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Masters Degrees (History Of Photography)

We have 115 Masters Degrees (History Of Photography)

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The MLitt in History of Photography offers a unique opportunity to study the history of photography as a specialised field of research. . Read more

The MLitt in History of Photography offers a unique opportunity to study the history of photography as a specialised field of research. 

Highlights

  • This innovative degree is inspired by the important role played by St Andrews in the early history of the most influential visual medium of the modern era.
  • Students are introduced to the theoretical and methodological challenges and debates that photography’s multiple functions and contexts have provoked since its invention.
  • Classes make full use of the outstanding photographic collections of the University Library and associated archives, such as that held by the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh.
  • Small class sizes prioritise discussion with peers and interaction with the tutor.

The MLitt degree requires two semesters of full-time (or four semesters part-time) coursework, normally equivalent to four modules. Each module has a minimum contact time of 16 hours. The modules are taught as small group discussion seminars, with an average size of four to eight students in each group. Additionally, there may be class trips where relevant to the taught modules.

The assessment for the taught modules is based on coursework including:

  • book reviews
  • critical bibliographies
  • visual analysis and object analysis essays
  • reading journals
  • research papers.

Further particulars regarding curriculum development.

Modules

The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2017–2018 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2018 entry.



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This MA provides a structured introduction to the postgraduate study of the history and philosophy of art. This programme allows you to spend your first term at our Canterbury campus with full access to its excellent facilities. Read more
This MA provides a structured introduction to the postgraduate study of the history and philosophy of art.

This programme allows you to spend your first term at our Canterbury campus with full access to its excellent facilities. For the spring term you relocate to our Paris centre to study in a historic corner of Montparnasse. This programme can also be studied in Paris only.

Particular focuses include contemporary art, photography, Renaissance art, medieval art, 18th-century British painting, 19th-century French painting, modernism, aesthetics and the philosophy of art and film. You may elect to take a Philosophy of Art & Aesthetics pathway, which draws on the expertise of our Aesthetics Research Group.

The programme is intended for graduates in art history, philosophy and cognate subjects, such as fine art. It gives you the opportunity to pursue your interest in visual art at advanced level, to develop a high level of expertise in topics in history and philosophy of art and to prepare for doctoral research in history of art or philosophy of art.

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/99/history-and-philosophy-of-art-paris

About the Department of History & Philosophy of Art

The History & Philosophy of Art Department provides opportunities for graduate study with well-established researchers in the fields of art history, philosophy of art and aesthetics. Staff research covers contemporary art and aesthetics, modernism, theories of art, the historiography of art and the Cold War; biographical monographs, the photograph (in its historical, contemporary and critical contexts), and the historical interplay of image, theory and institutions from the Renaissance to the present (especially European and North American).

Developing areas of interest include the cultural and historical significance of the print, and the role of performance and new media in contemporary art practices. In particular, postgraduates have the opportunity to participate in the activities of the multidisciplinary Aesthetics Research Centre and the Art History and Visual Cultures Research Centre. There is also a full programme of visiting speakers from across the constituent subject areas within the School of Arts, which includes Film and Drama.

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

HA838 - Key Concepts and Classic Texts in History and Philosophy of Art (30 credits)
HA841 - Modern Art in Paris (30 credits)
HA898 - History & Philosophy of Art Dissertation (60 credits)

Assessment

Assessment is by two assignments per module and the dissertation.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

- provide you with a focused programme of taught postgraduate study in history and philosophy of art

- provide you with a taught foundation for subsequent postgraduate research

- enable you to acquire or deepen your knowledge and understanding of the historical and contemporary topics within the history of art and philosophy of art

- enable you to develop your art historical and philosophical skills beyond that expected of an undergraduate

- enable you to develop, articulate and defend art historical and philosophical ideas as they relate to art

- enable you to engage with historical and contemporary theoretical thought about the arts from art historical and philosophical perspectives.

Study support

Postgraduate resources
There is a large and wide-ranging library holding for History & Philosophy of Art, covering the fields of painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, aesthetics and contemporary visual communications. There is a substantial stock of periodicals, online access to e-journals and a slide library with well over 100,000 images, covering areas such as contemporary art, visual cultures, garden history and the film still, as well as traditional media. Kent is ideally located for access to galleries in London and on the continent.

In 2010, we moved into the purpose-built, and RIBA award-winning, Jarman Building located at the centre of the Canterbury campus. The new building is home to the Studio 3 Gallery and a range of teaching and social spaces as well as a dedicated postgraduate centre.

Support
All postgraduate students are offered research skills training and the opportunity to take part in reading groups and research seminars at departmental, school and faculty level. Research students have the added opportunity for funded conference attendance. There is also a dedicated student support office at our Canterbury campus, which can offer support and guidance throughout your studies, in addition to an office in Paris.

In recent years, several members of the History & Philosophy of Art Department, both full-time and part-time, have been awarded University prizes for excellence in student support, curriculum innovation and research-based teaching – an ethos which we seek to extend to the postgraduate community.

Dynamic publishing culture
Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: British Journal of Aesthetics; Art History; History of Photography; Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism; Journal of Visual Arts Practice; and The Philosophical Quarterly.

Global Skills Award
All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme (http://www.kent.ac.uk/graduateschool/skills/programmes/gsa.html). The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability

Research areas

The Department has a collective interest in developing interdisciplinary projects, including projects informed by art history and philosophy of art or aesthetics. Shared areas of research interest include: photography, art theory from the Renaissance to recent times and contemporary art.

Careers

Arts postgraduates have gone on to work in a range of professions, from museum positions and teaching roles to marketing and gallery assistants. Our graduates have found work with Tate Britain, the V&A, Museum of Childhood and other arts, culture and heritage-related organisations.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

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This MA provides a structured introduction to the postgraduate study of the history and philosophy of art. Particular focuses include contemporary art, photography, Renaissance art, medieval art, 18th-century British painting, 19th-century French painting, modernism, aesthetics and the philosophy of art and film. Read more
This MA provides a structured introduction to the postgraduate study of the history and philosophy of art. Particular focuses include contemporary art, photography, Renaissance art, medieval art, 18th-century British painting, 19th-century French painting, modernism, aesthetics and the philosophy of art and film. You may elect to take a Philosophy of Art & Aesthetics strand.

The MA gives you the opportunity to pursue your interest in visual art at advanced level, to develop a high level of expertise in topics in history and philosophy of art, and to prepare for doctoral research in history of art or philosophy of art.

The programme is also available at split site between Canterbury and Paris.
https://www.kent.ac.uk/arts/study/postgraduate.html

About the Department of History & Philosophy of Art

The History & Philosophy of Art Department within the School of Arts, provides opportunities for graduate study with well-established researchers in the fields of art history, philosophy of art and aesthetics. Staff research covers contemporary art and aesthetics, modernism, theories of art, the historiography of art and the Cold War; biographical monographs, the photograph (in its historical, contemporary and critical contexts), and the historical interplay of image, theory and institutions from the Renaissance to the present (especially European and North American).

