The study of the history of art at Leeds has an international reputation for its innovative, rigorous, diverse and critically engaged approaches. Previously called MA History of Art, the name has been changed for 2018 to highlight the established strengths of this course with its emphasis on social and political approaches to art history.
At the cutting edge of the discipline, the MA in the Social History of Art builds on a unique legacy of dynamic and challenging scholarship, and continues to test the parameters of the discipline and shape wider debates in the field.
Around a shared commitment to understanding art as central to the production and reproduction of the social worlds we inhabit, our key research strengths lie in feminist, gender and Jewish studies, on questions of materialism and materiality, the postcolonial and the ‘non-Western’, as well as in provocations of those fields of art history considered more ‘established’, from Medieval and Renaissance up to the contemporary.
We combine an exceptional range of optional modules, core modules on methodology and advanced research skills, and self-directed research leading to a dissertation on a topic of your own choice.
The School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies offers a modern and well-equipped learning environment, complete with professionally laid out studios and versatile exhibition spaces in a beautiful listed building, fully redesigned and refurbished, at the heart of the University campus.
The University incorporates world-class library resources and collections, the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, Treasures of the Brotherton, the Museum of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, ULITA – an Archive of International Textiles and the [email protected] performance venue.
The world class Brotherton Library holds a wide variety of archive and early printed material in its Special Collections which are available for use in your independent research. Our other library resources are also excellent, and the University Library offers a comprehensive training programme to help you make the most of them.
Across both semesters, you’ll take core modules. These will enable you to develop practical skills for advanced-level research, and to engage critically with key debates in art history from the foundations of the discipline up to contemporary approaches.
Alongside this, you’ll work in depth on specialist topics, with choices from an array of optional modules covering a considerable chronological and geographic range with diverse critical and methodological approaches.
The development of your research skills and specialist knowledge will ultimately be focused in the writing of your dissertation – an independent and self-devised research project, which you will undertake with the guidance of your supervisor.
If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.
These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
We use a range of teaching methods including lectures, online learning, seminars and tutorials. However, independent study is crucial to the programme ― it allows you to prepare for classes and assessments, build on your skills and form your own ideas and research questions.
Our taught modules are generally assessed through essays, which you will submit at the end of the semester in which you take each module.
This programme will develop your visual, critical and cultural awareness and expand your subject knowledge in history of art. In addition, it will equip you with sophisticated research, analytical, critical and communication skills that will put you in a good position to succeed in a variety of careers.
Our graduates have pursued careers as curators and education staff in museums and galleries and worked for national heritage organisations, as well as in journalism, publishing, arts marketing, public relations, university administration and teaching. Others have transferred the skills they gained into fields like the insurance industry, independent style editing and freelance writing on fashion, arts and culture.
Many of our graduates have also continued with their research at PhD level and secured external funding to support them – including AHRC scholarships. A large proportion of our former research students are now developing academic careers in the UK, Europe, Asia, USA and Canada.
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 at the Careers website.
The MFA Fine Art course in Belfast was established in 1979. Since then, 320 emerging artists, 21 full-time staff (including six Course Directors) and over 200 visiting artists have exerted their individual and collective influence on the shape and direction of this program of study.
The course continues to produce artists of international reputation as evidenced by the success of graduates in major national and international prizes and competitions including the Turner Prize, Paul Hamlyn Award, Becks Futures, Bloomberg New Contemporaries, the Glenn Dimplex Award and the Nissan Art Award and through representation at international biennials such as the Venice Biennale. Public art, film production, gallery management, community arts, curation and arts administration are wider areas where graduates have been internationally successful. The course has also been immensely influential in the sphere of art education across Europe with a high number of academic, research, teaching and management positions being held by our MFA graduates.
The course retains the core values from its inception in 1979 and so builds upon 30 years of innovating and fostering relevancy, criticality and quality in today’s contemporary art world.
The programme aims to promote individual contemporary fine art practice towards presentation as an exhibition or equivalent public output. It provides a learning environment that supports a wide range of modes of production for art in which you can demonstrate a sound understanding of the practical, intellectual and creative aspects of your practice as an artist. It also aims to facilitate engagement between and among art practitioners in order that you can locate your practice and that of other art practitioners within contemporary culture.
A capacity for self-directed learning is a prerequisite for the programme. Fostering individual creative development is a key concern. Formal tutoring is based upon the expectation of self-motivated personal development and research. Re-evaluation through teaching, criticism and research is a fundamental aspect of the course.
Regular discussion based on studio work and issues around contemporary practice involves the whole course. Peer learning from studio work and informal discussion is also a valuable experience. Assessment is directed at the quality and significance of the output as contemporary art practice.
The programme is also offered in three part-time pathways. All of the part-time modes require the student to have their own studio space independent of the institution.
The 2010 Turner Prize was won by MFA graduate Susan Phillipsz (1994). Other nominated graduates include Phil Collins, Cathy Wilkes and Christine Borland. Graduates of the MFA have been substantially represented over the years in other high profile events and prizes, including the Venice Biennale, Becks Futures, The Nissan Art Award, New Contemporaries, The John Moores Prize and the Glenn Dimplex Award. Two graduates have been awarded the highly competitive Paul Hamlyn Award. Film production, art writing, gallery management and curation are allied areas where graduates have also been internationally successful.
The MFA programme is offered in full-time mode over 2 academic years. There is an exit qualification of Postgraduate Diploma after one academic year, with a further one academic year for MFA completion.
