About this course
Through the MA Arts and Cultural Leadership, you will engage with a diverse network of partners to understand and shape the role of arts and culture in society.
You'll examine international perspectives on arts and cultural management and leadership to explore:
- ethical decision-making
- organisations and roles
- project management and evaluation
Issues of sustainability, equity and belonging, and social justice are embedded throughout the exploration of these topics.
The course is balanced between collaborating with external partners and working independently to pursue questions and methodologies relevant for your research and career specialisms. Based in a vibrant and creative art school environment, you will have access to digital resources to develop academic and professional skills.
Through the option module, you will be able to make interdisciplinary connections and extend your specialism.
- Involvement of the University's art and cultural sector organisations as core partners
- Co-design a live project with members of our partnership network
- Work with researchers who are leading projects and publishing in a range of arts and cultural sector specialisms
- Study visits to explore how arts and cultural leadership management issues and practices are engaged with in different contexts
The critical analysis and applied practice of cultural leadership is not confined to specific modules, as we integrate these elements across the whole programme.
Your course leader is Dr Dan Ashton, Associate Professor of Cultural and Creative Industries at Winchester School of Art. He has worked in partnership with a range of arts and cultural organisations on public exhibitions, teaching initiatives, and research bids.
Visit Dr Ashton's profile to find out more about his work.
This course is based at Winchester.
This qualification is awarded by the University of Southampton.
Download the Course Description Document
The Course Description Document details your course overview, your course structure and how your course is taught and assessed.
Changes due to COVID-19
Although the COVID-19 situation is improving, any future restrictions could mean we might have to change the way parts of our teaching and learning take place in 2022 to 2023. This means that some of the information on this course page may be subject to change.
Find out more on our COVID advice page.
You’ll need a 2:1 degree, or equivalent qualification, in one of the following disciplines:
Arts and humanities
- human geography
Find the equivalent international qualifications for your country.
English language requirements
If English isn't your first language, you'll need to complete an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to demonstrate your competence in English. You'll need all of the following scores as a minimum:
IELTS score requirements
- overall score
We accept other English language tests. Find out which English language tests we accept.
Recognition of professional experience
You can also apply if you have professional experience. You’ll need to demonstrate significant relevant work experience within the relevant subject field.
We may ask you to an interview.
Got a question?
Please contact us if you're not sure you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course.
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000
You'll study this full-time master's course over 12 months.
In the first 9 months (semesters 1 and 2), you'll study the taught part of your course.
For the last 3 months, you'll take your final project module, developing your expertise in project management in order to undertake original research.
Semester 1 overview
You'll examine current ideas and debates in arts and cultural leadership and management through international perspectives on current academic and industry research.
In dialogue with arts and cultural sector organisations and practitioners from the programme partnership network and a wider range of industry resources, you will identify and reflect on contemporary contexts and cultures of the cultural and creative industries.
Through practice-based workshops, you will develop and reflect on a range of academic and industry-specific skills and practices.
Semester 2 overview
You’ll engage with external partners to co-design a live project to understand and address current and future priorities for arts and cultural leadership and management.
In connection with the live project module and building on your semester 1 modules, you will explore how to advance research in arts and cultural leadership management through a range of techniques and methods. You will also undertake critical reflection and planning relating to professional development opportunities.
Through the option module, you will make interdisciplinary connections and extend your specialism.
Want more detail? See all the modules in the course.
For entry in Academic Year 2023-24
Year 1 modules
You must study the following modules:
Contexts: Industry, Community, Policy
This module focuses on sustained engagement with a diverse range of international contexts, organisations, communities and practitioners to explore and evaluate ways of working in the arts and cultural sectors. This module explicitly introduces and explor...
This module requires you to reflect on and employ your insights, skills and experiences from across the programme to complete an independent project that evaluates and advances research relating to current arts and cultural sector issues and practices, an...
Ideas and Debates in Arts and Cultural Leadership
This module sets out the programme’s focus on understanding and shaping the role of arts and culture in society. You will examine current issues, debates and developments in arts and cultural management and leadership. Examining and evaluating a range of ...
Industry Project: Partnership, Engagement, Experimentation
In this industry project module, you will collaborate with arts and cultural organisations and practitioners from the programme partnership network to co-design and undertake a project. The programme’s partner network brings together a diverse range of or...
Methods for Arts and Cultural Research
In this module you will develop a proposal for an independent project. The proposal will develop a project that addresses current ideas and debates related to arts and cultural management and leadership, and professional development challenges and opportu...
Professional and Academic Practices
In this module you will explore and evaluate a range of academic and industry skills and resources that are relevant across the programme and for your future professional development. These skills and resources engage with the diversity of what is involve...
You must also choose from the following modules:
The consideration of what publishing actual means today remains a relevant question for any creative practitioner. Over the past few years we have seen a huge rise in self-publishing, print on-demand services, tweeting and social media, from post-digital ...
Exploring the Visual Language of Display
The module provides thematic examples of the theories and practices of visual presentation and display explored through interdisciplinary and critical contexts appropriate to the MA pathways. It offers a number of critical “tools”, enhanced through refere...
We live in a world that is saturated by images, from the far reaches of space to the sub-atomic level and just about everything in between. Images seem to have a special power in our lives, playing a part in the constructions of who and what we are and t...
Learning and assessment
On this course, you'll develop your team working skills, strengthen your planning and project skills, and learn to think critically and analytically.
