MA Creative and Cultural Leadership

Entry year
Course code
Creative and Cultural Industries
City Campus
One year
Full-time, starts January
Programme leader
Adrienne Noonan

This course is open for applications.

Page last updated 12 July 2022


Developed in collaboration with external partners, this distinctive interdisciplinary MA course combines business and leadership with the arts, creative and cultural industries. Learn by doing through a practical, practice-led approach, with an emphasis on equality, diversity and inclusivity.

Accreditations and partnerships:

MA Creative and Cultural Leadership is a flexible work-based course, designed for transformative emerging leaders and influencers committed to equity, diversity and inclusivity in the arts, heritage, cultural and creative industries. As a mid to senior creative, cultural or heritage professional, you'll develop your transformational leadership potential.

As you tackle complex business challenges, you'll become equipped to meet current sector demands. You'll learn new, authentic approaches to collaborative leadership development during rapidly changing times, with an emphasis on equality, diversity and inclusivity.

Why study Creative and Cultural Leadership?

Designed in collaboration with Bristol Business School and UWE Bristol's Creative Economy Unit, the course offers you interdisciplinary expertise in Creative and Cultural Industries and Business. You'll develop practical, work-based learning aimed to address sector gaps, such as leadership and management, business development and enterprise and entrepreneurship. This course offers a collaborative studio-led approach to leadership, where you can co-design the course around your aims and ambitions.

Increasingly, creative and cultural leadership takes place outside larger arts organisations, such as museums, galleries, libraries and archives, as well as smaller organisations. These include independent agencies, studios, production companies, performance groups, theatre companies, festivals and social enterprises.

Flexible delivery and inclusive design

This 12-month course combines online learning with in-person teaching blocks, so you can study around your work and other commitments. So if you're employed during your course, you'll more easily be able to book blocks of time from work.

The course is designed for learners across a range of disciplines, from business and management to arts and humanities. Usually applicants will have an undergraduate degree and growing leadership experience, but those with other qualifications or professional experience are also encouraged to apply.



You will study the following core modules:

Year one

  • Leadership and Enquiry (30 credits) -sets terms of engagements and principles of equity, diversity, inclusion, critical enquiry, research methods and reflection. Focus on cohort formation, building and developing relationships across teams, partnerships, and mentors.
  • Inclusive Leadership(30 credits) - explores and facilitates critical understanding of identity in the workplace, and self-leadership. Encourages self-reflection and reflexivity, and support you to understand the role these skills and attributes play in effectively leading others.
  • Creative Ecologies, Enterprise and Innovation (30 credits) - introduces the idea of analysing creative activity as a product of diverse ecologies of people, places, institutions, companies, and activities. Explore principles of enterprise and entrepreneurship, developing and apply enterprising behaviours.
  • Leading Transformation and Teams (30 credits) - is personalised, professional focus on the individual, complex teams, and transformational leadership, and encourages learners to reflect and consider the wider systems in which they operate and lead.
  • Major Project (60 credits) - involves the production of and reflection on a major piece of leadership work, which may be in collaboration with a partner institution, employer, or independently. The Major Project module runs like a spine throughout the course, so you can apply your learning as you progress through the course.

Optionality sits within the structure of the studio-style modules, affording learners flexibility to design and curate their programme of study, research, and delivery to suit their aims and ambitions.

UWE Bristol continually responds to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

You'll be taught online through our Blackboard virtual learning environment (VLE), so you can work at your own pace. You'll also be expected to undertake a substantial amount of independent study. Our external partners guide the course content and set live briefs, sandpits and "wicked problems" to support your learning.

You'll develop integrated leadership expertise and practical skills across a range of area, including:

  • business development strategy
  • coaching and mentoring
  • creative economy networks
  • enterprise
  • finance and fundraising
  • practice-into-policy
  • research methods
  • marketing/communication.

See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Study time

This flexible, full-time 12-month programme blends work-engaged, face-to-face and online learning based on trimesters. You'll study four in-person teaching blocks, each lasting three to fourdays, enabling you to study around other commitments.

Outside the teaching block intensives, you will have access to teaching staff three hours per week. There will be opportunities for office hours, peer-to-peer seminars, master classes and industry events (live and recorded).


Throughout this course, you'll be assessed on a mix of your portfolio work, presentations, group work, research and reflection, reports and cases studies. There are no exams.

Project-based outcomes include portfolios of work - which may include critical reflection, research, presentations, visual diaries, films, posters, data analysis and video essays, as well as more traditional forms of assessment such as essays, reports, literature reviews, and case studies.

The portfolio-based approach to assessment is designed to give you the most flexibility to create work most appropriate to your aims, ambitions and leadership practices.

See our full glossary of assessment terms.


Professional accreditation

Strong industry and interdisciplinary sector links

Explore opportunities for skills development, workforce diversity and building networks through applied learning. The course is co-delivered in collaboration with external partners such as Arnolfini, Watershed, Spike Island, BBC, Aardman, Channel 4, Bottleyard Studios, Bristol Culture, and independents. These connections will link you with some of the city's most influential creative and cultural organisations within these thriving sectors.

This course is accredited by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM).

Study facilities

Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.


Careers / Further study

As a successful graduate, you'll have the research and planning skills needed to undertake transformational leadership roles across a range of industries. You'll be highly analytical and strategic, with advanced communication skills. This will help you articulate and implement your knowledge of leadership in the creative and cultural sectors.

If you study the course alongside your current employment, the skills and qualification you gain will help you improve your performance in your current role. You'll also improve your employability, enhancing your future prospects too.
The innovative combination of practice and research in this MA means you'll be well equipped to pursue careers in both industry and academia. The critical skills you build on the course could act as an effective bridge to a DPhil or PhD.

Our award-winning careers service helps you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity plus support for entrepreneurial activity, and access to employer events.


Supplementary fee information

See our funding pages for more information.


Entry requirements

We are looking for highly motivated applicants with skills and experience in creative, cultural, arts and heritage sectors.

Usually applicants will have an undergraduate degree and growing leadership experience, but applicants with other qualifications or professional experience are also encouraged to apply.

International applicants

Please note, we are unable to sponsor Student Visas for this course.

Selection process

You may provide a concise portfolio of previous work and/or a CV that demonstrates your skills, interests and experiences that motivate and support your application to the course. 

All applicants are carefully reviewed and shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview. An online or telephone interview may be arranged.

How to apply

Read more about postgraduate applications

For further information