The programme offers a challenging and advanced scheme of study, which explores a range of theoretical perspectives that shape attitudes towards visual art in the late 20th/early 21st centuries.
Invigorated by current research, the programme encourages you to explore conceptually and creatively the ways in which contemporary artistic practice and critical theory interrelate. It aims to expand your knowledge of contemporary artistic developments as well as to deepen your understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of academic discourses on visual culture.
The programme draws variously upon the fields of performance studies, art history, philosophy, museology, queer theory, post-colonial studies and cultural studies in addressing the critical challenges posed by artistic practice.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Mark Fisher.
The programme comprises a non-assessed introductory module, the Common Core Module Readings/Processes, and four assessed components: two Special Subjects, the MA Symposium and the MA Dissertation. Students also attend the guest lecture programme. You have the option of auditing another special subject should you wish to do so, subject to availability and in agreement with the course tutor.
The taught part of the programme runs from the end of September to the end of March, with additional guest lectures or workshops in May and June. It offers a framework to help you focus and develop your own understanding of contemporary art practice and its wider cultural significance. It is designed to develop your understanding of a range of critical and theoretical approaches that inform the heterogeneous field of visual art production whilst, at the same time, enabling you to identify and prepare the area of independent research you will carry out in your dissertation project.
Thematic pathways through the MA will be offered on a yearly basis. These will connect the annually changing themes of the core courses with the annual roster of special subjects. In any specific year three themes will be operative. They may include Global Arts; Sound; Politics and Aesthetics; Performance and Live Art; Critical Thought.
Full-time students attend on Thursday and one other day each week (determined by the choice of special subject); part-time students attend on one day each week in the first year and on Thursday in the second year.
Having already produced an assessed oral presentation on your topic you work on your dissertation over the summer and submit your completed project for assessment early in September. Assessment: one 12-15,000-word dissertation.
If you have little or no formal training in art history or a related humanities discipline, you may need to take a preparatory year of study on the Graduate Diploma in Contemporary Art History. You may also be required to attend an interview.