Developing areas of interest include the cultural and historical significance of the print, and the role of performance and new media in contemporary art practices, which draw upon our links with other subjects within the School of Arts and the Faculty of Humanities. In particular, postgraduates have the opportunity to participate in the activities of the multidisciplinary Aesthetics Research Centre and the Art History and Visual Cultures Research Centre. There is also a full programme of visiting speakers from across the constituent subject areas within the School of Arts, which includes Film and Drama.

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

HA898 - Philosophy of Art Dissertation (60 credits)
HA838 - Key Concepts and Classic Texts in History and Philosophy of Art (30 credits)

Assessment

Assessment is by coursework and the dissertation.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

- provide you with a focused programme of taught postgraduate study in history and philosophy of art

- provide you with a taught foundation for subsequent postgraduate research

- enable you to acquire or deepen your knowledge and understanding of the historical and contemporary topics within the history of art and philosophy of art

- enable you to develop your art historical and philosophical skills beyond that expected of an undergraduate

- enable you to develop, articulate and defend art historical and philosophical ideas as they relate to art

- enable you to engage with historical and contemporary theoretical thought about the arts from art historical and philosophical perspectives.

Study support

Postgraduate resources
There is a large and wide-ranging library holding for History & Philosophy of Art, covering the fields of painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, aesthetics and contemporary visual communications. There is a substantial stock of periodicals, online access to e-journals and a slide library with well over 100,000 images, covering areas such as contemporary art, visual cultures, garden history and the film still, as well as traditional media. Kent is ideally located for access to galleries in London and on the continent.

In 2010, we moved into the purpose-built, and RIBA award-winning, Jarman Building located at the centre of the Canterbury campus. The new building is home to the Studio 3 Gallery and a range of teaching and social spaces as well as a dedicated postgraduate centre.

Support
All postgraduate students are offered research skills training and the opportunity to take part in reading groups and research seminars at departmental, school and faculty level. Research students have the added opportunity for funded conference attendance. There is also a dedicated student support office at our Canterbury campus, which can offer support and guidance throughout your studies, in addition to an office in Paris.

In recent years, several members of the History & Philosophy of Art Department, both full-time and part-time, have been awarded University prizes for excellence in student support, curriculum innovation and research-based teaching – an ethos which we seek to extend to the postgraduate community.

Dynamic publishing culture
Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: British Journal of Aesthetics; Art History; History of Photography; Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism; Journal of Visual Arts Practice; and The Philosophical Quarterly.

Global Skills Award
All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme (http://www.kent.ac.uk/graduateschool/skills/programmes/gsa.html). The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.

Research areas

The Department has a collective interest in developing interdisciplinary projects, including projects informed by art history and philosophy of art or aesthetics. Shared areas of research interest include: photography, art theory from the Renaissance to recent times and contemporary art.

Careers

Arts postgraduates have gone on to work in a range of professions, from museum positions and teaching roles to marketing and gallery assistants. Our graduates have found work with Tate Britain, the V&A, Museum of Childhood and other arts, culture and heritage-related organisations.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

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The MA in History and Philosophy of Art (with a term in Rome) provides a structured introduction to postgraduate study of the history and philosophy of art. Read more

The MA in History and Philosophy of Art (with a term in Rome) provides a structured introduction to postgraduate study of the history and philosophy of art.

It includes a term in Rome where we run the MA with the American University of Rome. A range of themes and approaches are considered in this MA with a particular focus on medieval, Renaissance and Baroque art in Italy. The first term is taught in Canterbury.

During the term in Rome you will study the art of Rome first hand, visiting relevant sites and museums, with options to study the history of Rome and specific artists. Kent staff are present for part of the spring term in Rome to ensure continuity of academic guidance and pastoral support. The campus is located in the Monteverde district of Rome, a picturesque district with a wide range of shops and amenities. From nearby Trastevere, it is a short bus-ride to the historic centre of Rome with its astonishing range of Roman sites, monuments, churches and museums.

The programme is intended for graduates in art history and other arts subjects. It gives you the opportunity to pursue your interest in visual art at advanced level, to develop a high level of expertise in topics in history and philosophy of art and to prepare for doctoral research in history of art.

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/1694/history-of-art-rome

About the Department of History of Art

The History of Art Department within the School of Arts, provides opportunities for graduate study with well-established researchers in the fields of art history, philosophy of art and aesthetics. Staff research covers contemporary art and aesthetics, modernism, theories of art, the historiography of art and the Cold War; biographical monographs, the photograph (in its historical, contemporary and critical contexts), and the historical interplay of image, theory and institutions from the Renaissance to the present (especially European and North American).

Postgraduates have the opportunity to participate in the activities of the multidisciplinary Aesthetics Research Centre and the Art History and Visual Cultures Research Centre. There is also a full programme of visiting speakers from across the constituent subject areas within the School of Arts, which includes Film and Drama.

Course structure

You take one core module and one optional module during your first term in Canterbury and your second term in Rome. Over the course of these two terms you discuss with the course director your ideas and plans for your 15,000-word dissertation. The writing of the dissertation takes place in the summer with completion in August.

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

Term 1 (Canterbury):

Compulsory modules:

HA838 - Key Concepts and Classic Texts in History and Philosophy of Art

One option from:

HA826 - History and Theory of Curating

FI812 - Advanced Film Theory

FR872 - Theories of Art in Modern French Thought

HA826 - History and Theory of Curating

HA835 - A Matter of Taste: The Art and Aesthetics of Food and Drink

HA898 Dissertation

Term 2 (Rome):

Compulsory Module:

HA833 Discovering Rome in Rome: Arts in Rome from antiquity to the present day

One option from:

Optional modules in Rome are taken through the American University in Rome and change each year. Past options have included:

- Michelangelo in Rome

This seminar on Michelangelo examines the work of the Renaissance master; his sculpture, painting, architecture and literary production. His works are investigated within their specific historical context, focusing on issues of commission, iconography, censorship, biography, historiography and aesthetics. An excursion to Florence is also planned. Beyond a complete comprehension of Michelangelo’s work, the course aims toward a mastery of art historical research skills, the evaluation of current scholarship and independent critical thought on art.

Term 3: Dissertation

HA833 - Discovering Rome in Rome: Arts in Rome from Antiquity to the Present Da (30 credits)

HA838 - Key Concepts and Classic Texts in History and Philosophy of Art (30 credits)

HA898 - History & Philosophy of Art Dissertation (60 credits)

Assessment

Assessment is by two assignments per module and the dissertation.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

- provide you with a focused programme of taught postgraduate study in history and philosophy of art; enhanced through the opportunity to study for one term in Rome

- provide you with a taught foundation for subsequent postgraduate research

- enable you to acquire or deepen your knowledge and understanding of the historical and contemporary topics within the history of art and philosophy of art

- enable you to develop your art historical and philosophical skills beyond that expected of an undergraduate; especially through study abroad and site visits

- enable you to develop, articulate and defend art historical and philosophical ideas as they relate to art

- provide access to enhanced intercultural awareness and understanding through the opportunity to study for one term in Rome

- enable you to engage with historical and contemporary theoretical thought about the arts from art historical and philosophical perspectives

- provide opportunities for the development of personal, communication and research skills and other key skills appropriate for graduate employment both in industry and in the public sector.

