, usually in a relevant humanities subject. In certain circumstances, the Centre will consider applicants who have not followed a conventional education path but who may have relevant experience in the industry. These cases are assessed individually by the Director of Graduate Studies. All applicants must also submit a digital or web-based portfolio that gives the admissions officer an understanding of your creative and presentation skills.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Due to visa restrictions, international fee-paying students cannot study part-time unless undertaking a distance or blended-learning programme with no on-campus provision.

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Need help with English?

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

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Course structure

Duration: One year full-time, two years part-time

You are taught in an interdisciplinary environment that reflects the professional world of design culture and event production within which designers, photographers, video makers and performers collaborate and share practice.

All the modules are compulsory to offer you a comprehensive advanced level of study of events and experiences. A critical, practical and conceptual investigation of the contemporary events and experience industry. Preparing and daring you to visualize the future of events and the experiential.

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. 

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

Research Methods and Context of Event and Experience Design

You fully utilise an advanced understanding of the importance of context in event scholarship and practice. We provide the necessary research methods for you to be able to study events and experiences in their cultural, historical, social and industrial settings in order to critically evaluate their significance, meaning, influence and effect.

You engage, through key texts and case studies, the ways in which culture and ideology, politics and economy, and notions of race, gender and class continue to shape and influence the production and reception of event culture and the formation of experience.

Cultural policy is examined and analysed by research into funding structures, including the public and private funding that generate event production. A funding application will be made in order to fully engage and understand the process and timescales. Alternatively, the same process can be undertaken within a commercial environment and a sponsorship bid or business plan written.

A key outcome of the module will be the development of statements on the direction, aims and form of the research in the Independent Research Project module.

Funding Application (30%) Research Portfolio (30%) Essay (3000 words) (40%)

Immersive Space Design

You are given the intellectual and practical conditions under which research and production of immersive space design is undertaken. You work within an historical overview, contemporary design techniques, applied or constructed elements and the language of new media (software and hardware). The module enhances the ability to formulate contemporary cultural and corporate communication through live and immersive space within event design (e.g. “live” at the festival or event, and “mediated” via digital technology). Immersive Space Design addresses the relationship between real physical spaces (host space) and the digital realm, investigating and designing for mixed reality spaces and environments. Commercial applications include museum interpretation to brand and product launches.

You are encouraged to exercise critical analysis and develop the skills to experiment and formulate new immersive propositions at an advanced level.

3000 Word Illustrated Essay (30%) Project Presentation (40%) Research Portfolio (30%)

Independent Professional Practice Development

Independent Professional Practice Development engenders independently motivated practice, asserting and advancing your identity as a designer/creative in order for you to produce original design work to a professional standard.

Demonstrating self-reflexivity and informed decision-making in the processes of producing a body of practice-based event and experience design work, you investigate areas of design practice where you want to specialise. Through realising your signature or style of design you work toward making a unique contribution to the future evolution of event and experience design.

This includes developing the skills necessary to deliver high quality work across a number of media and disciplines and attaining the necessary project management and technical skills. You are expected to evidence understanding of the contexts and issues in the production of your work for clients, audiences and other stakeholders. This work in practice, research and writing is aimed to develop conclusive statements on the direction and aims of your practice towards the Independent Research Project Module.

Event and Experience Project (40%) Research Portfolio (30%) Essay 3000 words (30%)

Independent Research Project

Develop your research skills to a professional standard in an academic or industrial project.  You Identifying and produce a theoretical or practice-based research project within the field of Event & Experience Design. You develop a research proposal in negotiation with your supervisor, incorporating a methodology and schedule for the work. You are expected to develop your ability to gather and synthesize data, as well as to analyse it in a coherent and convincing manner. In addition, you are expected to situate your own investigation and experimentation in the broader context of event and experience design, with a view to their progression in academia or industry. This could be literally located within a public or commercial environment if research practice. In both cases you would be expected to make an original contribution to extending knowledge of the field.

Independent Research Project (Dissertation 10,000 words) (70%) Research Portfolio (Written Project 2,500 words) (30%)

Creative Studio Operation

The Creative Studio Operation module shadows the structure and management of the professional creative agency. 

'Live Briefs' from brand clients currently in development from a number of experiential marketing agencies will form the basis of the primary practical project in this module. Where appropriate there will be visits and critiques from agency staff and industry professionals (in person or via video conferencing technology), who will follow the process.    

You gain academic and industry experience by presenting your creative thinking, problem solving strategies and design concepts to the module team (participants) and in providing constructive criticism on the work of their peers and receiving the same in return. 

The process of recording, analysing and evaluating the process from an initial rigorous interrogation of the brief, the development of the design strategy through to proposals to be pitched back to the client is a key component of the module. As is the identification and critique of the turn-key creative process and momentum. This will be documented in the Research Process Blog.