You'll learn through a combination of:
- guest speaker sessions
- study visits
Assessment methods will vary according to your choice of modules, but could include:
- case study
- final project report
We'll assign you a personal supervisor for support and guidance throughout your final project.
The experiences and skills you develop on this master's directly align to a range of career roles in the arts and cultural sector, as well as the cultural and creative industries more widely.
We will support you in your professional development, helping you pursue various pathways, such as:
- employment within different sized organisations
- freelance practitioner or producer
- entrepreneurship and business start-up
- PhD study
The programme is also a way to connect and position your existing education, work background and experiences in relation to the arts and cultural sectors.
Careers services at Southampton
We're a top 20 UK university for employability (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2022). Our Careers and Employability Service will support you throughout your time as a student and for up to 5 years after graduation. This support includes:
- work experience schemes
- CV/resume and interview skills workshops
- networking events
- careers fairs attended by top employers
- a wealth of volunteering opportunities
- study abroad and summer school opportunities
We have a thriving entrepreneurship culture. You'll be able to take advantage of:
- our dedicated start-up incubator, Futureworlds
- a wide variety of enterprise events run throughout the year
- our partnership in the world’s number 1 business incubator, SETsquared
Fees, costs and funding
Fees for a year's study:
- UK students pay £9,250.
- EU and international students pay £22,136.
When you accept your offer to study on this course you’ll be asked to pay a deposit. This is non-refundable. The deposit amount is:
- UK students: £250
- EU and international students: £1,000
Full terms and conditions and details of how to pay this deposit will be sent to you in your offer letter.
What your fees pay for
Your tuition fee covers the full cost of tuition and any exams.
Find out how to pay your tuition fees.
Accommodation and living costs, such as travel and food, are not included in your tuition fees. Explore:
Extra costs you might have to pay
We expect you to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, such as pens, pencils and notebooks. If you need specialist stationery items for a specific module, we will tell you this in the module description.
Where a module specifies essential texts, the Library will identify the optimal options to support the module in the course Reading List. This may include e-books or a digitised chapter extract, supported by a limited number of print books where available.
You can also:
- request that the Library purchases additional print copies via 'suggest a book'
- borrow an additional copy via our inter-library-loans service
- buy your own copies for high-demand titles
Some modules include optional visits to museums, galleries, or industry.
We will normally expect you to cover the cost of travel, admission and food, unless the module description specifies otherwise.
Field equipment and materials
The live project module may involve additional costs, such as for travel to project partners or the purchase of materials.
These are covered by a mixture of:
- budget discussion and requests - maximum of £100 per student
- your own funds - maximum of £100 per student
10% alumni discount
If you’re a graduate of the University of Southampton you get a 10% discount on your postgraduate tuition fees.
Postgraduate Master’s Loans (UK nationals only)
This can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate master's course. Find out if you're eligible.
Southampton Arts and Humanities Deans Global Talent Scholarship
Ten scholarships of £10,000 each are available to international students studying for an undergraduate degree or a postgraduate master’s degree in Arts and Humanities.
Find out more about the Southampton Arts and Humanities Deans Global Talent Scholarship, including eligibility, deadlines and how to apply.
Other postgraduate funding options
A variety of additional funding options may be available to help you pay for your master’s study. Both from the University and other organisations.
Funding for EU and international students
Find out about funding you could get as an international student.
How to apply
- Use the 'apply for this course' button on this page to take you to our online application form.
- Search for the course you want to apply for.
- Complete the application form and upload any supporting documents.
- Submit your application.
Places are limited and we allocate them on a continuous basis from 21 September 2022, until all places are filled. We advise you to apply early to avoid disappointment.
We expect to close applications for this course on Friday 7 July 2023 (11:59pm UK time).
This course may stay open after this date if places are still available.
Application assessment fee
We’ll ask you to pay a £50 application assessment fee if you’re applying for a postgraduate taught course.
This is an extra one-off charge which is separate to your tuition fees and is payable per application. It covers the work and time it takes us to assess your application. You’ll be prompted to pay when you submit your application which won’t progress until you've paid.
If you're a current or former University of Southampton student, or if you’re applying for certain scholarships, you will not need to pay the fee. PGCE applications through GOV.UK and Master of Research (MRes) degree applications are also exempt. Find out if you’re exempt on our terms and conditions page.
When you apply you’ll need to submit a personal statement explaining why you want to take the course.
You’ll need to include information about:
- your knowledge of the subject area
- why you want to study a postgraduate qualification in this course
- how you intend to use your qualification
You'll also need to send 2 academic references.
Please include the required paperwork showing your first degree and your IELTS English language test score (if you are a non-native English speaker) with your application. Without these, your application may be delayed.
What happens after you apply
You'll be able to track your application through our online Applicant Record System.
We'll assess your application on the strength of your:
- academic achievements
- relevant professional experience
- personal statement
- academic references
We will aim to send you a decision 6-8 weeks after you have submitted your application.
If we offer you a place, you will need to accept the offer within 30 working days. If you do not meet this deadline, we will offer your place to another applicant.
Unfortunately, due to the volume of applications we receive, we may not be able to give you specific feedback on your application if you are unsuccessful.
We may invite you to an interview, which will take place by phone if you live abroad. You'll get an email from the admissions tutor if we'd like to talk to you before offering you a place.
Equality and diversity
We treat and select everyone in line with our Equality and Diversity Statement.
Got a question?
Please contact us if you're not sure you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course.
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000
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