MA Historical Costume


Program Description

Historical Costume supports and develops advanced practitioners who have the ambition to explore, challenge and redefine the relationship between a historical artefact and the redesign and interpreted costume in a contemporary context.

MA Historical Costume

MA Historical Costume engages the student in the potential of performance design and garment construction to explore complex ideas; some of which could stray into other areas of artistic experimentation. Students may come to the course with a background in costume, fashion, textiles or theatre/performance design or may have studied subjects from across the humanities including arts and performance. This master’s programme supports and encourages the student to investigate individual practice within an interdisciplinary framework, whilst developing a critical theoretical context for their work. The very special and unique nature of course delivery, through shared lectures, seminars, critiques and tutorials encourages both a ‘freewheeling’ atmosphere as well as an intense immersion in creative practice.

Whether students are interested in looking at historical influences or current socio-political issues related to dress, students will challenge the context of their study in design or historical costume construction within the broader framework of contemporary practice.

Course Duration

  • 1 year (full-time, 45 weeks)
  • 2 years (part-time, 90 weeks)

Course Leader

Rebecca Pride – Course Leader

BA (Hons) Drama and Theatre Studies, Higher Diploma in Fine Art (HDFA) Slade and PGCE

Prior to my academic career, I worked as a professional theatre designer (from 1988), designing for many national theatres including: The Riverside Studios, Watford Palace, Theatr Clwyd, The Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch, Perth Theatre, The Gate, The Man in the Moon and The Bridewell to name just a few.

What You'll Study

The course is supported by lectures and seminars in areas of dress history, construction and design to enable students to critically reflect on, and to consider the place of their practice within the discipline. Seminar discussion with a diverse range of artists will invite critiques of students’ work. The intense testing of work and practice in a challenging but safe arena is a particular element of the MA programme and innate strength of the learning process that is engendered at the Graduate School.

Areas of expertise within the course team include: Historical Costume Construction, Costume Design Skills, Scenography and Dress History.

The exciting potential of this course is the ability to experiment and innovate whilst you hone your skills as a maker or designer. It fosters originality and creativity in the application of techniques of enquiry, research and making. It locates your practice in the interdisciplinary and global context, be it theoretically based on historical research and analysis or on a live production involving the transformation of costume design from page to stage.

Course Structure

MA Historical Costume is designed to enable the student to follow their research interests at M level whether that interest lies in historical costume construction or performance design. Working with students and staff from across a breadth of MA disciplines students will enrich the wider post-graduate dynamic at AUB with the individual experience and graduate expertise they bring with them.

The first unit of study Strategies for Practice: Identification allows for investigation into the specific area of study, which will involve research in the area of costume history that will be the focus of the following units of study.

As students’ progress through the Strategies for Practice: Identification unit they will be expected to choose and connect with a theme and exploit its interpretation and potential to inform the direction of their Masters’ Project 1 and 2.

Areas of Expertise and Engagement with External Professionals

The Undergraduate BA (Hons) Costume and Performance Design course is one of the leading courses in the UK specialising in costume construction, set and costume design (Scenography) and film costume design skills. These specialist areas of study contribute to the quality and breadth of practitioners that Masters students in MA Historical Costume have the opportunity to meet and engage with within the studio, seminar and lecture theatre.

All staff within the course team act as senior members of practice-led societies including the Performance Design Educators Collective (PDEC) and The Society of British Theatre Design (SBTD) as well as OISTAT and USITT. All Masters students are invited to contribute to the course Industry Liaison Group (ILG) which will always include members from both the theatre and film industries.

The Costume with Performance course enjoys the company of leading academics including visiting professor scenographer Professor Pamela Howard OBE, author of What is Scenography? (2009 and 2019), Oscar-winning designer and AUB Honorary Fellow Jenny Beavan OBE (designer of The Kings Speech, Sherlock Holmes and The Chronicles of Cranford) as well as leading costume maker and Honorary fellow Jane Law.

Studios and Resources

Students on the MA Historical Costume course benefit from specialist facilities and equipment, tailored to the studies of the course which reflects industry practice.

Your Interview and Portfolio

As part of your application to MA Historical Costume, we’ll invite you to interview and we’ll want to see your portfolio.

Electronic Portfolio

If you’re unable to attend interview Admissions will request a link to an online portfolio. Please don’t submit a portfolio until you have this request which will give details of how to submit to admissions. We’ll require a digital portfolio of approximately 20 images.

Application Deadline

Applications are open for 2020 entry.

You can apply from November and there is no set deadline for applications.

It’s worth remembering that overseas applicants who pay the full tuition fees by 1 August will receive a 10% discount.

We encourage you to apply early so that you have time to organise accommodation and to arrange for a visa (if required) before you enrol.

Entry Requirements

We encourage applications from students with a broad range of qualifications and we welcome students from all educational backgrounds. we will take into account the knowledge and skills that you have developed outside the classroom as well as your previous qualifications.

UK Applicants

  • You will usually have BA (Hons) Degree graded at 2.1 or above, or an equivalent UK or international qualification in your chosen subject or a related discipline.

Overseas Applicants

For overseas applicants, we accept a range of English Language qualifications, including the following qualifications for MA and Master of Architecture (MArch) courses:

  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) grade C
  • Certificate of Attainment in English (London Board) level 5 or 6
  • IELTS score of 6.5 or above
  • Pearson PTE score of 54 and over, with a score of 51 in each component.
  • IELTS, Pearson and TOEFL scores must be less than two years old at the time the course commences to be valid.

We may also accept TOEFL iBT scores of 80 or above for entry to degree courses; however, we would prefer one of the above qualifications.

TOEFL is a test of American English and is not classified as a Secure English Language Test (SELT) for Tier 4 Visa applicants.

Alternative Qualifications/Experience

  • Applicants with other than the required academic qualifications will be considered for entry if there is sufficient evidence to indicate that they have the potential to fulfil the objectives of the course of study and to achieve the standard of the final award.
  • Applications are also welcomed from those with other qualifications or with work experience which demonstrates appropriate knowledge and skills to study at postgraduate level.
Last updated Jul 2020

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About the School

Established in 1883 as a specialist institution, Arts University Bournemouth is a leading university offering high quality specialist education in art, design, media and performance across the creativ ... Read More

Established in 1883 as a specialist institution, Arts University Bournemouth is a leading university offering high quality specialist education in art, design, media and performance across the creative industries. We’re passionate about the creative subjects we teach and continue to encourage curiosity, risk-taking and adventure in exploring and pushing subject knowledge and its boundaries. Read less