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Ben Stopher, Programme Director of Interactive and Visual Communication

In the second of our regular blog series New Course Discourse exploring LCC’s exciting new undergraduate and postgraduate courses, we speak to Programme Director of Interactive and Visual Communication and Course Leader for MA Interaction Design Communication Ben Stopher about MA Animation.

Ben, can you explain a little bit about why this new MA was created and how it is different from the BA (Hons) Animation?

The key difference between the BA and MA Animation is the critical content, that’s really the key difference for all our postgraduate courses. On MA Animation you’ll be making work that’s engaged with critical ideas, but you’ll also be exploring the effect of animations and the place of animation in broad culture and society in a way that you wouldn’t necessarily do on the undergraduate course in the same depth.

So is there less focus on making in this course?

No, absolutely not. This course is still about producing a portfolio of highly experimental animation work, and it’s about animation in the context of design and visual communication. We’re going to be looking at extending the practice of what people call animation. We’re interested in interactive context and coded animation as well as some of the more traditional tropes of animation. It’s a bit more experimental and a bit more critical. The projects are also longer range, so the students get a chance to experiment but also work on a longer term project.

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Still from ‘Bye Bye Dandelion’, Isabel Garrett, BA (Hons) Animation, 2014.

Do students get to work on any live briefs, or are projects all self-directed?

Yes, both! There are self-directed and live briefs and these would all be in negotiation with your tutor. Students would definitely work on a live brief in your first term, and then they would get to direct how they would take the latter part of the course. They might want to do something that is very self-directed, or they might want to do something that is client-led, it’s very open.

So who should apply to this course?

Students from animation courses definitely. But we’re also really interested in people who have moving image work from graphic and communication design, interactive media or filmmaking. If you’ve got any kind of moving image work in your portfolio, particularly from a design-centred course, we’re definitely interested in that. We’re interested in the intersection of design and moving image and animation.

What differentiates this course from other postgraduate animation courses on offer elsewhere?

It’s the relationship that animation has with design and visual communication is this course’s main selling point. This course is not established in the film school like it might be elsewhere, instead it will sit in a programme with Games Design and Interaction Design Communication. It’s this design-led and experimental part of the programme that’s unique, definitely unique in UAL and is unique in terms of other kinds of courses on offer in the UK.

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Swikriti Rai, BA (Hons) Animation, 2014.

In terms of facilities what does this course have to offer?

Because this is a brand new course we’ve created a brand new dedicated studio. It’s fully kitted out, and such a great space. Student’s will have access to a wide variety of advanced equipment as well as a green screen, rostrum camera and more. Another great resources this course will have is a whole new staff team, so it really is an exciting time for animation at LCC.

What qualities are you going to be looking for in applicants?

Intellectually curious for sure, on postgraduate that’s a really big one to flag up, and highly practice-led and experimental.

Where can this course lead its graduates?

They can work in animation and moving image across the design and film and creative industries. You might want to go and work on big-budget animation production, you might want to make motion graphics for TV, you might want to be involved in making marketing campaigns,  you might do site-specific installation stuff. This course is special because it looks at animation in the context of design, so LCC’s animators will be able to go into industry with absolute confidence in their own practice and it’s relationship to the world of design.

Find out more about MA Animation

 

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