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Course content

Address the image world, find out how images create meaning, and discover what you can do with what you see on this eclectic MA programme

If this degree were a film we’d be watching the beginning and the end. We think, like Walter Benjamin, that it’s in these moments – in their inception and their obsolescence – that you see the utopian possibilities of a form or social movement. 

The questions we ask

Are we in the midst of a beginning? What can we learn now from visual culture’s past? What’s happening to our bodies when we play a video game? What are the gestures involved in everyday life? How do our bodies relate to technology?

These are the kinds of topics we analyse on this MA. We want to go beyond the borders of a traditional film studies degree so we go back to the beginning of film history to explore what it meant to fashion yourself in an image, or for a society to see itself in an image. Then we explore how images gain meaning now, and where they’re going next. 

The processes we use

We’re interested in the evolution of the image, but also image culture. As photographs and films constitute more and more of our communication, we encourage students to try to put their thought into audio-visual form for some modules. 

For the MA’s Media Arts Pathway, you can make your own piece of work and submit it as part of the final project, the dissertation. Production values are not the focus for us. We’re interested in what you do with an idea.

The approach we take

We think learning is about trying to get hold of something you don’t know yet; wrestling with ideas you’re unsure of so as to work critically and imaginatively across multiple media forms. While we do look at films, we also investigate such things as contemporary gallery work, the city’s screens, computer and phone interactivity to reconsider our relationship to images.

We study our heritage of image taking and making not just to discover how that relationship has changed over time, but also to find jumping off points for own experimentation and try to create something new. 

As part of the University of London you also have the chance to explore one option from the MA Film & Media programmes at other universities. Find out more on the Screen Studies Group website.

Modules & structure

The MA offers two pathways:

MA Film and Screen Studies: Moving Image Studies Pathway

The moving image media today are a concentrated form of culture, ideas, socialisation, wealth and power. 21st-century globalisation, ecology, migration and activism fight over and through them. How have the media built on, distorted and abandoned their past? How are they trying to destroy, deny or build the future? This pathway explores new critical approaches that address the currency of moving image media in today's global context – their aesthetics, technology and politics. It seeks to extend the boundaries for studying moving images by considering a wider range of media and introducing students to a wider range of approaches for investigating moving images' past and present.

MA Film and Screen Studies: Media Arts Pathway

The most intense and extreme forms of media, experimental media arts, test to breaking point our established ideas and practices. From wild abstraction and surrealist visions to activist and community arts, they ask the profoundest questions about high art and popular culture, the individual and the social, meaning and beauty. This pathway explores these emerging experimental practices of image making and criticism. Students on this pathway are encouraged not just to study but to curate and critique past, present and future media arts by building exhibitions and visual essays of their own. Short practical workshops will enable students to make the most of the skills you bring into the course.

Structure

The MA consists of:

  • two core modules (60 credits in total) comprising one shared and one pathway-specific core module
  • option modules to the value of 60 credits
  • a dissertation (60 credits) on a topic agreed in conjuction with your supervisor (on the Media Arts pathway up to 50% of the dissertation can be submitted in audiovisual form)

Assessment

The MA is assessed primarily through coursework essays and written projects. Practical modules may require audiovisual elements to be submitted. It will also include a dissertation of approximately 12,000 words.

Skills & careers

Our graduates go on to work in areas such as programming and curating, film and video distribution, and film and television criticism, but many also create their own careers. Twenty per cent of our graduates pursue PhD degrees. 

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths


Visit the Film and Screen Studies - MA page on the Goldsmiths, University of London website for more details!

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