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MRes Arts

The MRes Arts (Master of Research) is a qualification specifically aimed at makers, designers and thinkers who wish to undertake an independent, critical and creative study within and across the disciplines offered by the university.

This course can be studied full- or part-time from September or full-time from February.

Course information

Our MRes Arts programme aims to develop your research skills and provide a good preparation for doctoral study.

We provide an opportunity for individuals from a range of creative and academic backgrounds to gain a critical appreciation of maker cultures to advance innovative research practices in the arts.

The MRes Arts offers a unique foundation for innovative research in the arts, media, performance, design and architecture. It asks you to engage in a socially and ethically responsible research practice where making, in its varied manifestations across the arts, occupies a central part of the research approach. You will be encouraged to develop new ways of looking, reading and understanding our interaction with things, the environment and each other. You will follow a programme of study which combines practical and theoretical approaches to making and maker cultures, emphasising the knowledge and skills needed for doctoral study.

You will be supported in developing your own disciplinary, or cross-disciplinary research area by engaging with the diverse expertise across the Arts University Bournemouth. You will develop mastery in the theories, methods and practices of research through independent study and a taught programme of lectures, seminars and workshops offered by researchers and professionals working in the field.

Central to the course is your Independent Research Project, which is developed from your initial proposal submitted as part of your application. The Independent Research Project will combine documentation of practical work, critical reflection and contextualisation into an integrated thesis of 15,000-20,000 words.

On completion of the course, you will have gained intellectual, technical and professional skills which will allow you to conduct high-quality research. This will prepare you for further study at doctoral level (PhD) or as part of research-led projects in the creative and cultural industries.

As part of the course you will:

  • Create and take part in current critical practice and debate at the forefront of your discipline.
  • Gain skills in research, analysis, conceptualisation, argumentation, presentation and complex problem-solving.
  • Develop confidence for PhD study.
  • Develop the necessary competence for initiating and managing advanced research projects in the creative and cultural industries.

The course comprises three units of study:

  • Research Practices in the Arts: an introduction to practical and theoretical approaches to research (60 credits).
  • Independent Research Project 1: independent exploration of your research question through experimentation, case study or pilot study, to test your methodological approach (60 credits).
  • Independent Research Project 2: synthesis of your research findings and presentation of your investigation (60 credits).

Meet the award leaders

Dr Willem de Bruijn Senior Lecturer – BA (Hons) Architecture and Postgraduate Award Leader – MRes Arts

PhD, M.Sc., FHEA

Headshot for E Shercliff
Dr Emma Shercliff Associate Professor of Textiles and Participatory Making

PhD, BA(Hons), FHEA

Supervisory tutors

Dr Petronilla Whitfield Associate Professor in Voice and Acting 

PhD, MA, PGCE, Drama Dip, SFHEA

Dr Romana Turina Senior Lecturer – BA (Hons) Film Production and MA Film Practice


Headshot for Dr H Walter
Dr Helen Walter Visiting Tutor

PhD (RCA/V&A), PGCAP, MA (Cantab), MA (Courtauld), FHEA

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Celebrate our recent graduates

View their work

The MRes Arts offers a great opportunity for anyone working in the arts to develop advanced research skills, either in preparation for PhD study or any other ambitious research project within the arts sector.

Dr. Emma Shercliff, Course Leader

Student Work

Looking to be inspired? Browse our gallery of student work – you can find more in our Student Journal, too.

The MRes Arts created an inviting, exciting space for me to reassess my creative writing practice from so many different perspectives. Suddenly, the skills I had gained during my BA were subject to new challenges, considerations, and interdisciplinary contexts. The question was no longer ‘how to’ create; it was ‘why’ create, and the journey I took to answer this for myself was thrilling.

Taran Knight, 2021 graduate

How to apply

To apply, you’ll need to complete an application form on our online application portal. You’re required to include a project proposal which outlines your specific area of interest and your focus for investigation, as well as a personal statement which explains your motivation for applying for this programme of study, and any relevant experience or skills. We can only accept candidates with projects which are aligned to our staff expertise. If you have any queries about the course, please contact one of the course tutors: Dr Emma Shercliff or Dr Willem de Bruijn.

We aim to interview all applicants who demonstrate the potential to succeed on the course. Interviews are used to assess whether you have the necessary skills and capabilities and whether this programme is appropriate to your interests and aspirations.

For those who want to do research at the forefront of their discipline and look beyond their discipline to share knowledge and ideas, the MRes Arts provides a unique platform for discussion and debate across the arts, design, media, performance and architecture.

Dr. Willem de Bruijn, Course Leader

Trips and visits

Drawing Matter, Somerset – 25 April 2023

Students from the MRes Arts and MArch courses at AUB joined staff for a very special visit to Drawing Matter, an organisation that explores the role of drawing in architectural thought and practice through exhibitions, publications, public events, and workshops for students and practitioners.

At the heart of these activities is the Drawing Matter Collection, a collection comprising thousands of architectural drawings assembled over the last 25 years, dating from the 16th century to the present day. The collection is housed at Shatwell Farm, Somerset.

The students were met with a warm welcome from Niall Hobhouse (founder of Drawing Matter) and Matt Page, who led a workshop focused on drawings from the collection and selected by students. Everyone felt privileged and excited to be able to come into contact with such precious items from the collection, ranging from the late 19th century drawings by Hardman & Co for St Chad's in Birmingham, to the more conceptual drawings by OMA from the 1970s, among many others.

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See more of our student work

Head over to our social channels to see more creative work from our students