MA Digital Performance
If you are a performing arts professional looking to upskill and expand your creative toolkit through guided explorations of digital forms, then this course will suit your needs, interests and professional development. The course is also for graduates who wish to acquire in-depth knowledge of digital practice beyond their first degree, and for practitioners with equivalent experience, who would like to gain a formal qualification, such as practicing independent performers or performance makers, or those who work with cultural organisations in developing digital creative content.
This practice-based course provides you with digital skills to make performance for virtual and hybrid environments. You will evolve your creative practice, developing innovative and socially relevant work in collaboration with leading experts in the field of online theatre and digital performance making. It caters for all existing levels of digital experience and QMU is equipped to provide all the technical resources that the course requires.
The course offers a placement opportunity and is available both full and part-time.
- The curriculum is designed to respond to a rapidly evolving digital landscape: Each module focuses on distinct strands which include: motion capture and animation, digital interactivity through online platforms; broadcasting, live streaming, performing for camera, green screen and intermediality; Artificial Intelligence, augmented, immersive, and virtual reality.
- The course bridges the gap between art and technology: Digital performance allows you to make an impact as an innovator within the arts sector, while engaging the creative potential of digital technologies and promoting social change through artistic intervention.
- Links with professional networks and development of entrepreneurial opportunities: The course focuses on employability, and financial sustainability of your freelance career as a digital creator. It enables you to build your own digital performance portfolio, to monetise your work, and to prepare for a range of careers in the sector, which include digital makers, performers, producers and content creators.
- Explore new technologies and digital innovation. You will be generating digital performance content through innovative online platforms such as UpStage, purpose built by performance artists (https://upstage.org.nz/), alongside popular applications such as Twitch, Zoom, BBB, jitsi, Gather.town, OpenAI, and Second Life.
- Staff and industry expertise: a pool of leading UK and international practitioners will provide mentorship and professional expertise to support student projects. The excellent ongoing research of QMU tutors ensures that the curriculum is current and at the forefront of practice in the field.
- A community of creativity: You will join like-minded peers, becoming immersed in QMU’s vibrant Drama, Performance, Film and Media community. We rank top 5 in Scotland for Learning Community, and we are one of the UK’s leading Drama education providers.
Digital Performance (MA): More information and what you will achieve
On this MA in Digital Performance you will evolve practice-based knowledge while gaining a critical overview of the theory and histories of digital performance, alongside local and global ethical issues, such as digital poverty and technological accessibility.
The course will allow you to be proactive towards your practice and/or research, and you will be encouraged to critically reflect on your digital exploration and innovation, also in view of a potential progression to doctoral study.
Experienced tutors at the forefront of digital practice and research will facilitate your solo and collaborative projects in a supportive environment, both on campus and online. The course is available full and part-time.
How will I be taught?
Structure and exit awards
You can opt to study for the full MA (180 credits), a PgDip (120 credits) or a PgCert(60 credits).
You can also register as an associate student to complete a single module for CPD. On completion of a single module, you may wish to complete further modules and progress your studies to a named award. Contact Bianca Mastrominico for more information on single module study.
Teaching, learning and assessment
You will study and work in a supportive environment, both on campus and online, to develop solo and collaborative digital projects. This will provide a playground for creative experimentation, geared towards developing your skills as a digital performance maker.
Teaching comprises of a combination of workshops, lectures, seminars, tutorials, case studies, simulation exercises, individual and group projects. Emphasis is placed on practice-based learning, inviting learning through doing.
Assessments throughout the course are designed to further support skill attainment and practical development. As such, they take a variety of forms, including practical digital performances, video essays, research proposals, as well the option to undertake a practice-based dissertation for the final MA qualification component.
There are several opportunities to apply the theory and practice you learn on ‘real world’ projects. You can choose to undertake a placement through the SIM module (Student Initiated Module), working directly with other individuals or organisations. The practice-based dissertation project invites further opportunities for industry experience. Students are responsible for proposing and securing their own placement host and related costs (eg travel and accommodation) but we will help you with CVs and provide networking opportunities with a range of organisations.
Teaching hours and attendance
Your specific timetable will depend on whether you are studying full-time, part-time or an individual module. Each module involves approximately 25 hours of face-to-face teaching. This will be a mixture of weekly classes combined with a series of intensive study days. Timetables are normally available around one month before you commence your studies. Teaching delivery will be blended (live/online), though campus attendance will be required for most modules. The two taught semesters run from September to December and mid-January to mid-April.
Class sizes will depend on modules chosen but will normally be between 10-25 students. Workshops will be restricted in size and you will work in small groups.
You can read more about the teaching staff on this course at the bottom of this page. Please note that teaching staff is subject to change.
- Online Performance Practice (20 credits): In this practice-based module, students learn and apply the fundamental principles and techniques of performance making on a variety of online platforms.
- Theories and Histories of Digital Performance (20 credits): This module provides a critical overview of the key theories underpinning digital performance practice, and their histories.
- Performance Making for Digital Audiences (20 credits): This module explores live stream and broadcasting skills, and how to budget and produce work for online audiences.
- Practice Research (20 credits): This practice-based module is tailored to each student’s practical expertise and/or interests, engaging with experts in the field and case-studies, as well as their own experience.
- The Only Way is Ethics: Art Representation and Ethics (20 credits): This module develops critical and practical skills needed in order to engage with the public in the delivery of cultural projects, both live and digital.
- Plus a 20-credit elective
Elective modules may include:
- Student Initiated Module (20 credits): This module provides students with an opportunity to develop a self-directed piece of work in an area of their choice, for example producing or designing an online event, undertaking a placement, and more.
- Planning and Marketing Cultural Projects (20 credits): This modules looks at the practical realities of managing and marketing cultural projects.
- Fundraising, Finance and Development (20 credits): This module will equip students with a critical understanding of the principles and practices of fundraising, development and financial management.
For the MA you will also complete a Dissertation Project (60 credits), which can be practice-based. Through undertaking a self-directed project that suits your strengths, interests and career aspirations, you will undertake a substantial piece of work that will develop your independence in practice.
NB The modules listed are correct at time of posting (October 2022) but are subject to change. In the event that modules change, QMU will seek to use reasonable endeavours to ensure that there is no detrimental impact on students.
This course helps create career pathways within arts organisations seeking to develop their digital portfolios, content or delivery, as well as through freelance routes. Potential career paths include performance makers, performers, digital content creators, digital producers and digital artists.
We also support entrepreneurial graduates to set up their own businesses. Since 2014 we have supported a range of graduate start up media and performance production businesses through our Business Innovation Zone.
The MA Digital Performance can also be a stepping stone for those looking to pursue research or practice-research.
Digital Performance (MA): Entry requirements and application information
A UK honours degree or equivalent OR significant work experience in cultural organisations or festivals.
International: You will be required to provide evidence of English language competence at no less than IELTS 6.5 with no individual component score less than 6.0.
Applying for this course
For more information on applying, or to apply for this course, please follow the links in the 'Start your application' box at the top right of this page.
Terms and Conditions
The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2023/24 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate).
More information and QMU contacts
Contact Bianca Mastrominico (Programme Leader) or contact Admissions