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Design Crafts BA Honours

Learn about the course below
October 2019
EU/International induction: September 2019
3 years full-time
4 years full-time with sandwich option
£9,250 (UK/EU) *
£12,500 (INT) *
Course leader
Helen Carnac
Tim Carson

Developing new ideas, materials and processes is at the core of the Design Crafts BA programme. This is achieved through a rigorous and rich approach to teaching and learning in an environment that is both stimulating and challenging, and by engaging in craft and making through live projects and placements.

Why study BA Design Crafts at Middlesex University?

This course focuses on the creative possibilities of designing through making, and invites you to immerse yourself in multi-disciplinary materials and processes. You will enjoy access to industry-leading workshops, experimenting and creating with metals, ceramics, plaster, glass, plastics, wood, textiles, printing, as well as new technologies such as 3D scanning and printing. From your own dedicated studio space in our state-of-the-art £80m facility, your making skills will be enhanced by a rigorous and questioning approach to critical thinking, enabling you to create innovative new possibilities and contexts for your work.

Led by highly regarded practitioners and expert technicians, the BA Design Crafts programme challenges conventional boundaries to reinvent traditions of making objects and products. The outcomes can have a multitude of contexts such as objects for the home, to decorate the body, for practical use or perhaps purely for contemplation. Anything is possible, and this degree will help you explore both established and new territories for making.

Live projects are embedded throughout the course and in the past students have worked with Tottenham Hotspur Football Club and the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture (MoDA). These will help will help you develop entrepreneurial skills and business acumen in order to establish yourself as an independent designer-maker producing your own designs in small batches or as one-offs. Your professional skills will be honed with practical briefs and specialist training. These skills may also open opportunities as a consultant to industry and manufacturers, for example as a freelance designer of jewellery, fashion accessories, or home-wares.

In addition to the standard three-year full-time course you also have the opportunity to incorporate an additional one-year professional practice placement for which you will receive an Advanced Diploma Professional Practice: Design Crafts at graduation.

BA Design Crafts is part of the Design Department, giving you proximity to students studying Fashion and Interiors with the potential for exciting collaborative projects.Whether you are taking the first steps into higher education, looking to start your own business or changing direction in your profession, we have the facilities, industry links and world-class expertise to help you develop and make extraordinary things.

Course highlights

  • You will have access to specialist workshop facilities and a dedicated studio space
  • You will learn through a multidisciplinary approach
  • You will explore and study traditional techniques as well as new and emerging technologies
  • You will gain industry insights and professional networks through lectures and visits from high-profile guest lecturers
  • You will have access to the inspirational cultural wealth of London’s museums, galleries, architecture and shops, as well as participating in regular field trips across the UK and abroad
  • You will have the opportunity for inclusion in one of the largest Art and Design Degree Shows in London, based at Middlesex University
  • As a student of this course you'll receive a free electronic textbook for every module.

Find out more

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What will you study on the BA Design Crafts?

This course is divided into three years with options to complete at a Certificate level (complete Year 1), Diploma level (complete Years 1 and 2) or Honours level (complete all three years).


  • Year 1

    • Developing Practice in Design Crafts (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will introduce you to the fundamental learning required to developing design processes in order to build a body of visual and written research. Through the module you will establish these processes through a range of critical enquiry, visual and contextual research, mark making, drawing, and by gathering material and exploring process. You will develop a broad understanding of the subject and explore a range of ideas and skills, both in the studios, outside environs and by visiting galleries, museums and exhibitions. You will also focus on concepts, theories and knowledge that foreground the understanding of this area of study.

    • Materials and Processes (30 credits) - Compulsory​

      This module will introduce you to a comprehensive range of skills, processes and materials through workshops and studio demonstrations. It will focus on the discovery of, and experimentation with, new and established materials, and traditional and emerging technologies. This will involve the exploration and experimentation of a variety of materials and testing notions of materiality and making practices.

    • Culture and Context: Locating Practice (30 credits) - Compulsory​

      This module will introduce you to concepts, notions, theories and practices of design crafts and promotes critical thinking. It aims to consider, develop and promote the place of authorship in the creative world through a variety of media and within multiple geographic regions, historical periods and subject specialist areas. It encourages well-researched, creative and informed writing within critical frameworks of knowledge and thinking.

    • Thinking and Making (30 credits) - Compulsory​

      Through this module you will develop your material manipulation skills through a range of projects, which are developed from the Materials and Processes module. It aims to help you expand your abilities to critically analyse and apply knowledge and skills to the processes of design research, experimentation and thinking through making.

