Learning how to make new discoveries that will contribute to a better understanding of the historical and social significance of works of art, artefacts and other cultural products from classical antiquity to the present.
Art is an expression of the human spirit. The study of art deals with cultural, social, religious, political and aesthetic meaning in the time it was created, the present and the eras in between. Think of how the Greek mythology of Narcissus – who has been portrayed in countless sculptures and paintings over the ages – was used by Freud to name a psychological disorder and is today used by politicians to symbolise the flaws of modern society. And think of how the destruction of art, be it by Byzantine iconoclasts, sixteenth-century Dutch protestants, or present-day adherents of IS, teaches us that the emotional and political significance of art goes far beyond the loss of objects.
The research Master’s in Art and Visual Culture studies the relationship between art, the past and the present from various angles, including the interpretation of the cultural contexts of visual expressions and their transformations throughout the ages up to now. This programme is geared towards classical archaeologists, art historians and cultural scholars alike. You’ll gain insight into general humanities methods and theories as well as those specific for those three fields. You can then go to focus on your own topic in the field of Art-Historical, Cultural Studies and Archaeology.
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/arts-culture
The programme welcomes students with interest in all forms of art and visual culture. Our own research primarily focuses on Europe and ‘its worlds’, including how European artefacts interact with and differ from the rest of the world. Our research studies artefacts in the broadest sense, ranging from the more traditional forms as sculptures, paintings and architecture to modern ones as film, digital art, the performing arts and even fashion. All our research is performed in collaboration with scientists from other fields within the Institute for Historical, Literary and Cultural Studies (HLCS). We are joined in thirteen themed research groups .
- We teach you to look at the physical, artistic and visual qualities of an artwork or artefact, seen from the perspectives of three different disciplines: Classical Archaeology, Cultural Studies and Art History.
- In your first year, you take several courses with students from the other HLCS research Master’s specialisations in Historical Studies, and in Literary Studies. This unique construction will allow you to view your own field from the perspective of the other humanities.
- A personal tutor will guide you throughout the entire programme. He/she will give you advice on how to tailor our programme to best suit your interests, act as a sounding board for your research ideas, and help you make the right connections in the academic arena.
- You’ll receive thorough preparation for PhD research, including the writing of a publishable scholarly article and a proposal for a PhD project.
- This programme strongly encourages you to go abroad for at least a semester. Students can use our connections to other universities (IRUN network ) and research institutes to find a place that meet their academic interests.
Any research done by students of the Master’s in Art and Visual Culture will be supervised by a researcher at the Institute for Historical, Literary and Cultural Studies (HLCS) in Nijmegen. HLCS research focuses around the theme Europe and its Worlds and questions whether ‘Europe’ consists of different worlds, how it is addressed, how it differs from the rest of the world, and how it interacts with other worlds. Researchers from a variety of humanities disciplines collaborate in thirteen different thematic groups to explore the spaces, cultural practices, beliefs, texts and ideas related to Europe and its World.
Thematic research groups
There are art and cultural scientists in many of these thematic groups. Although all the groups could be of interest to an art and cultural researcher, our experience is that the following generate a lot of interest among the Art and Visual Culture students:
- Matter And Culture: Analysis, Discourse & Aesthetics of/in Material Culture
The common framework of this group is research into material culture as the bearer of meaning in the broadest sense.
- Creative Industries: Society, Culture and Aesthetics in the 21st century
This group aims to gain a socio-cultural understanding of the creative industries. The group views the creative industries as a dynamic sector of autonomous and applied arts that range from theatre, music, media, literature and museums; to gaming, film, fashion and television, as well as to design, arts education, heritage and festivals.
- Memory, Materiality and Meaning in the Age of Transnationalism
This group studies the material as well as immaterial media and forms of embodiment through which we create memory through meaning-making and performative practices.
Master’s thesis topics in Art and Visual Culture:
For their Master’s thesis research, students can work together with researchers from one of the HLCS research groups or choose a topic in a non-related area. A small sample of thesis topics that you could research in this programme:
- Understanding the Post-Pompeian Era: Wall painting in the Roman Empire (AD 79-395)
- Crime in a Nordic Space: The Production of Space in Forbrydelsen
- William Marlowe in his time: an eighteenth-century view painter rediscovered
- Unravelling the Fabrics of Time: A New Materialist Perspective on Slow Fashion Becomings
- A Pyramidal Structure along the Via Appia. Documentation and reconstruction
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/arts-culture
interdisciplinary opportunities we offer create an engaging professional experience investigating the practice and discourse of fine art. You can choose areas of specialism in drawing from the archive, art in space and place and curating art, alongside your own studio work.
Full-time students use our purpose-built studio space. You have access to a wide range of workshops and technical expertise from all areas of media and fabrication. These include • sculpture • painting • live art • drawing • computer programming • metalwork • video editing • dark rooms • sound studios • film production equipment • printmaking.
Our teaching staff are experts in fine art and art education who not only exhibit their work but also contribute to conferences, journals and publications at national and international levels.