Research areas

The Department has a collective interest in developing interdisciplinary projects, including projects informed by art history and philosophy of art or aesthetics. Shared areas of research interest include: photography, art theory from the Renaissance to recent times and contemporary art.

Careers

Arts postgraduates have gone on to work in a range of professions, from museum positions and teaching roles to marketing and gallery assistants. Our graduates have found work with Tate Britain, the V&A, Museum of Childhood and other arts, culture and heritage-related organisations.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/



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If you do not have the appropriate undergraduate preparation to embark on one of our MA courses, you may apply for our nine-month Graduate Diploma in Art History and Theory, which can constitute a qualifying year for the relevant MA course. Read more
If you do not have the appropriate undergraduate preparation to embark on one of our MA courses, you may apply for our nine-month Graduate Diploma in Art History and Theory, which can constitute a qualifying year for the relevant MA course.

Our Graduate Diploma consists of eight modules at 3rd-year undergraduate level (up to two of these can be at 2nd-year level). You must complete the appropriate coursework and examinations, and can also write a project on a topic of your choice if this is agreed with your course director.

At Essex, you have the freedom to study what most interests you. Some of the topics you may choose to explore include the history of photography; modern and contemporary art; curatorial practice and exhibition design; as well as more vernacular forms of visual culture, such as body art and activist placards.

Regardless of the topics you pursue, we are committed to research-based teaching, with a particular emphasis on bringing the approaches of art history into contact with other disciplines and discourses. In so doing, we seek to facilitate a critical engagement with artworks and forms of visual culture, both within and beyond the traditional canons of art history.

On campus, the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA), Europe’s largest collection of contemporary art from Latin American, will provide an invaluable resource for studying art and curatorial practice first-hand.

One of the major reasons for choosing Essex is the quality of the education you will receive. We are 6th in the UK for research excellence, with 89% of our work rated “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” (REF 2014). We also achieved an exceptional 95% student satisfaction in the 2016 National Student Survey.

Our expert staff

Essex Art History features a dynamic group of art historians who investigate the production and reception of images and built environments, across cultures and media from the early modern period to the present. Our staff are experts on topics as diverse as activist art, 19th-century medical photography, the art of Latin America, urbanism, exhibition design and body art.

We also have significant experience in curation and public engagement. Recent projects include:
-Dr Gavin Grindon curated a section of Banksy’s Dismaland show and co-curated the Disobedient Objects exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, which was one of the most well attended shows in the museum’s history.
-Dr Matt Lodder has acted as contributor for various television shows on body art and body modification, including the Today programme, the Jeremy Vine Show, Sky News, BBC Breakfast News, ‘Coast’, and National Geographic’s ‘Taboo’.
-Dr Natasha Ruiz Gómez co-organised a major conference on Collect, Exchange, Display: Artistic Practice and the Medical Museum at the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, London.

Specialist facilities

At Essex, you have the best of both worlds: on the one hand, you are part of a tight-knit, campus community with close ties to several small but excellent museums in the nearby town of Colchester; on the other hand, you can travel from campus to London in an hour, which puts the world’s best museums and galleries at your fingertips.

Our facilities enable you to gain curatorial experience and engage in object-based learning, a cornerstone of our approach when teaching the history of art and its modes of display:
-Our Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA) is the most comprehensive Latin American art research resource in the UK and has a state-of-the-art teaching and research space. Many of our students gain work and research experience through our collection
-Our onsite gallery Art Exchange runs an on-going programme of contemporary art exhibitions, talks and workshops by curators and artists, as well as exhibitions organised by our postgraduate curatorial students
-Enjoy regular visits to London galleries, including Tate Modern, Tate Britain, the National Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts, as well as many independent and alternative spaces
-Colchester’s iconic Firstsite gallery features an exciting programme of contemporary art exhibitions, film screenings and talks, and exhibitions organised by our students

Your future

The visual arts and culture industries have become an increasingly significant part of the national and international economy, and art history graduates leave Essex with the skills to take advantage of this growing opportunity.

Graduates from our programmes are ideally prepared for roles in the media, in advertising, in museums and galleries, in education (in schools, universities, and cultural institutions), as conservators, as auctioneers, dealers and antiques specialists, in charities, in publishing, as specialist arts lawyers, as PR agents, in fashion, or to run their own galleries.

Our recent graduates have gone on to work in a wide range of roles including:
-A member of the valuation team at Sotheby’s (New York)
-Head of Learning at firstsite (a contemporary arts centre in Colchester)
-Visual Merchandising Manager at John Lewis (Oxford Street, London)

We also offer research supervision for students who wish to continue their studies with a PhD or an MPhil. We cover the major areas of European art, architecture and visual culture from 1300 to the present, as well as the art and architecture of Latin America.

We work with our university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Example structure

Postgraduate study is the chance to take your education to the next level. The combination of compulsory and optional modules means our courses help you develop extensive knowledge in your chosen discipline, whilst providing plenty of freedom to pursue your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

Graduate Diploma - Art History and Theory
-Art & Ideas III (optional)
-Curatorial Project
-Art, the Law and the Market (optional)
-Contemporary Art: 1980 to the Present (optional)
-Dissertation - Final Year Art History and Theory (optional)
-Final Year Dissertation Project (optional)
-Inventing the Future: Early Contemporary 1945-1980 (optional)
-Photography in History (optional)
-Reworking the Past (optional)
-Study Trip Abroad (Final Year) (optional)
-Study Trip Abroad (Year 2) (optional)
-Art and Power (optional)
-The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction: Film, New Media, Software and the Internet (optional)
-Visualising Bodies (optional)
-Picturing the City I (optional)
-After Impressionism: European Art From Van Gogh to Klimt (optional)
-Becoming Modern: European Art From Futurism to Surrealism (optional)
-Art in Latin America (optional)
-Art and Ideas II: More Art, More Ideas - Critique and Historiography in the History of Art (optional)
-Collect, Curate, Display (optional)
-Picturing the City II (optional)

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Our MA Art History and Theory is ideal if you are interested in working in academia, the art world or any other field in which visual, written and analytical skills are essential. Read more
Our MA Art History and Theory is ideal if you are interested in working in academia, the art world or any other field in which visual, written and analytical skills are essential.

At Essex, you have the freedom to study what most interests you. Some of the topics you may choose to explore include Early Modern art and architecture; the history of photography; modern and contemporary art; curatorial practice and exhibition design; as well as more vernacular forms of visual culture, such as body art and activist placards.

Regardless of the topics you pursue, we are committed to research-based teaching, with a particular emphasis on bringing the approaches of art history into contact with other disciplines and discourses. In so doing, we seek to facilitate a critical engagement with artworks and forms of visual culture, both within and beyond the traditional canons of art history.

