Visual Culture MA

 
  

Fact file

Qualification
MA Visual Culture
Duration
1 year full-time | 2 years part-time
Entry requirements
2.1(Upper 2nd class hons degree or international equivalent)
Other requirements
IELTS
7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
September
Campus
University Park
School/department
Tuition fees
You can find fee information on our fees table.
 

Overview

This course has been designed to foster critical thinking and to develop your analytical skills.
Read full overview

The MA in Visual Culture fosters close analysis of visual culture across a broad chronological period from the Renaissance to the present day and from a range of theoretical and historical approaches. You will be encouraged to develop a rigorous critical approach that engages with the issues and debates that surround the production, display, and reception of visual culture, and the issues that pertain to the historical study of visual culture as a discipline.

You will complement your studies in art history and visual culture with a module taken in another department, such as history, geography, and culture, film and media.

Postgraduate teaching draws directly on the current research of staff in the department and reflects an engagement with the latest art historical scholarship. You will be encouraged to develop independent research and critical thinking skills in order to produce original work on topics in your chosen field.

MA students are part of the lively research community in the Department of History of Art. The MA Visual Culture is supported by the Nottingham Institute for Research in Visual Culture (NIRVC). The institute is concerned with all aspects of contemporary visual culture, as well as its histories, including fine art, public art and architecture; film, video and photography; digital multi- and mass media. In addition to your timetabled classes, you will attend regular seminars and symposia hosted by NIRVC. They also take advantage of events and exhibitions at local art museums and galleries.

Key facts

  • This course has been designed to foster critical thinking and to develop your analytical skills – this is achieved by addressing a broad range of material.
  • You will be offered sessions devoted to research and presentation skills; these sessions are designed to offer you practical support as a postgraduate student.
  • When appropriate, seminars are held in the Djanogly Art Gallery, in the Castle Museum and Art Gallery in Nottingham or Nottingham Contemporary.
  • The MA Visual Culture is supported by the Nottingham Institute for Research in Visual Culture.
 

Course details

The MA Visual Culture course consists of 180 credits. You will undertake one core module (30 credits) and three optional modules (30 credits each). One optional module is taken in a department other than History of Art. The course culminates in a 15,000 word dissertation (60 credits).

The core module provides you with a range of theoretical and methodological tools for the study of art history and visual culture.

Optional Art History modules adopt a broad thematic approach across a range of periods, locations, and types of cultural production. You will be encouraged to apply ideas to specific case studies in order to situate art and visual cultural production within a broader historical and theoretical context.

Optional modules in another department will enable students to build inter-disciplinary approaches to their chosen field, through the study of additional approaches and histories. These might, for example, be in history, geography, or culture, film and media.

 
 

Modules

Options include:

  • Critical Approaches to Art History and Visual Culture (Autumn semester)
    This module explores a range of theoretical issues relating to the study of art history and visual culture. The module helps prepare you for the philosophical questions we need to address in order to undertake a historical analysis of images.
  •  Exhibition Histories and Practices (Spring semester)
    This module examines key issues relating to both curatorial and critical practices in the visual arts. In addition to classes examining the history of criticism and display, you will have the opportunity to develop exhibition ideas and critical writing skills in response to gallery visits and sessions led by curators.
  • Landscape, Space and Place
    This module explores the diverse ways in which art and visual culture engage with landscape and environment. It will consider how various modes of representation and performance shape our understanding of place and space, in a variety of periods and geographical contexts, ranging across urban and rural, frontier and heartland, scenic routes and hinterlands, national parks and non-places. Themes to be investigated might include the role of art and images in the creation of national, regional and private mythologies around place, nostalgic or expansionist conceptions of landscape, or how competing interests over space, access and property are revealed or obscured.
  • Image and Identity
    This module investigates the complex and often contested interactions between identity and visual culture across multiple periods, places and perspectives. It explores the many ways in which works of art and visual culture reflect, shape or challenge identity. Sessions will consider topics such as collective versus individual identity; narratives of self and other; the politics of local, national and global identities; and race, class, gender and sexuality.
  • Visualising Conflict
    This module will explore the ways in which conflict has both informed and been shaped by visual culture across a range of periods from the early modern period to the twentieth century. Among the themes we will explore are the relationship of visual imagery to narratives of uprising, revolution, and war; the art and visual culture of propaganda and activism; the politics of trauma, memory, and memorial; rebellion, identity politics, and visual culture; and conflict within the sphere of art and its institutions.
  • Art and Spectatorship
    Alongside the art object, broadly defined, its requisite counterpart, the viewing subject and the act of viewing are central topics of investigation in art history and visual studies. This module looks at the major themes in the study of the viewer, viewing positions, ways of seeing and spectatorship, whose varied terms point to the multitude of approaches in the scholarship. The module’s sessions will include historically grounded studies of a range of media, times and places. You will examine gender, class, race and other positionalities in connection with spectatorship. Throughout the module we will investigate the historiographic traditions of art history, cultural history and visual culture. Thus you will explore the ways in which viewing and spectatorship have been variously conceptualised.
  • Dissertation
    In preparation for researching and writing a 15,000-word dissertation, students undertake a series of focused workshops to support their project throughout its development, from defining a research topic through to planning and writing the dissertation. Each student will be assigned an academic supervisor who will advise on the development of their project in a series of individual tutorials.

