Matt Read graduate sitting a table smiling at the camera

Space to explore on our Architectural and Urban Design MA

Matt Reed graduated from our Architectural and Urban Design MA in 2023. He tells us about some of the his highlights at Brighton and how he is turning his major project into an exciting installation in 2024.

Why Architectural and Urban Design MA at Brighton?
I had been thinking about a career change for a while and Brighton had a course that really interested me which seemed like it could be an excellent extension to my previous studies – Fine Art intermediate at Kingston University (1993-96) and a Postgraduate Certificate in Glass & Architecture at Central St. Martins (2008-09) – and maybe offer up new work prospects.

I really enjoyed the course, and I highly recommend it, especially for someone looking to do something a bit more experimental within the field of architecture. At the time I started the course it was still during the pandemic, so a lot of the study was initially online. But things opened up gradually over time.

Support and space to explore
I actually took a year out in the middle of my studies. I did the part time route, which was two years, but I took a year out and ended up spreading it over three years. This worked well for me, as it allowed me to do paid work around the course. But, it also gave me thinking space and time to really absorb the material and to apply it to my own creative practice. The university staff were very flexible about this, which was great. The support provided was excellent and they were always happy to accommodate my needs.

As far as key people go, Sarah Stevens my course leader and personal tutor was instrumental to my success in the course. She really helped me to explore my own interests and helps me to develop my ideas and I’m very grateful for that and the confidence is has given me to take my ideas forward.

Turning a design project into reality
My main project focused on augmented reality and its use in the lived environment. I had no previous experience using this technology before beginning the course, and my project work opened this door for me, creating a new area of interest. It used AR and is a free-to-use public artwork that allows people to travel back in time using augmented reality technology via time portals.

Now that I finished the course, I am working to turn my design projects into reality. As I said I’ve got an installation starting in Bognor Regis in the Spring of 2024 which requires considerable planning and development. I am currently awaiting a decision on Arts Council funding.

Highlights of the course
The highlights of the course for me were winning an award for experimental design, and also having my writing published in an academic journal; both of which I am very proud of. I am also proud of being able to take my work on the course and turn into a live project that I’m hoping to launch in the spring of 2024.

I have learned a number of new skills on the course, but in particular my academic writing has really improved. The academic reading and writing was something I didn’t always find easy and really struggled with at times. I reached out to university and took advantage of extra help that was available which helped me to gain confidence in my writing ability. This has been a real accomplishment for me, and I even had a paper published in an academic journal whilst on the course.

Advice if you’re thinking of studying Architectural and Urban Design MA at Brighton
The advice I would give to someone who’s thinking of applying for the course is to just go for it. I came to the course as a mature student, which felt a little strange to begin with, but it’s really been a fantastic experience for me, and hopefully a career-changing one.

Overall, I had always wanted to prove to myself that I could complete my master’s, which I have now done, with distinction!

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