To supplement what you learn in the classroom, frequent staff-led visits to London museums and galleries will expose you to the some of the world’s best museums and galleries, and you will be strongly encouraged to apply for a placement in order to gain experience in the museum and gallery world. On campus, the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA), Europe’s largest collection of contemporary art from Latin American, will provide an invaluable resource for studying art and curatorial practice first-hand.

One of the major reasons for choosing Essex is the quality of the education you will receive. Our Art History programme is 6th in the UK for research excellence, with 89% of our work rated “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” (REF 2014). We also achieved an exceptional 95% student satisfaction in the 2016 National Student Survey.

This course is available on either a full-time or part-time basis.

Our expert staff

Essex Art History features a dynamic group of art historians who investigate the production and reception of images and built environments, across cultures and media from the early modern period to the present. Our staff are experts on topics as diverse as activist art, 19th-century medical photography, the art of Latin America, urbanism, exhibition design and body art.

We also have significant experience in curation and public engagement. Recent projects include:
-Dr Gavin Grindon curated a section of Banksy’s Dismaland show and co-curated the Disobedient Objects exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, which was one of the most well attended shows in the museum’s history.
-Dr Matt Lodder has acted as contributor for various television shows on body art and body modification, including the Today programme, the Jeremy Vine Show, Sky News, BBC Breakfast News, ‘Coast’, and National Geographic’s ‘Taboo’.
-Dr Natasha Ruiz Gómez co-organised a major conference on Collect, Exchange, Display: Artistic Practice and the Medical Museum at the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, London.

Specialist facilities

At Essex, you have the best of both worlds: on the one hand, you are part of a tight-knit, campus community with close ties to several small but excellent museums in the nearby town of Colchester; on the other hand, you can travel from campus to London in an hour, which puts the world’s best museums and galleries at your fingertips.

Our facilities enable you to gain curatorial experience and engage in object-based learning, a cornerstone of our approach when teaching the history of art and its modes of display:
-Our Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA) is the most comprehensive Latin American art research resource in the UK and has a state-of-the-art teaching and research space. Many of our students gain work and research experience through our collection
-Our onsite gallery Art Exchange runs an on-going programme of contemporary art exhibitions, talks and workshops by curators and artists, as well as exhibitions organised by our postgraduate curatorial students
-Colchester’s iconic Firstsite gallery features an exciting programme of contemporary art exhibitions, film screenings and talks, and exhibitions organised by our students

Your future

The visual arts and culture industries have become an increasingly significant part of the national and international economy, and art history graduates leave Essex with the skills to take advantage of this growing opportunity.

Graduates from our programmes are ideally prepared for roles in the media, in advertising, in museums and galleries, in education (in schools, universities, and cultural institutions), as conservators, as auctioneers, dealers and antiques specialists, in charities, in publishing, as specialist arts lawyers, as PR agents, in fashion, or to run their own galleries.

Our recent graduates have gone on to work in a wide range of roles including:
-A member of the valuation team at Sotheby’s (New York)
-Head of Learning at firstsite (a contemporary arts centre in Colchester)
-Visual Merchandising Manager at John Lewis (Oxford Street, London)

We also offer research supervision for students who wish to continue their studies with a PhD or an MPhil. We cover the major areas of European art, architecture and visual culture from 1300 to the present, as well as the art and architecture of Latin America.

We work with our university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Example Structure

Postgraduate study is the chance to take your education to the next level. The combination of compulsory and optional modules means our courses help you develop extensive knowledge in your chosen discipline, whilst providing plenty of freedom to pursue your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

Art History and Theory - MA
-Dissertation - MA Schemes
-Researching Art History
-Art, Science, Knowledge (optional)
-Collecting Art From Latin America (optional)
-Critique and Curating (optional)
-Curating Inside Out (optional)
-Exhibition (Joint Project) (optional)
-Current Research in Art History (optional)
-Topics in Art History (optional)
-Art & Politics (optional)
-Art, Architecture and Urbanism (optional)

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History of art is a rich and dynamic discipline, combining the rigorous investigation of the visual arts with the creative exploration of their connections to culture, politics and society. Read more
History of art is a rich and dynamic discipline, combining the rigorous investigation of the visual arts with the creative exploration of their connections to culture, politics and society. Postgraduate study in this area trains you at a high level in looking at, thinking about and researching art and its histories.

Birkbeck's MA History of Art offers the opportunity to study with internationally recognised experts. Our teaching staff are defining the field, conducting ground-breaking research in periods from medieval to contemporary, focusing on painting, sculpture, print culture, architecture, photography, digital art and museology.

The MA History of Art exposes you to key art historical approaches, and allows you to focus in depth on areas and periods of particular interest to you, in early and modern (including contemporary) periods, through taught options (see an indicative list of modules on the 'course structure' tab) and independent research. The course also offers opportunities for work placements with London museums, galleries and archives.

The course develops your visual acuity and your understanding of art's histories, while stimulating critical debate and stretching your research skills. In addition to independent written work, you will take part in group discussion, give oral presentations and engage with the Department of History of Art's research culture.

In all of this, you will work closely with our staff while also benefiting from our diverse and vibrant student body of all ages and backgrounds. The teaching programme is enriched by museum and site visits, visiting speakers, screenings and opportunities to get involved as volunteers in research and community outreach activities. The department also offers an exciting study trip every spring.

Students are encouraged to become involved in the lively research culture of the department through the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre, the Architecture, Space and Society Centre and the Vasari Research Centre, which has pioneered the field of digital art history. In addition to the core teaching and individual research support, students benefit from many events in the Department of History of Art at Birkbeck, including: the postgraduate Research Seminar, which brings art historians from all over the UK and beyond to speak at Birkbeck; the biennial Murray Lecture; the Murray Seminar on Medieval and Renaissance Art; and the programme of exhibitions and displays at the Peltz Gallery, the School of Arts' purpose-built exhibition space. Students are also welcome to attend other seminars and events across the School of Arts and at the Birkbeck Institute for Humanities.

We offer taster events and information evenings for prospective students interested in our history of art programmes throughout the year.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
You will work closely with leading international experts in the history of art.
You can choose to specialise in a wide range of periods and geographies, from medieval European architecture and cityscapes to contemporary global art practices.
You can study flexibly, full-time or part-time, with all teaching in the evenings.
On class visits and in your independent research you will have access to London's world-class art collections, museums and libraries.
Your fellow students are from a wide range of backgrounds and are often already working in the field, offering a high level of discussion and excellent networking opportunities.
You will have access to the Birkbeck Library and an in-house resources centre. In addition, our location in Bloomsbury offers excellent access to specialist libraries in the University of London. These include the University of London Library, Institute of Historical Research, Warburg Institute and School of Oriental and African Studies, together with the major national resource of the British Library.
You will also have easy access to specialist art libraries not far from Birkbeck, including the library of the Courtauld Institute of Art, the Royal Institute of British Architects library and the National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), as well as the great visual resources of the British Museum, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain, Tate Modern and V&A, commercial galleries and salesrooms. Temporary exhibition galleries like the Barbican Gallery, Institute of Contemporary Arts, Hayward Gallery and Royal Academy also make London a particularly good place in which to undertake research.
You can participate in the rich research culture of the Department of History of Art.
Keep up-to-date with our research on the Birkbeck History of Art blog.

