MA Contemporary Arts Consultancy

MA Contemporary Arts Consultancy offers a unique opportunity to develop research and consultancy skills within the cultural and creative industries. It is designed to prepare graduates to tackle practical real world problems faced by organisations and enable them to develop their career options.


The consultancy project is a central element of the course and we understand that students need time to develop their research and consultancy knowledge and skills before they can successfully apply these. Normally students will spend the first term developing their understanding of the project requirements and developing a research project plan. They will be allocated a supervisor at the start of the year who will support and advise them during this process. Normally the majority of the applied research is completed during the second term and the findings, conclusions and recommendations from this are delivered through a consultancy report to the client in the summer term. This course is designed to prepare you to tackle practical problems faced by organisations and, with advice and support from academic staff, to take responsibility for a consultancy based project to help resolve practical issues and problems faced by a client organisation.

Staff who contribute to the course have consultancy experience and external speakers are used to provide input in areas such as public relations and dealing with the media. Our client organisations predominantly come from the creative industries and the cultural and heritage sectors. Previous clients include: BBC radio, Grundy Art Gallery, Horse and Bamboo Theatre, Dukes Theatre, National Trust, Wordsworth Trust, Lancaster Litfest, The Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival, and The National Football Museum.


Term 1

Consultancy Skills and Practice | This module covers; the role of consultants in the arts, the project lifecycle, understanding the client organisation, managing client relationships, communicating with the press, report writing, marketing and audience segmentation, networking, tendering for work and writing funding bids.

Critical Thinking | This module is designed to foster critical reading, thinking and writing skills. Supported by regular individual tutorials with their departmental supervisor that orient these skills towards specific project-related content, students will develop an enhanced and critical understanding of their chosen field and a heightened awareness of how their own projects relate to contemporary thinking in this area.

Research Theory and Methods | These research training sessions cover general topics such as; the research process, different approaches to research, project planning and management, ethical issues, data collection and analysis, and subject specific research methods.

Term 2

Contemporary Issues in the Arts and Creative Sector | This module covers; case studies of diverse cultural organisations from the commercial and publicly-subsidised sectors, funding and governing of arts in the UK including issues around cultural policy and arts funding, an introduction to the wider cultural landscape of the UK covering the arts in health, regeneration, education and rehabilitation, and an introduction to conducting arts consultancies.

Creative Industries Work Placement | The terms of reference for each placement are established by the brief developed between student and placement host. Placements will normally include the opportunity both to work in professional Creative Industries context related to the student's art-form pathway, and to carry out a piece of research for the host organisation, focusing on a particular element of the organisation. This research may be tightly defined or a more exploratory investigation of the organisations founding mission, the agendas to which it works, and the effectiveness of its organisational structures and leadership practices in realising these aims.

Term 3

Dissertation | The dissertation provides a critical analysis and evaluation of the project and its processes. Students are required to engage in a reflection of the management and outcomes of the consultancy, building in a reflexive recognition of their own part in the process.

Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements

A first or upper second class degree (or equivalent) is normally expected, although other qualifications and relevant work experience may also be taken into consideration.

Language Requirements

Please note that if English is not your first language you are required to obtain an English language qualification that demonstrates ability to communicate in English across all four language skills — listening, reading, writing and speaking. Details of the English Language requirements can be found on our How to Apply page.

Applicant Profile

Consultancy pathway | The course appeals to graduates with an interest in working and consulting in the cultural and creative industries. We are looking for students who have a real desire to work with a client to address their needs within real work constraints of time and resources. Students who do not meet the normal entry requirements (at least a UK second class honours degree or equivalent) but do have a degree (or equivalent) can register initially for a Postgraduate Certificate in Creative Arts Consultancy and transfer to the MA after successful completion of the taught modules.

Practice Pathway | Applicants will need to demonstrate a commitment to, and level of attainment within, their chosen artform pathway, as well as a willingness to work alongside and collaborate with those from other artistic fields and backgrounds. Applicants will have either a degree-level qualification in their chosen artform, or a demonstrable track-record of professional practice (which might include publicly-funded projects, exhibitions, national touring or recording). Interviews are required, as is documentation of previous artworks. Overall we are looking for the self-motivation and entrepreneurial spirit to develop ones own art practice into a viable and sustainable way of life.


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Emma Tait-Barber

MA Applied Research & Consultancy, 2008

"The course has a good balance between practical and theoretical work while developing knowledge and skills in a business environment."

"As a campus university, there is a strong sense of community at Lancaster with several places in which to socialise and meet fellow students."

"The university is highly accessible for students, with all the facilities within walking distance of each other, which fosters a strong academic spirit."

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Harriet Goddard

MA Applied Research & Consultancy, 2008

"One core aspect of the course is the consultancy project which is undertaken over a period of 6 months or so which is based within the creative sector."

"I enjoy the community that Lancaster provides, the campus setting supports a strong sense of being involved in an academic environment."

"Lancaster socially is different from other universities as it provides a social setting that is ‘local’ so you’re not just a face in the crowd."

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Jocelyn Zou

MA Applied Research & Consultancy, 2008

"The course is so exciting, which provide students with opportunity of working for a real company as a consultant."

"Lancaster has a strong reputation for its teaching quality and international environment so there are students from all over the world. The college system provides a chance to meet and make new friends."

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Katie Riley

MA Professional Contemporary Arts Practice, 2008

"The opportunity through LICA to achieve collaboration with fine art, theatre, music, creative and cultural industries, and so on is a real reward."

"ProCAP is an academic frame in which visual artists, theatre practitioners and creative producers learn and practice the ethics of cultural entrepreneurship, policy and practice."

"Upon graduation I intend to initiate and interdisciplinary artist network and development agency as I feel there is a vibrant cohort of artists, organisations and venues which can be connected in an appropriate and innovative formats."

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Ewa Witaszek

MA Creative Arts Consultancy, 2011

"This course introduced me to the challenges that creative industries face in a very practical way. Throughout the year of study I learned not only how to tackle problems within the organization, but also, and most importantly, how to apply appropriate skills and knowledge in a way that benefited me, and the client."

"I was challenged with the personal development plan to implement my own work preferences, and critically analyse my role within the organization. I learned that in order to help the client develop through the consultancy you have to constantly seek development for yourself."

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Tao Zhu

MA Creative Arts Consultancy, 2011

"I enjoyed my MA course at Lancaster University. Ongoing projects and countless opportunities made this year unforgettable and the whole experience worthwhile."

Student Profile

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This course introduced me to the challenges that creative industries face in a very practical way. Throughout the year of study I learned not only how to tackle problems within the organization, but also, and most importantly, how to apply appropriate skills and knowledge in a way that benefited me, and the client.Quote mark
Ewa Witaszek,
MA Creative Arts Consultancy, 2011
  • Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts (LICA)
  • The LICA Building, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YW, UK