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Course content

This interdisciplinary, visual theory-based course is established around the belief that visual literacy and the impact of visual forms of thinking and working play significant roles in our society. On the course, we interrogate visual perception and representation in high and popular culture, explore how these produce meanings, and how such meanings shape societies and individuals.

The course introduces you to a wide range of historical and contemporary debates that inform the theories and practices of visual culture, and supports you in developing a conceptual framework within which to evaluate the role of the visual arts, and other forms of visual production, in contemporary society and culture.

The course gives you a solid grounding for careers in the art and cultural sectors as well as academia, and it is also suitable for practicing artists wishing to further their research.

This MA balances historical and theoretical debates in the field of visual culture studies with a rigorous interrogation of cultural practices across a range of topics, including: activism and popular politics; contemporary visual arts; capitalism and culture; digital culture and new media technologies; theory and practice of archive research; material culture of the city; representation of the cultural ‘other’, among others.

Many of these modules include class visits to leading museums, galleries and archives in London: this provides a fantastic opportunity to engage directly with the city’s cultural institutions and intellectual resources, in doing so providing you with sophisticated critical thinking skills as well as practical knowledge of how the cultural sector operates.

Career path

The MA in Art and Visual Culture prepares students for careers in the art and cultural sector as well as academia. The combination of seminars, workshops and field trips that the course offers equips students with sophisticated critical thinking skills as well as practical knowledge of how the cultural sector operates. As a result, many of our students have gone on to pursue successful careers as curators, artists, cultural consultants, events and communications managers, media arts project managers, editors and public relations specialists.

Many others have gone on to MPhil/PhD study in fields such as art history and visual culture, cultural studies and media. As part of the course, students have an opportunity to take a work experience module, which involves placements in art and cultural institutions in London and a chance to build a career profile. We work with the university careers office to help students prepare for entering the job market.


Visit the Art and Visual Culture - January start (MA) page on the University of Westminster website for more details!

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