Audiences, Engagement, Participation PGDip

Year of entry

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Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
12 months full time
24 months part time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) or higher, in a relevant subject.
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component.
UK fees
£7,667 (Total)
International fees
£16,333 (Total)

Course overview

MA Audiences, Engagement, Participation

This course centers on challenging established notions of engagement and participation in the arts and culture to discover how to lead and manage a more audience-centred approach to arts management and cultural policy. You'll examine how policy makers, cultural organisations, and artists conceptualise the role of audience in contemporary cultures and economies on both a local and global scale. You’ll learn how to research arts audiences and evaluate visitor experiences. This will help you develop your professional practice as well as engage your intellectual curiosity.

The arts have enormous potential to effect positive change in society. However, participation data has uncovered a lack of diversity in the age, ethnicity, education level and socioeconomic background of audiences in the cultural sector, alongside a decline in overall levels of arts engagement. This sits alongside efforts to address accessibility and structural inequality for both audiences and the creative workforce.

This course allows you to respond and contribute to the highly topical debate surrounding strategies to increase engagement and participation, while pursuing your own interests and career ambitions. Through a combination of theoretical analysis and research, you’ll explore the possibility of creating a more genuinely participatory culture while developing your own skills in techniques and practices of engagement.

You’ll explore theoretical concepts such as co-creation and participatory governance, alongside investigation into community and participatory arts practice, the implications of digital engagement, and conceptual design of audience experiences. Through a wide variety of optional modules you can cultivate applied skills in a range of disciplines, such as digital storytelling, creative production and heritage management.

Additional highlights

You will also be able to engage with leading centres for research, policy, practice and debate based at the University of Leeds that are on the forefront of audience research and engagement such as the Centre for Cultural Value and the Cultural Institute.

Leeds has a thriving cultural scene and is home to large-scale events like Leeds International Film Festival, Light Night, and Transform Festival. Our local connections allow you to interact with a range of partners including Leeds Museums & Galleries, Opera North, Hyde Park Picture House, and many other local arts and community organisations.

Flexible study options

We offer part-time, MA and PGCert options for this course, allowing you to study in the way that best suits you.

Specialist facilities

Our School is based in stage@leeds, a purpose-built landmark building that sits at the heart of campus. As our student, you’ll have access to its two professional standard, publicly licensed theatres: the main space seats 180 and is equipped with the latest technologies, and the theatre studio provides a technically advanced performance research facility.

stage@leeds hosts a range of work by students and visiting theatre companies all year round. Within the building you’ll also find rehearsal rooms, two black-box studios, costume construction and wardrobe stores, a design studio, a scenic workshop, computer aided design facilities and video-editing and sound recording.

Take a tour of our School

Join current student, Eva, on a tour of our building and its specialist facilities to get a feel for life as a student in the School

In addition to stage@Leeds, Leeds University Library is one of the UK’s major academic research libraries, and has extensive holdings to support your studies including Special Collections offering a huge range of rare books, manuscripts and art. You’ll have access to materials relating to Red Ladder, Leeds Playhouse, Phoenix Dance Theatre, and more.

Course details

You’ll study compulsory modules in participation, audience engagement, and research perspectives which are designed to give you a solid base of theoretical knowledge and high level research skills.

You’ll also choose from a range of optional modules, giving you the ability to tailor your studies to suit your interests and career ambitions.

If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Audiences, Engagement, Participation PGDip Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Audiences, Engagement, Participation PGDip Part Time in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Audience, Engagement and Impact 30
Cultural Participation and Participatory Cultures 30

Learning and teaching

This course comprises a balanced mix of teaching and learning methods, including interactive lectures, small group seminars, small group tutorials, practical workshops, and case studies.

By the end of the course you should be able to demonstrate in-depth, specialist knowledge and understanding of techniques relevant to audience engagement and cultural participation. You will cultivate and apply a sophisticated understanding of concepts, information and techniques at the forefront of the disciplines.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


You’ll be assessed throughout the course through with a balanced mix of assessment modes which are likely to include the following: individual or small group presentations, written reports, academic essays and an extended individual research projects/theses.


Entry requirements

A bachelor undergraduate degree with a 2:1 (hons) or higher.

Applications from a wide range of subject areas are considered, including:

  • Business
  • Fine Art
  • Theatre
  • Politics
  • Sociology
  • Heritage Studies
  • Media
  • Journalism

Any social sciences or humanities degree subject is suitable for entry providing there is evidence of a passion for, and commitment to the course.

Applicants must demonstrate understanding of the course by responding to the five questions in the personal statement section of their online application. Applicants without a degree may also be considered, if they can demonstrate significant relevant industry experience.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component.. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Arts and Humanities (6 weeks) and Language for Social Science and Arts: Arts and Humanities (10 weeks).

We also offer online pre-sessionals alongside our on-campus pre-sessionals. Find out more about our six week online pre-sessional.

You can also study pre-sessionals for longer periods – read about our postgraduate pre-sessional English courses.

How to apply

Please see our How to Apply page for information about application deadlines

The ‘Apply’ link at the top of this page takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.

If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Documents and information you need

  • A copy of your degree certificate and transcripts, or partial transcripts if you're still studying (please submit an official English translation if necessary)

  • Evidence of your English language qualifications, if English is not your first language

  • A personal statement in response to the questions asked in the supporting statement section of the application form. Please respond to the questions in the application form.

  • A full up-to-date CV.

The Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures receives very large numbers of high-quality applications and regrets that it cannot make offers to all of its applicants. Some particularly popular schools may have to reject many that hold the necessary academic qualifications.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

School of Performance and Cultural Industries

Contact us

Postgraduate Admissions



UK: £7,667 (Total)

International: £16,333 (Total)

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Part-time fees
Fees for part-time courses are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

You may also be eligible to apply for a scholarship to help support your studies.

Career opportunities

This course will prepare you for employment in areas such as cultural policy, arts management, arts marketing, audience development, and arts education.

You’ll gain a variety of in-depth subject knowledge from this course, as well as valuable transferable skills such as project management, audience research, programme design and evaluation, as well as freelance consultancy. You’ll develop skills that support work in public policy, community development and visitor experience.

There is a wide variety of careers and employability support available across the University to help you with your career.

Graduates from similar courses have continued with their research and progressed to PhD study.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Student profile: Rheima Robinson

If you are an arts practitioner looking to learn more about your industry then this course would be suited to you.
Find out more about Rheima Robinson 's time at Leeds