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This Diploma has been designed as a conversion programme for graduates of other disciplines who wish to carry out research at higher levels in the fields of modern and contemporary art history and visual cultures.
The programme sets out to be both introductory and experiential. Rather than provide conventional chronological surveys, the programme explores and addresses chosen themes within an interdisciplinary context.
The programme comprises a number of taught modules and tutorial sessions. You are assigned a personal tutor who monitors your overall progress and advises you on the suitability of the various modules available.
Central to the programme is the core course, a lecture and seminar series that introduces you to a range of critical perspectives
Read more about this course
You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least second class standard in a relevant/related subject.
You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.
Three years ago, after a BA in French, with an obsession with experimental music and contemporary art, I found myself in an arts consultancy job that I didn’t want. I was becoming more active in producing and programming sonic and public art events at Whitechapel Gallery and with collectives in the street but I lacked the theoretical basis and knowledge needed for a more developmental and involved role. I always felt that going back to university was something that interested me especially considering my first degree was not something I was totally committed to and I missed the academic environment when at work.
I needed a solid knowledge base in contemporary art in order to engage with the works and artists and after looking at many courses and being accepted to undertake an MA in History of Art at another university, I spoke to a friend about Goldsmiths and the PGDip Contemporary Art History in particular. Her glowing recommendation of the Visual Cultures department and her passion for her areas of interest convinced me, even if it mean that I would be in full-time education for two years before obtaining the MA. Goldsmiths became more than just a pathway to a qualification and was an opportunity to reach my ambition to be a curator.
"I came across Goldsmiths a few years ago by studying contemporary art back in Italy. I found out that many good artists had graduated from here. I decided to move to London in 2009, my first year here was spent duelling with the language and hunting for a job, and after getting myself a little bit more stability I decided to apply to the Graduate Diploma.
I joined the course in October 2010 and completed in June 2011. I just loved it; I met many different people and had the opportunity to challenge myself in a new environment. While studying at Goldsmiths I was setting up to launch my own gallery project, La Scatola Gallery. As a professional, my expectations for the course were very high. The atmosphere was very relaxed and my tutors were well prepared and helpful. They gave me lots of good advice, especially Astrid Schmetterling, who kindly helped in promoting my gallery project. The things that I enjoyed most were the lectures. I improved my writing and discovered new theorists.
I am still working as the director and curator of La Scatola Gallery, a contemporary art gallery that represents and exhibits young emerging artists from all over the world, many showing for the first time. The gallery's focus is new media, sculpture and site-specific installations that create interaction within the large gallery space. The gallery also hosts talks with curators, artists and art critics to advance dialogue on contemporary art. My colleagues and I have worked on a series of non-profit talks and events. We have been brave enough to produce conceptual exhibitions, each with the aim of encouraging the encounter(s) between visitors and artists through a real, mutual exchange. Where possible, we have produced shows with a non-commercial purpose and exhibitions where the market's need has gently met the understanding of the arts. I believe that there is not art for art’s sake, and that there is not art that exists only to serve a monetary purpose. At La Scatola Gallery, we have proudly produced thirteen exhibitions and hosted three curators and their artists. We have met and worked with over forty multinational artists."
"I think I originally chose to come to Goldsmiths because of its reputation – its recent history as being where many of the YBAs attended, but also (on a personal note) as it had been involved in the ‘Occupation for Education’ in 1993 while I was doing my BA at Middlesex University. A group from our student union visited Goldsmiths (who were also in occupation) in ‘solidarity’ and I tagged along. I guess I had good memories!
After Middlesex I dropped out of the arts and ended up in Cambridge, working as a designer. But I got frustrated with that and quit my job to come back and – this time – study art history at Goldsmiths. I wanted to get more knowledge of the theory behind the art and develop my writing – something which I was just realising was what I wanted to be doing full-time.
The course in general, and our professor Astrid Schmetterling in particular, really pushed me beyond my limits of learning and writing. In that one year I was forced to really strive for a very high level. I don’t think I really got anywhere close to fulfilling those possibilities, but I was set up with material that I could develop and build on for years to come.
Although there were only eight people on the course, they came from very diverse backgrounds, many from abroad. One lady was from China, and I subsequently married her after we graduated in 2007. Two weeks after getting married, we left for Beijing to settle and open a gallery, and I’ve been there ever since!
In 2009 we closed the gallery and from then on I’ve concentrated on writing. I’m now a full-time art critic, writing for local and international magazines and websites. I am particularly interested in alternative practices in art, process-based and socially aware work, which is particularly significant in the Chinese environment. I also edit a bilingual art magazine in China, and will be putting what I've learned into some curated shows this year. It’s not too far-fetched to say that none of this would have happened if I hadn’t gone to Goldsmiths."
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