Our MA Photography course approaches photography as an expanded visual discipline. You'll be encouraged to confidently produce complex and extended photographic projects and engage with experimental and speculative approaches to making.
We offer a dynamic and exciting environment for studying the critical theory of photography, and this course engages with practices of reading and writing about the image. MA Photography also pays close attention to the dissemination, exhibition and publication of photographic work.
We provide specialist digital and analogue facilities for large-format colour and black-and-white exhibition prints.
Our course offers a considered balance of support that develops practical skills and fosters a high standard of diverse critical approaches. You'll take risks, explore and develop your interest, and exchange, debate and discuss ideas. You'll respond to the diverse field of contemporary photography and explore practices of representation that engage with the still and the moving image, as well as performance and installation.
Your studies will be supported by a number of internationally renowned staff in a department that encourages experimentation. This will enable you to establish yourself as a rounded professional who can formulate ideas in a sophisticated framework whilst also being able to communicate to others, both visually and verbally.
We place a strong emphasis on publication, enabling you to find creative ways to disseminate your work beyond the academic context and into the public arena.
Our range of equipment and technical support at UCA Rochester enables specialist and professional-grade work, whilst also encouraging experimental and speculative approaches to making.
Our MA Photography course enjoys extensive links with a number of photographic, media and fine art professionals, curators, publishers, specialist printers and book designers. These connections enrich your experience through visiting lecturer and seminar programmes.
In the last three years, speakers on the course have included photographers and other creative practitioners such as:
Additionally, creative professionals and industry links for our course include:
-Benedict Burbridge, editor of Photoworks
-Stuart Smith, book designer at Smith-Design
-Sarah James, writer at Art Monthly and Frieze
-Lucy Soutter, writer at Source
-Clare Grafik, curator of The Photographer's Gallery
-Jennifer Thatcher, Folkestone Triennial
-Jean Wainwright, writer at Art Newspaper
-Terry King, specialist printer
-Emily Pethick, directs The Showroom
-Robert Shore, editor of Elephant Magazine
-Edward Dorrian, organiser of Five Years
-Joyce Cronin, manages the Cubitt Gallery.
Our postgraduate degree prepares you for your career through professional practice units, talks by visiting artists and portfolio reviews with figures from across the photographic industry. Career opportunities include:
-Advertising and editorial
-Post production/digital imaging
-Picture editing and research
-Image, arts and community arts management
Graduates of MA Photography have gone on to win the Jerwood Photography prize; to exhibit their work in The Photographers' Gallery, Photofusion, ArtSway and the Geffyre Museum as well as publishing their outputs in different venues ranging from The Sunday Times Magazine to monographs with Dewi Lewis Publishing.
Visit our Postgraduate Virtual Media Space to find out more about our courses, see what it's like to study at UCA and gain access to our campus virtual tours.
MA Contemporary Photography is a fine art photography course that explores the possibilities of both visual and conceptual expression, merging research deeply with practice. The course is rooted in the idea that photography has no self-limiting identity or essence. In creating work that is visually exciting and intellectually compelling you’ll develop as an artist with photography at the core of your practice, defining, or redefining photography as the art form of the 21st century.
MA Contemporary Photography understands photography as plural, trans disciplinary and multimedial global language that is situated at the core of contemporary visual art practice. The deep integration of theory and practice offers supportive environment in which to explore photography as form of expression that interlaces fine art, technology, aesthetics, politics and new media. Opportunities to research photography as a central component of discursive practices within the arts, the sciences and the construction of personal identities, provide students with tools to work in fields related to artistic production and the extended creative industries.
Unlike many other photography courses, this course is not committed to one notion of what photography is or to one form of media specific practice. Instead of working from a predefined notion of photography, the course aims to provide students with the tools to locate their own practice within a broad range of contemporary visual forms.
MA Contemporary Photography is a two year (60 weeks) part-time course structured as two consecutive periods of 30 weeks each. Course attendance is three days in year one, and two days in year two. In year one we expect you to commit an average of 40 hours per week. In year two, your study is predominantly self-managed but we expect you to commit an average of 20 hours per week. Across the two years, you're expected to commit an average of 30 hours per week.
MA Contemporary Photography is credit rated at 180 credits, and comprises two units: Unit one (60 credits) and Unit two (120 credits).
Students successfully achieving Unit one may exit at this point with the award of Postgraduate Certificate.
Both units must be passed in order to achieve the MA, but the classification of the award of MA derives from the mark for Unit two only.
This distinctive programme allows you to think about the critical and creative relationships between film, photography and the media, while developing your skills to produce projects of your own.
A major independent project sits at the heart of the course, supported by modules that put your practice into the context of contemporary debates. You’ll explore the different critical approaches to the making and consumption of photography and film, allowing them to inform the short film and photography projects you’ll work on.
It’s a flexible programme which allows you to choose from a range of optional modules to focus on topics that suit your own creative and critical interests. You could study cultural policy, international film industries, film and TV writing, feminism in the media and more.
You’ll be taught by leading researchers and practitioners in the field, and our cutting edge research will inform all your teaching.
Our School has a range of fantastic facilities to support your studies. The 58-seat Phil Taylor Cinema is equipped with Dolby Digital sound and high-definition projection facilities, as well as projectors for 16mm and 35mm film.
You can also work on your own projects in our 44 editing suites, equipped with Avid Media Composer editing software and Adobe Creative Cloud. The fully equipped TV studio also has a large green screen area, lighting and photo-flash facilities. We also have a track and dolly, sliders, Glidecam and various cranes, and you’ll have access to a new photographic dark room.
We also run a loans service where you can borrow a range of HD digital camcorders and various Canon stills cameras to help with your project work.
The whole programme is based around a major independent project. You can choose to complete a dissertation and take classes developing your knowledge of research methods to support your work. Alternatively, you can complete a short film or photography project that you’ll exhibit at the end of the programme.
The modules you study throughout the year give you the theoretical and contextual knowledge you need to inform your project, as well as developing your skills in filmmaking and photography.
You’ll study two core modules. One will explore the links between photographic creativity, optical science and the nature of cinema and allow you to work on a short film project. The other will look at the historical development of photographic practice, contemporary issues and debates.
Alongside these modules you’ll choose from a range of options to focus on topics that interest you, from film industries around the world to new media, cultural policy, communication and development, television narrative and more.
If you choose to study part-time, you’ll complete the MA over two years, instead of one, taking fewer modules each year.
These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
We use learning methods that reflect the diversity of the programme, including workshops, lectures, seminars, group learning, tutorials and film screenings. Independent study is also a vital element of the programme, since it allows you to develop your skills and explore your creativity in practical work.
We also use different methods of assessment, some of which will depend on the modules you choose. These are likely to include portfolios of practical work, group and individual projects and reports, essays, literature reviews, case studies, presentations, scripts and commentaries.
This programme will give you a broad base of knowledge and skills across two important forms of communication. It will also equip you with cultural awareness and advanced skills in research, analysis, interpretation and oral and written communication.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.