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Arts, Health and Social Change

Arts, Health and Social Change
1 year (full-time), 2 years (part-time)

MA Arts, Health and Social Change brings those working in or interested in developing their skills in arts, health and social change together to learn from leaders in the field in the context of research and practice. 

You will hold a critical belief that culture and the arts have a significant part to play in health and social change and a conviction that a collective approach offers new ways of reimagining public health.

This course stems from the research-informed direction of Arts for Health at Manchester Metropolitan University, a leading research, advocacy and education centre, re-imagining and undertaking, multidisciplinary research into the fundamental questions about arts, health and social change. This ties explicitly to the Manchester Institute for Arts, Heath & Social Change. The programme benefits from the rich networks and strategic working relationships within Manchester, the UK and internationally. 

We invite participants from a range of arts and health disciplines and/or professional backgrounds which might include traditional art school roots and psychology and healthcare but may also embrace subjects from visual anthropology to the digital and literary arts. People with professional experience wanting to further develop their practice and theoretical understanding of the field will form a key cohort in this Masters.


  • Dedicated spaces for the postgraduate community have been developed to enable the postgraduate community to flourish. These spaces, for thinking and practice, are located at the heart of Manchester School of Art, allowing easy access to an extensive range of workshops where the combination of traditional and state of the art equipment opens up a world of exciting possibilities.
  • You will be taught by research active staff who are part of the Manchester School of Art Research Centre and experts in their field.
  • The University library has outstanding Art and Design holdings, including a special collection of artist's books and ephemera.

Course Content

Year 1 (MA Full-Time)

Full-time students complete the programme in 12 months split into 3 terms, each consisting of 60 credits of study. Part-time students undertake 30 credits of study per term, and have the option to complete in 24 – 36 months, dependent on whether they elect to undertake summer breaks within their study period.

In addition to core units, students will elect a 30 credit Option Unit. The Option units are shared across all university postgraduate programmes and enable students to undertake further cross-disciplinary learning experiences.

Collective Research and Practice

During this unit, we establish a community of expertise where new critical, aesthetic and poetic responses emerge through collective research and practice. Transdisciplinary groups work on themes or projects presented by Arts for Health and links are made with public and governmental organizations, communities and a variety of relevant settings. We will explore new frameworks for individual and collective practice, building understanding of how we move through the world and interact with others.

Theory and Knowledge

Alongside practical project work, this unit provides a space to explore key research and emerging issues within society, encouraging scrutiny of current practices aimed at impacting on health and wellbeing. We’ll discuss the relevance of the arts from the cradle to the grave, placing a strong emphasis on inequalities and the social determinants of health. Our aim will be to expand understanding of theory and practice in the emerging public health agenda.

Creative Direction

You will review your learning so far, consider your emerging creative directions, preparing for and proposing your MA project. Working individually or in project teams, you will identify creative directions with external partners across Greater Manchester and/or wider international communities of interest. Initial project proposals are advanced and refined through for example, project planning, professional ethics and testing the overall validity and appropriateness of the proposal.


You will work with communities and workforce to offer innovative new ways of exploring pressing health and social concerns, where Greater Manchester will be an incubator of step-change research and action. Project work is self-generated, and you are expected to evidence a synthesis of knowledge, understanding, skills and expertise acquired across the duration of the programme.


We have developed a dedicated postgraduate area occupying an entire floor of the main School of Art building, offering an exciting space to be, both intellectually and practically. The centre is located in the newly refurbished Chatham Tower with studios, design laboratories, seminar rooms and extensive workshops that form the nucleus of this vibrant, cross-disciplinary learning environment.

Find out more about Manchester School of Art's facilities.

Student Work

Visit our online MA Show galleries to see examples of recent work by our postgraduate students.

MA Show 2019 - View Work Online       MA Show 2018 - View Work Online

MA Show 2017 - View Work Online       MA Show 2016 - View Work Online


The programme will enable individuals to gain the knowledge and practical experience to propel their careers in this fast developing field.

Making an Application

Entry Requirements

How to Apply

Please apply directly to MMU using our Application Form.

Download Application Form

Fees 2020 Entry

Eligible alumni receive a 10% discount on their postgraduate tuition fees. Find out more about our Alumni Loyalty Discount.

Also see Postgraduate funding and financial support.

Course Leader