  • Year 2

    • Creative Processes (30 credits) - Compulsory​

      This module aims to provide a framework to consolidate and develop making and material processes introduced in previous modules through a more advanced and focused exploration of further materials and processes. Through this period of research and analysis you will be able to critically reflect on your decisions and develop a fully resolved 3D artefact, material process, design proposal or question.

    • Materials and Processes (30 credits) - Compulsory​

      This module aims to give you the means to critically explore materials and engage with further processes of making. It aims to provide the tools to develop an emerging personal vocabulary that will underpin your ability to develop into a unique maker and designer. You will generate ideas about material practices through the analysis of concepts, ideas and production, experimenting with traditional and emerging technologies within workshop environments in order to develop responses to design and making/material problems.

    • Culture and Context: Locating Practice (30 credits) - Compulsory​

      This module aims to build on the first-year module, Culture and Context: Locating Practice. It will encourage continuous professional development and self-direction through examining historical and theoretical discourses, business thinking and entrepreneurship, and their impacts on society. It aims to enable the development of your critical self-awareness and ability to identify and address strengths and your responses to working contexts and social issues. The module will nurture and develop your skills to allow you to become innovators and provide both contemporary and historical models of entrepreneurial/business support relevant and useful for creative entrepreneurs. This module provides a link between the theoretical aspects of the broader overview of making and material worlds, and the practice specifics that focus on how creativity can be strengthened through contextual knowledge of a field.

    • Thinking and Making (30 credits) - Compulsory​

      This module aims to create awareness and a critical appreciation of the concepts and theories of design thinking and making as well as its application and impact in a wide range of personal and global contexts. It will give you the ability to investigate and think creatively about design problems and key aspects of cultures that support design thinking, making and innovation.

  • Year 3 - Optional Placement

    • Professional Placement A (60 credits) - Optional​

      This module will help you gain supervised experience in a professional work environment that is relevant to your chosen field. It is an opportunity for you to gain new skills, insights, self-awareness and self-confidence within specialist professional practices. It provides a valuable professional context and creates opportunities for you to develop individual maturity through practical application of skills and knowledge, and a realistic understanding of practices within industry.

    • Professional Placement B (60 credits) - Optional​

      This module will help you gain further supervised experience in a professional work environment that is relevant to your specialist field. It also provides you with the opportunity to build insights, reflexivity and cultivate networks within industry. You will be able to reflect, analyse and evaluate your experience and communicate this through writing and presentation. This will allow you to form plans for possible future careers and opportunities, and to progress into the final year, considerably enriched and empowered.

  • Year 4

    • Realising Practice (30 credits) - Compulsory​

      This module will enable you to locate your own work within a business/real life context through the execution of a personally focused design project. It allows you to build on previous learning and experience to develop relevant approaches to design crafts that are independent, innovative and appropriate in their current environment. You will explore professional practice and processes associated with working in the Design Crafts sector. Emphasis is placed on creative and entrepreneurial activity. The module will support you in applying your knowledge to your chosen specialism, and you will be able to apply these skills to industry standard.

    • Design Synergies ​(30 credits) - Compulsory​

      This module will enable you to assess and integrate your own ambitions for making through advanced research into critical, cultural, historical, political and socio-economic context, pertinent to design and craft. This component of your learning will embed patterns of development that challenge and support innovation in your own work, including the analysis of concepts and theories. This will be presented in the form of an extended piece of focused research and academic writing linked to previous modules, thereby embedding learning through application.

    • Final Major Project (30 credits) - Compulsory​

      This module embodies the opportunity to develop and present the culmination of your learning and personal development. It consists of producing a body of work and portfolio of practice that demonstrates your elected specialist approach to Design Crafts. This module provides a platform to express creativity, innovation and design thinking through the application of learning drawn from all previously taught modules.

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

  1. Teaching and learning - typical structure
  2. Assessment and feedback
  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. Interviews and portfolios
  4. How to apply
  1. UK & EU
  2. EU fees
  3. International

How can the BA Design Crafts support your career?

In addition to the practical skills and knowledge you'll gain from this course, you will be equipped with the entrepreneurial opportunities and skills to help you succeed as an independent designer and maker or lead expert within specialist craft manufacturing or design application business.

While this is a new programme, we expect most of our graduates to pursue self-employment on completion of this course. Designed to support the aspirations and interests of students at any stage in their professional life and career, this course is flexibly designed to allow you to tailor your work to meet the needs of your ambitions. Therefore, the opportunities following graduation are varied and individually relevant and likely to be influenced by the work placement opportunities available for all our students in the third year of the course.