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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. Read more

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.

About this degree

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).

Core modules

  • Methods, Debates and Sources in History of Art

Optional modules

Options may include the following:

  • Human and Non-Human in Medieval Art
  • Transformations of the Body in Early Modern Cabinets of Display
  • Vision, Tourism, Imperialism: Art and Travel in the British Empire, 1760-1870
  • American Media: Publicity and the Logics of Surveillance
  • Politics of the Image: Germany 1890-1945
  • Art as Theory: The Writing of Art
  • Art and Technology in Nineteenth-Century France
  • Photographic Cultures: Photography's Publics and the Production of Politics
  • On Sex and Violence
  • Race/Place: Exotic/Erotic
  • Tracing the Body: Technologies of Representation in 18th and 19th-Century France
  • Seeing Through Materials: Matter, Vision, and Transformation in the Renaissance

Dissertation/report

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

Careers

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

  • Assistant Curator, Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Gallery Co-Ordinator, Frith Street Gallery
  • PhD in History of Art, The Courtauld Institute of Art
  • Museum Intern, Peggy Guggenheim Collection
  • Exhibitions Assistant, Whitechapel Gallery

Employability

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.

Why study this degree at UCL?

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.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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.



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Photography has become the major form of image-making and visual communication since its development in the nineteenth century. Its importance has been recognised in many areas of scholarship. Read more
Photography has become the major form of image-making and visual communication since its development in the nineteenth century. Its importance has been recognised in many areas of scholarship: history of art, media and cultural studies, literature, memory and memorialisation, gender and identity, philosophy and law. Its role in all fields of the arts and sciences, including those most personal, is being expanded, renewed and questioned by the mushrooming of digital culture.

This programme enables you to learn about - and to negotiate your individual path through - historical and contemporary photographic cultures, in order to develop your interests, whether your engagement with the medium is academic, artistic, personal or vocational.

After an initial introductory core module, and with tutorial guidance, the programme allows you to specialise through your selection of option modules and topics for your research project and dissertation. Options cover a wide range of photographic practices and cultures, past and present, and allow you to explore diverse methodologies and internationally 'local' practices. The course also offers opportunities for work placements with London museums, galleries and archives.

You will develop subject-specific and transferable research, critical and writing skills that will enhance your career opportunities in the field and beyond, whether in academia or teaching, photography as a practice, galleries and museums, or in the media. The programme is also ideally suited to preparing students with a practice-based background considering a PhD, academic or practice-based.

We offer taster events and information evenings for prospective students interested in our history of art programmes throughout the year.

As well as regular museum and gallery visits, the department offers an exciting study trip every spring.

Students are encouraged to become involved in the lively research culture of the department through the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre, the Architecture, Space and Society Centre and the Vasari Research Centre, which has pioneered the field of digital art history. In addition to the core teaching and individual research support, students benefit from many events in the department of History of Art at Birkbeck, including: the postgraduate Research Seminar, which brings art historians from all over the UK and beyond to speak at Birkbeck; the biennial Murray lecture; the Murray Seminar on Medieval and Renaissance Art; and the programme of exhibitions and displays at the Peltz Gallery, the School of Arts' purpose-built exhibition space. Students are also welcome to attend other seminars and events across the School of Arts and at the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.

Staff teaching on this programme

Dr Patrizia Di Bello (Course Director)
Dr Suzannah Biernoff
Dr Fiona Candlin
Professor Annie E Coombes
Professor Mark Crinson
Professor Steve Edwards
Dr Tag Gronberg
Dr Akane Kawakami
Dr Gabriel Koureas
Dr Luciana Martins
Professor Lynda Nead
Dr Leslie Topp

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
Unique international coverage of photographic cultures, making use of modules offered across the School of Arts.
Taught by renowned research-active academics and writers from a variety of disciplines, including history of art, media and cultural studies, journalism, modern languages and the humanities.
Cross- and interdisciplinary approach to the study of photography in the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Research culture and networking opportunities offered by the Birkbeck History and Theory of Photography Research Centre.
You will have access to the Birkbeck Library and an in-house slide library and self-access centre (including the Vasari Digital Media Research Centre).
You will also have access to the Jo Spence Memorial Library and Terry Dennett Archive.
There are opportunities for you to become involved in curating and organising exhibitions in the Peltz Gallery in the School of Arts.
Our location in Bloomsbury offers excellent access to specialist libraries and archives in the University of London. These include the University of London Library, Institute of Historical Research, Warburg Institute and School of Oriental and African Studies, together with the major national resource of the British Library.
Exclusive visits to photographic archives, and group visits to exhibitions, talks and events.
You will also have easy access to specialist libraries and photographic archives, including the Courtauld Institute of Art, the National Art Library and the photographic collection in the Prints and Drawings Study Room at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Museum of London, the National Portrait Gallery (Heinz Archives), the Photographers’ Gallery and the Tate Gallery. We are also near many commercial galleries, photography book specialist dealers and exhibition spaces such as the Barbican, Institute of Contemporary Arts, Hayward Gallery, INIVA and the many other places that exhibit photographs from time to time.

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The Photography Arts MA offers a dynamic mix of photography practice and research to support your development as an artist. In an open-minded educational environment you will expand the boundaries of your photography, advancing your own distinct visual and conceptual approach. Read more

The Photography Arts MA offers a dynamic mix of photography practice and research to support your development as an artist. In an open-minded educational environment you will expand the boundaries of your photography, advancing your own distinct visual and conceptual approach. Students are fully supported by our internationally renowned photography staff and inspired by an exciting range of prominent visiting photographic artists and thinkers. 

Situated in Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design, you will have access to extensive photographic facilities and a wealth of inter-disciplinary expertise. You will be part of a world-famous centre for photography research. 

The Photography Arts MA is a recently revalidated course, which builds on the former Photographic Studies MA (1996-2016). The course champions a long, proud tradition of cutting-edge photography pioneered at the University.

The course has an open definition of photography, encompassing a wide range of approaches and forms. We encourage free experimentation in the development of ideas. You will advance your practical work choosing new or traditional techniques, digital or analogue forms, in work that may extend beyond the traditional boundaries of wall, page or screen into other modes including moving image, installation and performance.

The research components of the course are tailored for the needs of the contemporary artist photographer, and allow you to focus on the lines of inquiry that will be most productive for your own development. Your progress through the course will be supported with one-to-one tutorials with a personal tutor.

This is the right course if you are highly motivated and excited to develop your independent practice alongside critical research within a rapidly changing field. Working with our experienced staff and a group of peers drawn from all over the world, you can discover your own future working with the most contemporary approaches to photography.  