Vibrant and supportive learning environment
The course offers a supportive community to foster your practice and your ambitions as a fine art professional. It is particularly suitable if you are • open-minded • ambitious • keen to experience new personal challenges that expand your creative development • interested in understanding all areas of the fine art discipline.
You are encouraged to create experimental and innovative works and to engage with the critical context of art in our time. Dialogue with peers, practicing artists and structured teaching throughout the course enables you to identify your practice within the wider field of fine art to achieve new goals, develop networks and find new inspirations to enrich your creative ambitions.
Excellent creative resources
We have a comprehensive range of technical resources and an excellent programme of high profile guest artists from across the visual arts spectrum to stimulate debates on issues of art and culture. If you are doing your work placement in another European country there may be funding available through the Erasmus programme.
Dynamic and creative art community
Fine art students work and exhibit in the heart of Sheffield's Cultural Industries Quarter. The course has links with • Sheffield Contemporary Arts Forum • studio groups such as S1 and Bloc • Yorkshire Art Space Society • the Showroom Cinema • Site Gallery.
Sheffield has a dynamic and vibrant creative community. We work collaboratively with artists and curators, as well as researchers and students in other areas. You have access to a network of public galleries, art organisations and artist-run spaces. Opportunities for exhibiting and publishing take place throughout the year.
MA and MFA study
MA and MFA students complete the same modules during the course except that MFA students complete an extra project module. The MFA project encourages you to develop professional skills that help you to identify, instigate, and deliver projects with external partners, such as communities, galleries or businesses. You find a project partner, agree a brief and then deliver the project to a professional standard.
This course is part of the Sheffield Institute of Arts (SIA), an amazing, diverse community of makers – where staff, students and partners work as equals to deliver real innovation and creativity. SIA opened in 1843 and is one of the UK's oldest Art and Design Schools. We have recently moved into the Head Post Office, a redesigned Grade II listed building. It includes state-of-the-art workshops which provide you with a unique studio-based learning environment in the heart of the creative community.
In this module you extend your knowledge of the range of approaches to research that have been used in art, and those that derive from other disciplines. You are introduced to an advanced range of contemporary critical theories, and examine key texts embodying these theories. Principles of research planning and the theory and practice of information searching ensure you are ready to effectively carry out your own research and critical practice.
During this studio-based module, you produce a body artwork in preparation for an exhibition. Your work may manifest itself across a range of contemporary art practices arising from individual intellectual and creative concerns. You have access to specialist workshop surgeries where you can seek individual support and advice to further your practical work.
On this module you produce a body of work in any chosen media form. It draws together strategies of research, professional practice and critical thinking to form an advanced, mature, informed and professional practice. The module holds together these key aspects to reflect, and enable transition into, the wider contemporary art world.
You select from options that are led by research active staff who will introduce you to their own professional interests including • art writing • curating art • art in space and place • drawing from the archive • gallery – public realm: making art inside and out
MFA core module – MFA students only
You reflect on and consider methodologies of fine art to develop an individual method of making.
Your work on this final MFA project involves public presentation of your work supported by a mentor who guides you as you make the leap into the professional world.
Self-negotiated models of examination enable students to present agreed bodies of work for self and peer group assessment as well as evaluation by tutors.
We provide a learning environment that supports your individual needs while developing your involvement in the wider art world.
You are regularly involved in a range of exhibition, curatorial, performance, screening and publishing projects at regional, national and international levels.
You gain confidence to exploit opportunities for practicing artists and work in associated fine art-related culture. You can also register for further study at MPhil/PhD level within our Art and Design Research Centre.
Graduate successes include
This Research Master's programme in Media, Art and Performance Studies is an interdisciplinary and internationally oriented research-based programme which offers an advanced training in academic research skills appropriate for today's highly dynamic and interdisciplinary field of media, visual arts and performance.
Contemporary media, art and performance increasingly play with and transcend disciplinary boundaries. Intermedial and performative practices both produce and critically investigate cultural transitions in today’s mediatized and performative culture. Such synergies invite to explore how emerging forms of media, art and performance – while historically and culturally embedded - interact with and relate to social and cultural transformations.
As a student of this programme, you will be introduced to and specialise in new research areas and methodologies, necessary for investigating emerging media, performance and contemporary art forms within today's rapidly changing culture. In relation to this you will also reflect on the role of the Humanities in both academic and public debates.
Central concerns in this programme are, amongst others:
We approach this broad field from a range of comparative and intermedial perspectives, focusing primarily on the dynamics of change and exchange between media, contemporary arts and performance within a culture and society in transition.
In this programme you will reflect on questions such as how media have developed from the time of early cinema up to current new media art; how the definition of 'live' has changed alongside these mediatised cultural forms. How has the performative turn changed the ways we think about audiences? How do media technologies facilitate new methods of self-staging and social performance? What is the influence of media and technology on way we curate and educate in museums and archives and other cultural institutions.
In this age of selfies, datafication, (self-) staging and re-staging, and playful learning, you will examine how various media, art forms, and performance have been used for critical analysis, civic engagement, entertainment and educational purposes. You will do this by asking how digital technologies, dramaturgical and artistic strategies alter ways of dealing with knowledge production and distribution, and how these transitions have contributed to and also ask for new methods of research.