Formal teaching input is delivered through tutorials, weekly studio critiques and student or staff-led seminars and lectures. Independant study and self-directed learning are fundamental aspects of the course.
Assessment: Through exhibition of studio practice and supporting written and oral presentation.
The programme is also offered in 3 part time pathways. All of the part-time modes require the student to have their own studio space independent of the institution.
Part-time route 1:4 years part-time model of the 2 year course.
Part-time route 2: 3 years. This model allows a student to study the first year full-time with transfer to the part-time mode for the second year. It is envisaged that this route will be most appropriate to a student for whom the necessary infrastructure is not initially in place to allow them to undertake the course part-time. This may include candidates from abroad who by the second year have become familiar enough with the local setup to have acquired a studio and relevant support structure.
Part-time route 3:2 years. This model is based on candidates convincing the course team that the quality of their work over a number of years is of sufficient standard and that learning outcomes of the modules Practice 1 and 2 have been met to enable them to enter the course with compensation for prior learning.
Advanced standing is possible – where an applicants experience is taken into account in order to be exempt from certain aspects of the programme. This may apply to full or part time attendance. Please contact us to discuss this if it is something that may be appropriate to you.
On the programme you will gain work placement experience at one or more of our external partners, for example Catalyst Arts or Platform Arts. Within this process you will be tasked with developing a professional exhibition of your own work as a group within a partner organization. This usually is undertaken of several weeks – with an intense period working on-site alongside professional colleagues.
As practising artists, many of our graduates go on to establish their own studios, successfully exhibiting nationally and internationally, gaining public art and gallery commissions, residencies, fellowships, awards and prizes. Others develop careers in other sectors of the arts, such as curatorial practice, arts writer, art critic, community arts, education, academic art research, art facilitation and administration, while others have built reputations in the wider creative fields where innovative artists are highly valued as problem solvers.
Working from a strong theoretical basis, this programme will help you to understand a range of empirical, aesthetic and conceptual issues which traverse and exceed both 'art' and 'international' politics.
We will explore practices and issues related to public space, democracy, equality, participation, justice and affect. By shuttling across art and politics, rather than seeking to produce a synthesis between the two, we probe a range of practices and strategies which, in the encounter between art and politics, play out in numerous forms and very different kinds of social spaces.
You will work alongside a mixed constituency of students from Art, Politics, International Studies, Philosophy, Cultural Studies as well as numerous other disciplines, which means we can take up the challenge to develop frameworks and spaces that are mixed and mobile, and which can operate in trans-disciplinary settings. In such a mixed context, questions about ‘autonomy’ and the political character of art take on renewed vigour and urgency.
Similarly we are able to probe art’s potential in times of political and cultural crisis. Why for instance, do contemporary arts practices increasingly claim ‘political’ origins and motivations, while political parties seek the involvement of art and artists of all kinds? Or, what good are practices that are neither art nor politics?
You are required to undertake project-based work in accordance with your own political and aesthetic interests. The purpose of this project-work is to find ways of ‘doing’ politics which employ ‘artistic’ strategies and interventions in their realisation.
Projects have a student-centred material focus, complementing the theoretical emphasis of core and optional modules, and will seek to raise awareness of particular issues and draw attention to their position in the public arena. They may be written, broadcast, performed, curated, made, or involve any other kind of appropriately documented submission.
Training in digital and genetic media will be provided where necessary. Project training is monitored and co-ordinated by the artist-in-residence in the Department of Politics – who will oversee students’ individual needs while ensuring that there is continuity of support and opportunities to identify and build upon individual strengths and weaknesses.
Assessment consists of coursework, extended essays, reports, presentations, practice based projects or essays/logs, group projects, reflective essays, and seen and unseen written examinations.
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
Our graduates come from diverse disciplinary backgrounds and embark on highly contrasting career paths. These include careers in curating (both independent and embedded); art practice (both collaborative and individual); journalism (radio, web and print journalism); performing arts; central and local government; work with NGOs (national and international); research (academic and professional); project development, administration and management. Some of our graduates undertake further professional training in law; journalism; education and social work.
You'll develop: a critical engagement with the broad field of international studies, communication skills, research skills, presentation skills.
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.
Inventing Modern Art enables you to understand how painting, design and architecture took new forms and meanings in an age of radical social, scientific and technological change. Working with leading experts, you will learn to interpret these from theoretical as well as object-based approaches.
The programme offers a wide-ranging mix of taught and research components, and is taught by a team including the Academic Curator in Mackintosh studies and European Modernism, and experts in the Enlightenment, Whistler, Impressionism, the Vienna Secession, and dress history.
The 20-credit core course on 'Research Methods in Practice' is taken by all students in Semester 1, and provides an introduction to the key techniques and principles of advanced art-historical study and research. This provides a foundation for the programme's other components, which consist of:
Some courses are taught in Semester 1 and some in Semester 2 (not all are available each year):
One or more of your option courses may be chosen from those available in other College of Arts subjects, to create a distinctive interdisciplinary emphasis within your degree. The programme convener will give guidance on choices relevant to your personal goals and interests.
The programme provides a strong foundation for work in the museum, heritage, and education sectors, as well as in media, publishing, and arts administration. Its distinctive object-based study sessions and field trips introduce you to key professionals, whilst the placement option provides 'live' work experience - an essential first step in much arts employment. Our Art History Masters' graduates have secured curatorial posts at institutions including the Palace of Westminster, V&A Museum, Ironbridge Museum, and Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, as well as specialist positions with film and TV companies and auction houses. For those interested in an academic career, the dissertation component provides essential preparation for doctoral research.