Practical Project (60%) Research Process Blog (portfolio of weekly contributions) (40%)

Teaching and assessment

Modules are taught over three terms, each module is assessed by a range of assessment formats, essays, research portfolios, and practical assignments. The practical assignments are for the most part realized projects, however, there is the opportunity to make a funding application or business plan. The final assessment is the dissertation.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • Produce specialist designers with knowledge and skills in advanced practice-based research in the delivery of immersive environments and experiences for brand development, experiential marketing strategies, digital landscapes and narrative environments such as museums and visitor attractions.
  • Develop work through individual enquiry as well as sharing and critiquing ideas drawing on staff research activity and expertise in various areas of design, digital technologies and performance work.
  • Provide students with the opportunity to develop and design their own forms of audio-visual, spatial and performance work within the wider contemporary context, addressing recent histories, key concepts and aesthetics in the field.
  • Provide a multi-disciplinary environment that fosters high quality collaborative and interdisciplinary work with external creative agencies and organisations, nationally and internationally (predominantly within the digital realm).
  • Equip students with the necessary academic analytic and practice based skills and abilities to site projects in the public domain and present in national and international contexts such as conferences, creative forums and festivals.
  • Enhance student employability and the University’s impact and engagement with the creative industries by equipping students with the learning and technical skills and abilities to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing and expanding field.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain a knowledge and understanding of:

  •  A systematic understanding and a critical awareness of key repertoires and current issues, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of contemporary research and practice.
  • A comprehensive understanding and use of audio–visual, production and performance techniques (design and digital technologies) relating to the student’s own advanced practice.
  • A critical appreciation of the wider cultural context for contemporary communication design, AV and digital culture particularly in the student’s chosen field.
  • The professional standards, ethical responsibilities and legal responsibility in design and media production and dissemination.

Intellectual skills

You gain the following intellectual skills:

  • To critically evaluate and analyse relevant texts and case studies, using specific terminology and employing a range of methodologies.
  • To be able to deal with complex issues and live situations both systematically and creatively, developing appropriate and innovative solutions.
  • To continue to advance their knowledge and understanding and to develop new skills to a high level.

Subject-specific skills

You gain the following subject-specific skills:

  • To design, develop and explore audio- visual materials to form complete projects from brief to resolution, demonstrating self-direction and originality in their own practice.
  • To work on an ambitious/large-scale audio-visual, creative project over an extended period of time, drawing on existing skills and developing new ones.
  • To present and disseminate work to specialist and non-specialist audiences/stakeholders using appropriate terminology.
  • The ability to draw upon an understanding and engagement with professional standards and practices within the broader Creative Industries.

Transferable skills

You gain the following transferable skills:

  • To exercise initiative and personal responsibility.
  • To develop clear concepts and ideas when presented with complex situations and conflicting information.
  • The capacity to communicate and express arguments and proposals with conviction, referring to key issues and relevant questions

Fees

The 2020/21 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

  • Home/EU full-time £7900
  • International full-time £19800
  • Home/EU part-time £3950
  • International part-time £9900

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact information@kent.ac.uk

Additional costs

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 

Funding

Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:

The Complete University Guide

In The Complete University Guide 2020, the University of Kent was ranked in the top 10 for research intensity. This is a measure of the proportion of staff involved in high-quality research in the university.

Please see the University League Tables 2020 for more information.

Staff research interests

Peter Hatton : Lecturer in Event and Experience Design

Peter Hatton is the Director of Studies for Event and Experience Design. In 2017-18 he was appointed Business Development Lead for Creative Industries. He is a member of the Creative Industry Federation Creative Education and Careers Working Group, the Medway Cultural Strategy Partnership and the 51 Zero Advisory Board.

Peter’s research takes the form of a critical, spatial practice which explores how places can be seen and imagined. Going beyond obvious references of architecture and social history to make new representations of places. These reconfigurations critique single purposed portrayals and offer alternative, often witty, navigations of urban space.

Investigations of the richly layered identities of places which are formed by the interweaving of everyday lives, ideas and the physical environment. Fragments of the past, present and speculation about the future mingle in the imagination.

The work operates in the broader context of regeneration and the shifts in our understanding and recognition of cities and urban environments. Events play an important role in this process as ephemeral interventions offering new ways to be and operate in familiar locations.

His recent proposal of “Place – does place exist?” as a Kent Signature Research Theme has been taken forward to the workshop stage.

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Dr Blanca Regina : Associate Lecturer in Event and Experience Design

Dr Regina is a visiting research fellow at University of the Arts London. Her research and practice encompass expanded cinema, free improvisation, moving image, photography and audiovisual performance.

Mr Paul Gambrill : Associate Lecturer in Event and Experience Design

From the Daleks to 'La Boheme' , and from the brand launch of the Mazda CX-7 to a new environmental museum in Athens, Paul's 'plate-spinning' creative career has taken him all over Europe and North America.

Careers

Roles and careers in the events industry and creative studios:

Events Account Manager, Events and Marketing Manager, Junior Designer, Marketing Officer, Production Executive, Events Assistant, Events Manager, Events and Promotions Officer, Senior Designer, Production Manager, Creative Producer, Digital Designer, Brand Manager, Graphic Designer, Event Coordinator, Project Manager, Set and Exhibition Designer, Commercial Marketing Manager, Product Manager, Creative Director, Senior Event Manager, Prop Maker, Construction Manager.

Study support

Global Skills Award

All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.  

Apply now

Learn more about the applications process or begin your application by clicking on a link below.

Once started, you can save and return to your application at any time.

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Contact us

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United Kingdom/EU enquiries

MA at Medway

Admissions enquiries

Peter Hatton
Director of Studies for Event and Experience Design
E: p.hatton@kent.ac.uk
T: 01634 888922

Alice Heggie
Recruitment & Outreach Administrator
Centre for Music and Audio Technology (CMAT)
E: a.heggie@kent.ac.uk
T: 01634 202928

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International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk

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