Helen Carnac
Design Crafts Programme Leader

Helen is a London-based maker and curator. She works collaboratively and across disciplines, exploring the connection between material, process and maker. She has lectured and exhibited extensively both locally and internationally, and is actively involved in developing dialogue and thinking around craft practice.

"I'm interested in how you can make a practice from different elements that are very connected but may seem quite disparate. The world of work is changing; I have had quite a varied career, doing various things to put all my work together. We need to look at how to develop new modes of working so that we don't rely on old systems that aren't always sustainable.

"I really enjoy the open nature of Middlesex and the shared resources. You meet people and have conversations along the way, and that's the way things happen – new ideas and projects come out of these short conversations."

Tim Carson
Programme Leader

Tim has been making jewellery and other larger scale 3D work for over 20 years. He is the co-founder of Timothy Information Limited and has exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions at Galerie Smit in Amsterdam, Velvet da Vinci in San Francisco and Galerie 84Ghz in Munich. Tim is also member of The Dialogue Collective, a group of makers that work collaboratively on projects exploring design, making and audience engagement within jewellery and silversmithing.

"The focus of my own practice is the badge as a tool for communication. I'm interested in how the arrangement and manipulation of materials can give ideas a physical voice and how that voice can be used to both clarify and misdirect.

"I'm continually impressed with the level of energy that emanates around the Art and Design School at Middlesex University. There's always something interesting going on, which gives you a real sense of being part of something bigger."

Owen Wall
Ceramicist Technician

Own specialises in bespoke tableware, with a client list that includes Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck and The Ledbury in London. He is also Senior Technician, Ceramics at Middlesex University.

"I mainly make items for restaurants and have worked with some high profile clients, from the famous Fat Duck fine dining restaurant to the large chain, Zizzi. I make in-house, whole ranges of items for many London restaurants including the Clove Club, who recently received their first Michelin star.

"Middlesex University, while investing in lots of the new fabrication processes involving advances in computer technology, has also kept hold of many of the traditional hand-making and machining processes. We have some fantastic workshop equipment available to students. Other colleges have chosen to go completely 'digital' but for me there's so much to learn through making and it is vital to have that opportunity."

Sam Wibberley
Technical Tutor and 3D Workshop Manager

Sam works across jewellery, furniture and fine art, always with an emphasis on the hand-made. His most recent pieces explore the language of time, incorporating wood, metal, ceramics and glass.

"I studied three-dimensional design – wood, metal, ceramics and glass. My most recent work concerns itself with the language of time. I am currently producing a series of timepieces questioning how time is read and represented.

"At Middlesex, having access to new technologies such as 3D printing alongside conventional workshop machinery makes for a highly exciting and versatile environment. We hope to step into the future with a firm grip on the past, embracing new technology but not losing traditional techniques. The most enjoyable part of my job is working alongside students, figuring out how to approach and solve problems both creatively and practically, enabling them to realise their ideas in full."

Rory Hooper
Small Metals and Jewellery Technician

Rory has been designing and making for most of his life. Specialising in one-off jewellery art works and objects, he has exhibited at the Silver Triennial in Hanau, Schmuck in Munich, Collect in London, the Tel Aviv Jewellery Biennale, SOFA New York, London's Marsden Woo gallery and Gallery Loupe in New Jersey.

"At Middlesex, we have the equipment needed to make anything you want to do, from traditional jewellery to high-end wearable technology, print making and digital printing, handmade and 3D printing. One of the great parts of our facilities are the technicians, who are all makers too.

"I love the different challenges that students bring with their ideas to make something new."

Jodie Ruffle
Programme Leader of Fashion Textiles and Design

Jodie studied BA (Hons) Fashion at Middlesex University, beginning her career with an internship at Jonathan Saunders before going on to work at Alexander McQueen and creating costumes for the National Youth Ballet, among many other career highlights.

"I work with second and third year students and being able to spend two years with them, teaching them new skills and seeing them develop as designers and young adults, is really rewarding. Knowing you are sending talented, mature and skilful students out into the world gives you a huge sense of pride in your work.

"We offer a huge range of facilities, from the traditional, like weaving looms, domestic knitting machines and screen printing, right up to the most cutting edge including laser cutting, digital embroidery and 3D printing – all supported by technicians with really advanced knowledge and experience. There is an incredible amount of specialised machinery and staff across the School of Art and Design and anyone from any course can utilise this, producing skilled and well-rounded students ready to enter the industry."

We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

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