The course is structured to develop your practice, informed by research. Throughout the course, students make work with great attention to how it will be presented in a range of modes including exhibition, book and/or screen. The practice modules provide a framework for developing and testing new approaches and establish a foundation for your future independent work. Students write three short research essays during the course, each aimed at broadening knowledge of photography, contemporary art and related histories, theories and criticism. Content for these assignments is led by the student’s own research interests. The course is unusually flexible in that a dissertation is not required, but can form an optional part of the final master’s project.

The course enables students to become independent practitioners, generating up-to-date, informed work. You will be empowered with visual, critical and practical skills that culminate in the Masters Project, exhibited in a central London degree show at the end of the course. 

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course.

Core modules

Option modules

Option modules from Documentary Photography and Photojournalism MA

Career path

An MA in Photography Arts is an unusually versatile qualification that prepares you to be an artist/photographer working at the highest level of ambitious contemporary art, and also gives you a range of transferable skills vital to twenty-first century creative industries.

Graduates of the course work as independent artist/photographers and also as writers, educators, critics, publishers, curators, gallerists, picture editors and researchers. A number of graduates go on to pursue their research at doctoral level.

Alumni from the course (under the former title Photographic Studies MA) now work all over the world in a range of careers requiring creativity, research skills and critical analysis of visual images



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History of art is a rich and dynamic discipline, combining the rigorous investigation of the visual arts with the creative exploration of their connections to culture, politics and society. Read more
History of art is a rich and dynamic discipline, combining the rigorous investigation of the visual arts with the creative exploration of their connections to culture, politics and society. Postgraduate study in this area trains you at a high level in looking at, thinking about and researching art and its histories.

Birkbeck's MA History of Art offers the opportunity to study with internationally recognised experts. Our teaching staff are defining the field, conducting ground-breaking research in periods from medieval to contemporary, focusing on painting, sculpture, print culture, architecture, photography, digital art and museology.

The MA History of Art exposes you to key art historical approaches, and allows you to focus in depth on areas and periods of particular interest to you, in early and modern (including contemporary) periods, through taught options (see an indicative list of modules on the 'course structure' tab) and independent research. The course also offers opportunities for work placements with London museums, galleries and archives.

The course develops your visual acuity and your understanding of art's histories, while stimulating critical debate and stretching your research skills. In addition to independent written work, you will take part in group discussion, give oral presentations and engage with the Department of History of Art's research culture.

In all of this, you will work closely with our staff while also benefiting from our diverse and vibrant student body of all ages and backgrounds. The teaching programme is enriched by museum and site visits, visiting speakers, screenings and opportunities to get involved as volunteers in research and community outreach activities. The department also offers an exciting study trip every spring.

Students are encouraged to become involved in the lively research culture of the department through the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre, the Architecture, Space and Society Centre and the Vasari Research Centre, which has pioneered the field of digital art history. In addition to the core teaching and individual research support, students benefit from many events in the Department of History of Art at Birkbeck, including: the postgraduate Research Seminar, which brings art historians from all over the UK and beyond to speak at Birkbeck; the biennial Murray Lecture; the Murray Seminar on Medieval and Renaissance Art; and the programme of exhibitions and displays at the Peltz Gallery, the School of Arts' purpose-built exhibition space. Students are also welcome to attend other seminars and events across the School of Arts and at the Birkbeck Institute for Humanities.

We offer taster events and information evenings for prospective students interested in our history of art programmes throughout the year.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
You will work closely with leading international experts in the history of art.
You can choose to specialise in a wide range of periods and geographies, from medieval European architecture and cityscapes to contemporary global art practices.
You can study flexibly, full-time or part-time, with all teaching in the evenings.
On class visits and in your independent research you will have access to London's world-class art collections, museums and libraries.
Your fellow students are from a wide range of backgrounds and are often already working in the field, offering a high level of discussion and excellent networking opportunities.
You will have access to the Birkbeck Library and an in-house resources centre. In addition, our location in Bloomsbury offers excellent access to specialist libraries in the University of London. These include the University of London Library, Institute of Historical Research, Warburg Institute and School of Oriental and African Studies, together with the major national resource of the British Library.
You will also have easy access to specialist art libraries not far from Birkbeck, including the library of the Courtauld Institute of Art, the Royal Institute of British Architects library and the National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), as well as the great visual resources of the British Museum, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain, Tate Modern and V&A, commercial galleries and salesrooms. Temporary exhibition galleries like the Barbican Gallery, Institute of Contemporary Arts, Hayward Gallery and Royal Academy also make London a particularly good place in which to undertake research.
You can participate in the rich research culture of the Department of History of Art.
Keep up-to-date with our research on the Birkbeck History of Art blog.

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The MA in Visual Arts and Culture at Durham is a distinctive interdisciplinary programme that invites students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the visual arts and of visual culture. Read more

The MA in Visual Arts and Culture at Durham is a distinctive interdisciplinary programme that invites students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the visual arts and of visual culture. To study visual arts and culture is a way of paying attention to phenomena that are literally everywhere. The concept of ‘visual culture’ acknowledges the pervasive nature of visual phenomena, and signals openness towards both the breadth of objects and images, and the range of theoretical and methodological perspectives needed to understand them adequately. Drawing upon research strengths across the departments that contribute to the programme, the MA in Visual Arts and Culture encourages you to take a broad view of geographical and chronological scope, while allowing you to engage with a wide range of visual phenomena, including fine art, film, photography, architecture, and scientific and medical imaging practices.

The importance of critical visual literacy in the contemporary world cannot be exaggerated. ‘The illiterate of the future’, wrote the Bauhaus artist and theoretician László Moholy-Nagy, ‘will be the person ignorant of the camera as well as of the pen’. This observation was made in the 1920s, when photography was first used in the periodical press and in political propaganda. The rich visual world of the early twentieth century pales in comparison with the visual saturation that now characterises everyday experience throughout the developed societies and much of the developing world. But the study of visual culture is by no means limited to the twentieth century. Turning our attention to past cultures with a particular eye to the significance of visual objects of all kinds yields new forms of knowledge and understanding.

Our programme facilitates the development of critical visual literacy in three main ways. First, it attends to the specificity of visual objects, images and events, encouraging you to develop approaches that are sensitive to the individual works they encounter. Second, it investigates the nature of perception, asking how it is that we make meaning out of that which we see. Finally, it investigates how our relationships with other people, and with things, are bound up in the act of looking.

Course structure

The course consists of one core module, two optional modules and a dissertation. The core module sets out the intellectual framework for the programme, offering a broad overview of key conceptual debates in the field of Visual Culture, together with training in analysis of visual objects of different kinds, an advanced introduction to understanding museum practice, and key research skills in visual arts and culture. The optional modules provide further specialised areas of study in related topics of interest to individual students, and the 12,000-15,000 word dissertation involves detailed study of a particular aspect of a topic related to the broad area of visual culture.

