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Photography - MA

Course Description

This course is for you if you want to develop your individual style and explore photography as a means of creative expression. You will create an impressive portfolio of work, which you will exhibit in real gallery space and disseminate to potential employers.

Course overview

Through the MA Photography, you will develop a professional base for your future career. The course is tailored to your individual interests and we invite you to share your aspirations with us at interview.

During the course, we support the development of student-initiated projects in which individuals can implement, research and extend their practical and intellectual skills across the spectrum of photography, digital imaging and video. By the end of the course, you will have prepared a substantial portfolio of creative and written work and participated in a public exhibition and a publication.

At Masters level, the specialisms of tutors are an important factor. Sunderland’s academic team includes staff with world-class reputations whose research interests fall within the areas of landscape, documentary and diaristic photography, experimental and alternative photographic methods, and span a variety of themes, from representations of femininity, subcultures, curating and exhibiting art photography with a specialism in new photographic technologies and the networked image.

In addition, we operate the North East Photography Network (NEPN) which develops and promotes photography in the North East of England. We also have close links with major arts organisations such as the Arts Council, the Laing Art Gallery and the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art.

Graduates from Sunderland have gone on to work throughout the creative industries and education. A Masters qualification not only opens doors in the workplace but also helps you progress more rapidly once your career is underway.

To find out more about the part time version of this course, please view this web-page: http://www.sunderland.ac.uk/courses/artsdesignandmedia/postgraduate/photography-part-time/

Course content

The content of the course is shaped by your personal interests with guidance and inspiration from Sunderland's supportive tutors.

Modules on this course include:
Photography 1 - Certificate (60 Credits)
-Self-negotiated Research Project (40 Credits)
-Revisiting Photography Theory (20 Credits)

Photography 2 – Postgraduate Diploma (60 Credits)
-Self-negotiated Portfolio Project (40 Credits)
-Issues in Contemporary Photographic Practice (20 Credits)

Photography 3 – Masters Degree (60 Credits)
-Exhibition (40 Credits)
-Research Project (20 Credits)

Teaching and assessment

Compared to an undergraduate course, you will find that this Masters programme requires a higher level of independent working.

We use a wide variety of teaching and learning methods ranging from technical workshops, research seminars, theory lectures, practical demonstrations, peer critiques, and group discussions. These are supported by a range of guest speakers from diverse academic and industry backgrounds. You will also have high levels of contact with tutors who give regular feedback and support.

You will have the opportunity to meet established photographers and hear about their work and careers. Past speakers have included Simon Norfolk, Liz Wells, Julian Stallabrass, Peter Kennard, Bas Vroege, Michele Sank. Portfolio review days allow you to discuss your portfolio with leading national and international artists, and photographic professionals, publishers, gallery and museum curators.

Assessment methods include project reports, research files, essays, your portfolio of work and the final exhibition.

Facilities & location

The University has invested in modern facilities in the recently refurbished Northern Centre of Photography that include:
-Chemical darkrooms for colour and black and white printing. You can print from 35mm to 5x4 with a large horizontal enlarger to create extra large prints
-Separate chemical darkroom for alternative printing methods
-Digital darkrooms with state-of-the-art scanners and digital production and printing
-Photography studios equipped with tungsten and flash lighting equipment
-Cameras ranging from 35mm to 5x4 Pentax, Nikon, Mamiya, Hasselblad, Fuji 6x7, Toyo, Sinar and Linhof. We provide Digital Nikons and Leaf backs for high-end digital studio work as well as HD video cameras
-Digital suites with open-access Apple Macs for editing video and digital images
-Digital studio with video, sound editing and screening facilities
-Project spaces
-Large wall screen with HD projection for film and video screenings
-Art gallery

Arts and Design Library
Our Arts and Design Library has a specialist collection of over 120,000 books, CD-ROMs, videos, slides and one of the largest electronic information networks in the sector.

Journals and research
We subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date articles. Some of the most important sources for your course include:
-Art Full Text + Art Abstracts, which is a major resource for media and arts information
-British Universities Film and Video Council (BUFVC), which provides resources for the production, study and use of film and related media

Employment & careers

Postgraduates are highly employable and, on average, earn more than individuals whose highest qualification is an undergraduate degree. On completing this course, you will be equipped for a range of positions within the creative sector which include professional photography and arts practice, curatorial, editorial and design work as well as education.

Recent Sunderland graduates are now working in art institutions, museums, community arts organisations, Further Education Colleges and the wider media industry.

A Masters degree will also enhance career opportunities within Higher Education and prepare you for further postgraduate studies.

Visit the Photography - MA page on the University of Sunderland website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Juliet Chenery-Robson

3406.jpg “I trained originally as a photojournalist and I have worked for newspapers and magazines including the Northamptonshire Evening Chronicle and Sunderland Echo. I decided to develop my photography practice further by applying for MA Photography at Sunderland as it has an excellent reputation.
“I enjoyed everything about the course even though I found it hard at first to get to grips with academic language and different ways of approaching my writing and photography. It pushed my boundaries and made me think much more about what I wanted to achieve and how to go about it.
“There are excellent darkroom facilities for both black and white and colour photography (one of the few remaining in the country) and there is a large range of studio and camera equipment, modern digital facilities and helpful technicians.
“I also enjoyed the city. Sunderland has a beautiful coastline with amazing golden beaches and is only a short train ride to many other places of interest. The National Glass Centre, Museum and Winter Gardens and the Stadium of Light are right on the doorstep.
“All the staff are extremely supportive and encourage you to explore new ways of seeing, both theoretically and practically. I was always able to approach them for help or even just a friendly chat. There were also lots of interesting and informative visiting speakers such as well known photographers, curators and artists.
“I really enjoyed the final module, which included preparing a body of work to show at the MA exhibition in the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art. It was exciting and challenging to be able to present my work for exhibition and also because I was able, in a small way, to realise my intentions of visualising certain aspects of the illness M.E. and make more people aware of the limitations it imposes upon sufferers and their families.
“I am now in my final year of a PhD Photography at Sunderland where I have continued to focus on the visual representation of M.E. It has been an amazing and rewarding experience, despite all the hard work! But, I could not have got this far without the support and belief of some amazing staff at the University, so I would encourage anyone thinking about studying photography here to apply as they will not be disappointed.”


Entry Requirements

We usually require applicants to hold a good honours degree (2:1 or above) in a related discipline. We will consider applicants with professional and vocational experience.

Last Updated

04 January 2017

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