Suspended for September 2021 entry

This programme has been temporarily suspended for September 2021 entry. You will not be able to apply for this programme at this time.


We are committed to offering a high-quality experience to all our students. We are working to minimise the impact of Covid-19, but we have reluctantly decided that we will be unable to offer this programme for entry in 2021.


The MSc in Material Practice is an exciting one-year programme that takes an innovative, cross-disciplinary approach to understanding the qualities and potential of different physical materials.

Taking in glass, textiles, architectural materials and metals, you’ll be encouraged to explore new boundaries and experiment as you develop and expand your experience in both making and using materials in our state-of-the-art studios.

You’ll have access to an exceptional range of facilities, from our hot glass workshop, textiles print room and dye facilities, to metal workshops, casting spaces and spaces for digital fabrication, including rapid prototyping and CNC laser cutting.

The mix of spaces and resources, and the blending of traditional craftsmanship with cutting-edge technologies, will enable you to explore new boundaries as you develop your understanding of the potential of different materials and the impact they could have on your work.

Who should study Material Practice?

Whether you have a background in art, design or architecture, or your skills and experience are in technological-based disciplines, this programme will build on your existing expertise and expand your understanding of both material techniques and collaborative practice.

Programme format

You’ll spend Semester One on collaborations based in various workshops across Edinburgh College of Art. Taking in glass, textiles, metal, architectural materials and digital fabrication, these short projects will help develop your understanding of the individual qualities and behaviours of different materials.

In the second semester, you’ll work on two in-depth collaborative projects that are cross-disciplinary and cross-material in nature. Both will address a contemporary issue through the lens of material practice.

One of the projects typically focuses on The Circular Economy, with students reusing recycled materials such as dredged residue from Scottish Canals (2014/15) and ground glass, aluminium and sisal (2015/16).

There are talks and workshops by guests including Ian Lambert and Mark West, opportunities for collaboration with companies such as Martec Engineering, Ecoscreed and the East African Sisal Company, visits to industry events such as the Textiles Futures Forum, and the chance to participate in special, one-off projects (this year’s was a record-breaking attempt to build a 35m ice bridge in Finland).

The skills you’ll gain throughout the programme will lead you towards the development of a major research project tailored around your own aims and experience, with support and guidance from an appropriate tutor.

Last year, Charlie Patterson’s research project was to develop a technique for 3d printing bespoke garments using silicone. He subsequently developed the process for medical and sports performance/recovery applications, coming second place in the University of Edinburgh’s annual LaunchEd competition for entrepreneurial ideas. 

Top five reasons to choose the programme

  • You’ll draw on the expertise of leading practitioners, researchers and technicians from across ECA. Their guidance and support will prove invaluable as you explore and develop your skills in material practice.
  • You’ll explore both traditional and new materials, processes and technologies, and will develop innovative cross-material solutions to contemporary issues.
  • There are lots of opportunities for collaboration and you’ll learn with students from a range of backgrounds, from the creative arts to technical disciplines.
  • You’ll study in an environment rich in material research and practice, with excellent links to industry.
  • Based in Edinburgh, one of the world’s leading cultural cities, you’ll have the opportunity to take advantage of a vibrant arts scene, world-renowned festivals and leading galleries and museums. 


Prof Remo Pedreschi

Professor of Architectural Technology


Tel: +44 (0)131 650 2301

Facilities and resources

Edinburgh College of Art has well-equipped glass workshops for the blowing, cutting and casting of glass objects. The space includes hot and cold glass workshops and a plaster room.

Welding torches, a forge, forming and shaping tools, and a 1-ton gantry crane with access to main workshop areas.

The Textiles workshops are equipped for traditional flat-bed screenprinting, digital printing and fabric dyeing.

This large wood workshop hosts a huge range of machinery and hand tools for the cutting, shaping, and general fabrication of woods, as well as metals, plastics, and cardboard.

Scholarships and bursaries

Andrew Grant Postgraduate Scholarships

  • Deadline: 1 March 2021
  • Value: £10,000
  • Eligibility: Scholarships available for one academic year of postgraduate Masters study at Edinburgh College of Art.


Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions

Tel: +44 (0)131 650 4086