Optional modules

Previously, optional modules have included:

  • Critical Curatorship
  • History, Knowledge and Visual Culture
  • Representing Otherness
  • Negotiating the Human
  • Digital Imaging
  • Cultural Heritage, Communities and Identities
  • Current Issues in Aesthetics and Theory of Art
  • Ethics of Cultural Heritage
  • Monumental architecture of the Roman Empire in the Antonine and Severan periods
  • Art in Ecological Perspective
  • Texts and Cultures I: Visual and Verbal Cultures (Early Modern)
  • Energy, Society and Energy Practices
  • German Reading Skills for Research
  • French Reading Skills for Research

The Centre for Visual Arts and Culture (CVAC) brings together scholars from across and beyond Durham University in order to provide a dynamic setting for wide-ranging interdisciplinary research and debates about visual culture, a field that entails the study of vision and perception, the analysis of the social significance of images and ways of seeing, and the attentive interpretation of a range of visual objects, from artworks to scientific images. 

Centre for Visual Arts and Culture

The Centre brings together scholars from across and beyond Durham University in order to provide a vibrant and dynamic setting for wide-ranging interdisciplinary research and debates about visual culture. The Centre provides a focus for cutting-edge research on visual arts and cultures: it aspires to train new generations of scholars through innovative postgraduate programmes, it fosters informed debate both nationally and internationally, and it offers an engaging, open environment for researchers at all levels.

CVAC takes a generous view of what constitutes visual culture and it is broad in both geographical and chronological scope, encouraging debate about the range of approaches, methods and theories that are most generative for research on visual phenomena. Durham’s current visual culture research includes the study of word and image, art and religion, medicine and visual representation, film, the history of photography, architecture, urban culture, heritage and philosophical aesthetics. It also includes the development of pioneering visual research methods and the study of vision.

Durham’s location itself provides a rich and inspiring environment for this field of research. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that also includes Durham Cathedral; its acclaimed Oriental Museum is a significant asset which houses three Designated Collections, recognised by the Arts Council as nationally and internationally pre-eminent; alongside an outstanding collection of twentieth-century and contemporary art. CVAC has many established relationships with major national and international cultural organisations, and aims to develop further its links with museums, galleries and heritage sites.

For further information on the Centre see http://www.durham.ac.uk/cvac



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The course explores documentary practices and photojournalism as exciting and developing mediums, through a combination of practice-based teaching and discussion of critical contexts. Read more

The course explores documentary practices and photojournalism as exciting and developing mediums, through a combination of practice-based teaching and discussion of critical contexts.

We take each applicant on their own merit. This can include students of documentary photography or photographers in general who are interested in specialising in this area. Also welcome are artists who wish to focus their activities on a more social practice, and individuals from other disciplines, who wish to explore the subject area at post grad level.

The course builds on the international stature of the photographic and journalism departments of the University and is designed to equip you with an awareness of contemporary documentary and photojournalism, drawing on a variety of related media.

The course can be taken in full-time or part-time mode.

The Documentary and Photojournalism MA allows students to explore ideas of society through photographically related practice and within critically informed ways that maintain connections with the issue, yet also consider fresh visual approaches to the subject matter.

We approach photography as a social practice, situated within its own history, but also drawing on various discourses. We explore the idea that documentary practice and photojournalism may take many forms in the 21st Century.

Importantly, from your arrival, we emphasise the development of your own practice, through experimentation, critique and theory, and encourage analysis of practice through contemporary perspectives.

The course leads towards the Final Major Project, which is a consolidation of student learning into a high profile event in a central London exhibition space.

You will be taught by practising professional photographers, artists and writers, within a supportive course atmosphere. Technically, the course resources are equipped to the highest professional standards for both analogue and digital production of still and moving image.

Course structure

All modules involve classroom teaching, tutorials, seminars, workshops, group work and your own fieldwork and are designed to equip you with advanced ways of working and negotiating your practice. We take the view that the work you make from the beginning of your studies with us is potentially valid currency for external use.

We encourage you to explore production of a body of documentary/photojournalistic works through the development of personal practice in the real world by:

  • Creating an informal learning agreement which emphasises a real world engagement
  • Exploring appropriate responses to given situations
  • Exploration of documentary methods
  • Challenging expectations.

Students take the first four core modules below and choose from either Final Major Project or Dissertation as their fifth core module. Students choose one option module from those listed below.

The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course.

Core Modules

Optional modules

Career path

The emphasis of the course is on the development of your practice, through experimentation, and knowledge creation as understood within contemporary approaches to documentary, as well as many related practices such as critical and journalistic and collaborative practice.

In addition to the Skills acquired of photographers enabling the production of works this will also involve competent use of a variety of hardware, software, social media, presentation and production skills.

The MA will involve the development of various hard skills such as management of large and small scale projects, direction (either within film or theatrical modes) facilitatory methods (such as in educational or community roles), advocacy, effective social networking and experience of group and collaborative working. We intend that the student will be able to function as a still photographer, documentary film-maker, activist, artist and writer. We would imagine our graduate to be well rounded and confident individual with adaptability facilitating new ways of seeing.

Internship

The course is taught by experienced and practising photographers, publishers and writers whose extensive network of contacts in all areas of photography is accessible to students. We actively encourage work experience during the course and will advise on possible limited time internships and placements, providing these do not interfere the course work. Any internships or placements will be arranged by the students.



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The MA Museum Cultures offers you the opportunity to study this expanding and dynamic field at close proximity to the most world-distinguished museums and galleries. Read more
The MA Museum Cultures offers you the opportunity to study this expanding and dynamic field at close proximity to the most world-distinguished museums and galleries. If you are contemplating a career in the museum and gallery sector and if you are interested in developing an in-depth understanding of contemporary debates about museums and their cultural significance, then this is the course for you. Our MA gives you the chance to develop a range of key skills, from critical thinking and writing to practical experience through a work placement in a museum, gallery or archive. Museums have been of enormous importance in shaping empires, nations and cities, and their collections are connected to wider histories of conflict and social change. To study museums is to study the development and fierce contestation of our collective cultural imagination and memory.

You begin with a core course that introduces interdisciplinary perspectives on the study of museums and a research skills module where you work collaboratively with your classmates. You then take 2 options in areas of specialist interest and either an independent research project or a work placement in a museum, gallery or archive. Finally, you will be individually counselled in your choice of dissertation topic.

The Department of History of Art at Birkbeck has an international reputation for its innovative approaches to the history of art, visual culture and museum studies. Our expertise extends into areas such as postcolonial museums, museums in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, the senses and museums, architecture and museums, museums and art, museums and memory, museums and conflict, museums and gender, small museums, and museums, politics and heritage. As well as regular gallery and museum visits, we offer an exciting study trip abroad every spring. Students are encouraged to become involved in the lively research culture of the department through the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre, the Architecture, Space and Society Centre and the Vasari Research Centre, which has pioneered the field of digital art history. In addition to the core teaching and individual research support, students benefit from many events in the Department of History of Art at Birkbeck, including: the department’s postgraduate events; the annual Murray lecture where speakers have included Penelope Curtis, director of Tate Britain and Neil McGregor, director of the British Museum; and the programme of exhibitions and displays at the Peltz Gallery, the School of Arts' purpose-built exhibition space. Students are also welcome to attend other seminars and events across the School of Arts and at the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.

