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Course content

Photography at Brighton is taught within the context of the fine arts and oriented around the development of individual projects.

The aim is for you to develop a strong and sustainable artistic practice and body of work that you can confidently exhibit and publish. This will give you a strong foundation for developing a career as an independent photographer/artist, or alternatively for more commercial or community-based activities.

The course has a strong theoretical component, as we believe all students should understand how to conceptualise and contextualise their practice and communicate it clearly to a variety of audiences.

We encourage students to engage with the latest developments in photography, fine art and wider media culture, and to constantly challenge the limits of the medium. Work that crosses technological boundaries and engages with film, video, sound and installation is encouraged – but so is photography's engagement with performance, painting and sculpture.

More than anything, we are committed to an exploratory and thoughtful form of picture-making that is adequate to representing our experiences of the modern world.

Why study with us?

  • Creative and critical environment in which to practise and think about photography
  • Opportunity to build a professional profile as an independent practitioner
  • Fine art approach to photographic practice
  • Course tutors who are experienced professional photographers and photographic researchers
  • Advice on professional development
  • Chance to develop a sustainable individual practice, graduating with a body of work ready for exhibition, a publication and a piece of critical writing that will help to position your work

Areas of study

Practice-based projects are supported by briefings, tutorials, lectures, seminars and technical workshops. Workshops include demonstrations in the latest digital and traditional analogue processes, involving camera use, lighting, and black-and-white and colour printing. Key professional practice sessions include talks and seminars by photographers, artists, writers and other professionals concerned with commissioning, publishing and exhibiting photography.

Semester 1

  • Experimental Practice (20 credits): a themed practice module designed to help you explore your own approach to practice in more depth
  • Research Methods in Theory and Practice (20 credits): developing skills in research, experimentation and critical reflection
  • Contemporary Debates (20 credits): a theoretical seminar considering how photography has developed as a reflexive medium straddling fine art practice and more documentary contexts

Semester 2

  • Photography Research Project, Part 1 (20 credits): laying the foundations and making initial work in your specialist area of practice
  • Professional Practice (20 credits): built around lectures from visiting artists, curators and editors and a series of workshops teaching skills in public speaking, fundraising, research and web design
  • Dissertation (20 credits): between 6,000 and 8,000 words exploring a theoretical or historical topic related to your specialist area of practice

Summer Semester

  • Photography Research Project, Part 2 (40 credits): developing and resolving a body of work for exhibition
  • Photobooks and Publications (20 credits): realising your project as a publication

Making sure that what you learn with us is relevant, up to date and what employers are looking for is our priority, so courses are reviewed and enhanced on an ongoing basis. When you have applied to us, you’ll be told about any new developments through our applicant portal.

Facilities

The following resources are exclusively for MA and BA(Hons) photography students:

  • Fully equipped photographic studios
  • Dedicated photographic computing facilities
  • A digital print bureau
  • Traditional colour darkrooms with enlargers that accept a range of negative sizes up to 10 x 8”, capable of enabling the production of exhibition-standard prints
  • A traditional black-and-white processing area and darkroom
  • A selection of film and digital single lens reflex cameras – and medium-format and large-format film cameras – to supplement your own equipment

The university’s art and design library has a well-stocked photography area and provides access to a wide range of online resources.

Careers and employability

Our Photography MA has led to students developing strong portfolio careers in the field of the arts and gaining considerable recognition for their work through prizes and exhibitions. Many of our students have gone on to do doctoral study or take up lecturing posts in higher education; others have developed roles working in galleries, publishing, picture editing and community projects.

Alumni include Lisa Barnard, Corinne Silva, Virgilio Ferreira, Matt Henry, Stephen Vaughan – successful artists in the world of contemporary photography who exhibit internationally and produce challenging new work.


Visit the Photography (MA) page on the University of Brighton website for more details!

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