How does the ubiquity of media technology change our understanding of the world and our sense of self within it, as well as how we communicate and act?
This programme will train you as a researcher within the field of Media, Contemporary Art and Performance Studies, to either prepare you for a PhD position, or for research-oriented positions in professional contexts of cultural institutions such as archives, museums, art institutions, theatres, for education, (non-)governmental organisations, or in creative industries.
After completing the programme:
The Research Master’s is aimed at excellent students from both the Netherlands and overseas, who have a background in the history and theory of contemporary art, or media and performance studies with a focus on theatre, dance, film, television, and/or digital media.
Alumni of the Media, Art and Performance Studies Research Master’s have been successful in obtaining PhD positions in various prestigious international programmes. Graduates also find their way to other job markets. For example in the domain of curation, dramaturgy, or media consultancy.
The History of Art MA at UCL draws on the world-leading research and teaching expertise within the department, and is designed to enable students to acquire specialised knowledge pertaining to the field of art history and to develop independent research skills.
Students develop skills for engaging with visual materials and gain historical knowledge, enabling them to interpret artefacts in relation to their social and cultural contexts. They are introduced to current methodological debates in the field and encouraged to define their own position through reasoned historical and theoretical arguments.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of a core module (30 credits), two optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).
Options may include the following:
All MA students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of approximately 13,000 words.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, as well as gallery and museum visits. Assessment is by two essays for each of the taught modules (six essays in all), the dissertation and a viva.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: History of Art MA
UCL's History of Art graduates have an excellent record of success in entering PhD programmes, careers in museums and galleries, the art trade, the heritage industry, art publishing, and art conservation. The unique combination of visual analysis and intellectual rigour offered by the MA has also proven valuable in diverse careers including journalism, publishing, and advertising. For those aspiring to an academic career, the MA is a requirement for a PhD, and many former MA students have successfully received funding for research degrees, and subsequently obtained academic positions, at prestigious institutions in the UK, North America, and elsewhere.
Recent career destinations for this degree
Our History of Art MA provides focused training in the history of art and its methodologies. It encourages students to develop original critical thinking on all aspects of visual culture, and promotes a serious engagement with historical and contemporary cultural debates. You will learn how to work collaboratively as well as independently to develop your skills in written and oral communications. The MA is an excellent starting point for a career in academia, curating, for working in the heritage industry, commercial art galleries, and other sectors of the cultural industries.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
UCL History of Art is one of the most dynamic centres for the study of art history and visual cultures in the world. It is one of the leading departments in the UK for research; and all staff are active researchers in a range of specialist fields. Our teaching and research move beyond traditional forms of art history to address visual and material cultures more broadly, and we are committed to a wide range of critical and historiographical enquiry.
The MA in History of Art is a challenging and versatile degree; you will study in a community of approximately 40 graduate students; at the same time you will work in smaller groups and in close contact with tutors in your special subject courses.
The department is located in Bloomsbury, close to the Warburg Institute, the British Library, and the British Museum. The National Gallery, Tate Galleries, and the Victoria and Albert Museum are also within easy reach. UCL's own Art Museum holds many rare and important works.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: History of Art
85% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
Our MA in Culture Industry will allow you to explore the interface between contemporary economics and culture, from the scale of a start-up or artwork to that of governmental policy, a city, or the global marketplace. It will also provide the approaches in critical and theoretical analysis that will enable you to conduct further academic research in areas ranging from art history to urban studies and critical theory.
Taking full advantage of the UK’s leading role in the creative industries, and London’s status as a world city, this course creates opportunities for you to:
This will give you first-hand experience of the fast moving creative economy, as well as giving you indispensable skills in understanding that economy from a cultural, philosophical and political standpoint.
Engage with the cultural sector
Within the accelerated climate of digital networks and globalisation, the forms and behaviour of culture are mutating, converting the workshop into the handheld device and the cinema and gallery into the bedroom. This course is aimed at creative practitioners, entrepreneurs and theorists wanting to experiment with these changes, and set them into a historically and discursively rich framework.
Through participant observation, critical theory, and playful experiment, the course will not just prepare you for a career in the cultural sector, but help you to engage with it imaginatively, critically and tactically.
Placements are student-led and supported by the research and organisational network of the course leaders. Students on the MA in Culture Industry have undertaken placements at the BBC, Stephen Graham Gallery, White Cube gallery, SHAPE Arts, Chinatown Oral History Project, Maximum Rock n Roll, the British Council, Black Dog Publishing, Resonance FM, Glasgow Biennale, London Architecture Week, Glastonbury Festival, London Film Festival, the British Museum, South Bank Centre, Grizedale Arts, the Japan Foundation, the London Anime and Gaming Con, and Sound and Music.
Our students’ projects are very diverse, and have included exhibitions, publications, websites, photographic projects, market stalls, travel guides, films, novels, app prototypes, ethnographies, and community resource projects.
Recommended option modules
You take option modules to the value of 30 credits. This could include:
Essays; project report and documentation/placement report and documentation; research lab participation.
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.