Our flexible approach to full-time and part-time evening study is ideal if you are thinking about undertaking paid or voluntary work experience in London’s museums and galleries during the daytime, while studying for a postgraduate degree that can give you a head start in a competitive jobs market.

We offer taster events and information evenings for prospective students interested in our MA Museum Cultures programme throughout the year.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
Taught by scholars across Birkbeck, including our Department of History of Art, Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies and Department of History, Classics and Archaeology. This programme offers an interdisciplinary perspective on contemporary debates within museum studies and encompasses museums in Africa, Asia and the Americas as well as in Europe.
We provide students with supervised work placements in museums, galleries and archives including Tate, the British Museum, the Whitechapel Gallery and the Horniman Museum. Past students have helped design and run schools programmes, documented collections that were previously uncatalogued, conducted visitor research and assisted curators in producing exhibitions.
This course of study offers you access to cutting-edge research by some of Britain’s foremost scholars and all the flexibility of evening study at Birkbeck. Whether you have a busy job, have other commitments or want to maximise library time during the day, evening study makes MA study work better.
You can choose option modules from postgraduate courses including History of Art and Arts Policy and Management.
Students studying Museum Cultures are invited to attend postgraduate events in the Department of History of Art and across the School of Arts. Guest speakers include international curators, museum directors, art historians and artists.
The department attracts a rich programme of visiting scholars and practitioners. Our History and Theory of Photography Research Centre and the newly established Architecture, Space and Society Centre offer students the opportunity to develop their knowledge of those areas, as does the Centre for Film and Visual Media which is based in the Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies.
The Department of History of Art has an outstanding reputation for offering critical and creative programmes designed and taught by leading academics and practitioners in the field, within a learning environment that is supportive of the needs of students from a wide range of educational backgrounds.
With our location in Bloomsbury in central London, you can explore some of the world's best architecture, galleries and museums, collections and arts spaces - many of which are on our doorstep or a short distance away. The British Library is within close proximity as is the British Museum, Sir John Soane's Museum, Foundling Museum, Wellcome Gallery, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain, Tate Modern and V&A.
We have a state-of-the art cinema and exhibition spaces, all housed in a historic building that was a former home to key members of the Bloomsbury Group, including the author Virginia Woolf and the artist Vanessa Bell.
Birkbeck Library has an extensive collection of books and journals in art history and museum studies. You can also take advantage of the rich research collections nearby, including Senate House Library, the British Library and the National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A).

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The History of Design and Material Culture MA focuses on both objects from everyday life and representations of them since the eighteenth century as a basis for research and analysis. Read more

The History of Design and Material Culture MA focuses on both objects from everyday life and representations of them since the eighteenth century as a basis for research and analysis.

The course allies theory and practice in seminar-based discussions that embrace various methodological issues and perspectives, including Marxism, discourse theory, phenomenology, semiology, museology, gender, race, class, memory and oral testimony. Depending on the material you analyse in your essays and seminars, as well as the dissertation topic you choose, you can also emphasise your own intellectual and subject-specific interests.

Since its inception in the late 1990s, the MA has garnered a national and international reputation as one of the pioneering and most successful programmes of its kind. As a research-led course, it harnesses the academic expertise of staff with a recognised wealth of teaching and research excellence in subject areas such as fashion and dress history, the history and theory of advertising, photography and the mass-reproduced image, and heritage and museum studies.

Under guidance, you will be encouraged to explore the relationship between theory and practice and to develop your own skills as an independent researcher, thinker and writer.

Course structure

The History of Design and Material Culture MA draws on the wide-ranging academic expertise of staff in the fields of the history of decorative arts and design, dress history, material culture, museology and social history.

It stimulates innovative and interdisciplinary study in the history of design and material culture in both their western and non-western contexts, considering the relationship between local, national and international patterns of production, circulation, consumption and use.

The course is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, study visits and tutorials. Considerable emphasis is placed on student involvement in the weekly seminar readings and discussions within the two thematic core modules, Exploring Objects and Mediating Objects.

Based at Pavilion Parade, a Regency building overlooking the famous Royal Pavilion, teaching takes place close to the seafront and city centre amenities.

Syllabus

Exploring Objects

The Exploring Objects module introduces you to a series of different research methods and historiographical approaches, as you interrogate and make sense of designed objects in terms of how they are designed, produced, circulated, consumed and used in everyday life. It covers the period from the late eighteenth century to the present time and typically involves discussion and debate on the following themes, theories and methods: Marxist and post-Marxist historiography; production and consumption; gender and taste; phenomenology; object-based analysis; the use of archives; and 'good writing/bad writing'. It also introduces you to the academic rigour of postgraduate dissertation research.

Mediating Objects

This module complements Exploring Objects by focusing on the mediation between 'this one' (the object itself) and 'that one' (the object as represented in word and image). On one level, it examines how objects are translated in various texts and contexts, from museum and private collections to photographs, advertisements, film and fiction. On another level, it examines how objects are transformed through the embodied processes of everyday rituals such as gift-giving and personal oral and collective memories. The module therefore deals with the idea of intertexualities and how the identities of things and people are phenomenologically bound up with each other. By extension, you examine objects in relation to ideas concerning sex, gender, class, generation, race and ethnicity.

Dissertation

The centrepiece of your MA studies, the dissertation is a piece of original writing between 18,000 and 20,000 words on a research topic of your own choosing. It allows you to pursue a specific research topic related to your own academic and intellectual interests in a given area of the history of design and material culture, for example fashion and dress, textiles, ceramics and glass, product design, interior design and architecture, graphic communications, advertising and photography, film, museums, collecting and curating, and design pedagogy. The dissertation is largely based on primary research, often using specialist archives and surviving historical material.

Facilities

This course makes use of the University of Brighton Design Archives, which include the archives of the Design Council, Alison Settle, FHK Henrion and the South of England Film and Video Archive.

Close professional contact with national institutions such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as with local collections and centres of historical interest (such as Brighton’s unique Royal Pavilion and Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, with its internationally famous collection of decorative art from the 1890s onwards), present research opportunities for students registered on the course.

The course is closely linked to our arts and humanities research division through a joint research lecture series, and we have successfully encouraged high achievers to register for the MPhil/PhD programme.

The student environment also includes the thriving postgraduate Design History Society as well as opportunities for conference presentation, professional contact and career development in the field.

Careers and employability

The course has an extremely healthy track record in helping students to take up careers in related areas of employment and further study. Many of our postgraduates have succeeded in finding work as lecturers, curators, journalists, designers and design consultants, while many others have pursued doctoral research, most often also securing prestigious funding from the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council).



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