Leeds Arts University launches the UK’s first creature design and worldbuilding master's degrees

28 April 2020

Leeds Arts University has launched six new taught postgraduate degrees for September 2020: MA Animation, MA Creature Design, MA Digital Fashion, MA Graphic Novel, MA Illustration and MA Worldbuilding.

Image: Spinosaurus by Rosemary Chalmers (c) The Artist 

The master’s degrees in creature design and worldbuilding are the first in the UK. MA Creature Design opens career opportunities in film, game and comic industries as well as work supporting scientific research, such as visualising prehistoric life or paleo reconstruction, evolution and life on other planets, known as speculative biology. MA Worldbuilding invites students to create richly-detailed cultural, historical and futuristic worlds for careers in the entertainment industry, production and research.

Rosemary Chalmers, concept artist and University course leader, created these complementary courses in response to industry demand for pre-production specialisms. She said: “Illustrators and concept artists are usually recruited to work in specific areas of pre- production whether that is visualising characters, creatures, architecture or environments. As technology enables the creation of increasingly complex and detailed worlds, so more in-depth knowledge and experience is required by employers. These courses are intended to fulfil that need.”

Dr Sarah Taylor, Head of Postgraduate Studies, said: “We are delighted to welcome students to our growing postgraduate community as we expand into new and exciting fields of study. As a specialist arts university our students have access to award-winning facilities and are encouraged and supported by a creative network of tutors, practitioners and researchers preparing them to build and sustain a career in their chosen specialism.”

MA Animation gives practitioners a year to create an animated film from start to finish with the support of a team of 2D and 3D animators, modelmakers, scriptwriters and visiting industry professionals. MA Digital Fashion students will embrace the digital future of fashion from new sustainable methods of design and fabrication to smart and wearable tech enabling them to take pioneering thinking and experience into industry careers.

MA Graphic Novel will support the creation of progressive and immersive graphic novels that explore social, political, cultural and ethical issues and develop the skills, knowledge and creativity that leads to publication. MA Illustration invites students to observe, question and respond to the world with a focus on ecological and ethical concerns, seeking out ideas, examining how these are communicated and expanding contemporary illustrative discourse.

The six new courses bring the total number of postgraduate study opportunities at the University to eleven. Established courses include MA Creative Practice, MA Curation Practices, MA Fine Art, MA Graphic Design and MA Photography. Postgraduate students are based at the University’s Blenheim Walk site and have access to a dedicated research and reference library and a new postgraduate study suite.