In addition, students take one module in a department other than art history, such as history, geography, or culture, film & media.

Non-subject specific modules

All students will take one of the following two modules:

Research Methods: The Laboratory of the Arts

This module enhances students’ research skills, to support engagement in high-level research on a disciplinary, inter-disciplinary and transdisciplinary basis. An array of research techniques and methodologies will be critically reviewed and students will develop skills in gathering research insights from a range of sources drawn from across the Faculty.

 
Arts in Society

This module is designed to encourage students to think about the broader context of the Arts: to appreciate, evaluate and communicate the value of the Arts beyond the academy. Students will engage with the practices and techniques required to produce advanced research and develop the skills to communicate this research to a variety of audiences.

 
Professional development modules

Depending on your course you will also have the option to select from a range of professional development modules.

 

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.

 
 

Funding

 

UK/EU Students

The majority of postgraduate students in the UK fund their own studies, often from a package made up of personal savings, parental loans or contributions, bank loans and support from a trust or charity.

However, financial support and competitive scholarships are available and we encourage applicants to explore all funding opportunities at least a year in advance of the start date. Get information about:

The information on these pages provides basic details about funding available from The University of Nottingham and external sources. The University also has a funding database which you can search. If you have any questions, please contact us.

International and EU students

The University of Nottingham offers a range of masters scholarships for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study.

Applicants must receive an offer of study before applying for our scholarships. Please note the closing dates of any scholarships you are interested in and make sure you submit your masters course application in good time so that you have the opportunity to apply for them.

The International Office also provides information and advice for international and EU students on financing your degree, living costs, external sources of funding and working during your studies.

Find out more on our scholarships, fees and finance webpages for international applicants.


 

 

 
 

Careers

By studying Visual Culture, you will gain valuable transferable skills, an advanced qualification in the discipline and have a rigorous foundation for further research and progression to PhD research, all of which will leave you ideally equipped for a range of careers.

Typically, our students are in great demand for their extensive knowledge of the subject and go on to employment within art galleries and museums.

Average starting salary and career progression

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers.*

In 2016, 96% of postgraduates from the School of Humanities who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £22,370 with the highest being £30,000.**

The Graduate Market 2013-2016, High Fliers Research.  
**Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career Prospects and Employability

The acquisition of a masters degree demonstrates a high level of knowledge in a specific field.

Whether you are using it to enhance your employability, as preparation for further academic research or as a means of vocational training, you may benefit from careers advice as to how you can use your new found skills to their full potential. Our Careers  and  Employability Service will help you do this, working with you to explore your options and inviting you to attend recruitment events where you can meet potential employers, as well as suggesting further development opportunities, such as relevant work experience placements and skills workshops.  
 
 
 
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Disclaimer
This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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Contact

Claire Croal
Department of History of Art
The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham
NG7 2RD
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