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MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy

College
CSM
Start date
September 2019
Course length
2 years

Course summary

MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy promotes dialogue amongst practitioners and theorists about art discourse today.

Highly relevant for both artists and writers, the course theorises art from a contemporary perspective embracing ideas in Continental philosophy, The Marxist intellectual tradition, as well as psychoanalytic and feminist theories.

This course is part of the Art Programme.

Great reasons to apply

  • MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy enables you to pursue your studies whilst also undertaking part-time employment, internships or care responsibilities. You are expected to commit 30 hours per week to your studies; your taught input will normally be scheduled over a maximum of two to three days per week during term time
  • You’ll explore key issues including philosophy's relevance for the theorisation of art, politics, philosophy and art, philosophical approaches to contemporary art, and philosophy and art in a globalised context
  • You’ll benefit from productive exchanges and development of ideas between MA Fine Art practitioners and MRes historians, theorists and philosophers
  • You’ll be introduced to the professional world of research and debate, supported by lectures from visiting scholars and philosophers
  • You'll gain skills in close textual analysis, comprehension, reconstruction and interpretation of philosophical arguments, while building expertise in critical analysis and reflection
  • Our graduates will be well placed to progress to MPhil or PhD research or for a professional future in academic institutions, the arts, and publishing

Open days

The next open days will be scheduled from February to April 2019, please check back here by December 2018 to book online.

Scholarships available

The Trask Fund MRes Art Bursaries

Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarships:
Home/EU | International

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 are now available for eligible UK and EU students. See the postgraduate loan page for a full list of eligibility criteria and information on applying.

Meet Course Leader Christopher Kul-Want and students

Slavoj Žižek in Conversation with Jonathan Derbyshire at Central Saint Martins

Facilities

Photo of book shelves at the CSM library

Library

Find out more about the Central Saint Martins Library.

Photo of seats facing a stage in a lecture hall

LVMH Lecture Theatre

Find out more about the LVMH Lecture Theatre.

Photo of a group of people in the distance looking at art on a white wall

Lethaby Gallery

Find out more about the Lethaby Gallery.

Course details

MRes Art allows you to address a specialist area of fine art research and to explore the relationships between your chosen specialism and the broader fine art community in the context of our Fine Art Programme.

Synergies in our Fine Art Programme - incorporating MA Fine Art, MA Art and Science, MA Photography, MRes Art: Exhibition Studies, MRes Art: Moving Image, and MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy - create a dynamic context for exploring practices and issues within contemporary culture.

In its extended full-time mode MRes Art gives you the flexibility to access London's richly varied opportunities for work and study while maximising your personal and professional development.

MRes Art prepares you to work particularly in the academic and research contexts of professional environments, to undertake PhD study, or pursue independent research. The course benefits from links with relevant professional and academic organisations in London and internationally and from the varied expertise of its research staff.

MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy offers a close reading of relevant texts as well as detailed discussion to promote your understanding and knowledge of major debates and approaches within Continental philosophy and aesthetics, the Marxist intellectual tradition, and  psychoanalytic and gender theory concerning art. Key issues include philosophy's relevance for the theorisation of art, politics, philosophy and art, philosophical approaches to contemporary art, and philosophy and art in a globalised context. Students in the second year of the course can pursue either discursive or practice-based forms of research.

Course rationale

MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy aims to lead UK scholarship in the field through its academic activities (conferences, symposia and publications), serving as a platform for students to develop their interest and research towards MPhil and PhD study and facilitating research by its staff. A strong discursive component locates you in the professional world of research and debate, and this is supported by lectures from visiting scholars and philosophers. In pursuing the relationship between art, theory and philosophy the course aims to advance both art practice as a form of thinking and thinking as a form of practice, with the aim of producing qualified researchers, practitioners and writers who will contribute to art, visual studies and philosophy in a contemporary context.

The first year offers teaching in philosophical and theoretical methodologies while engaging you in the major ideas pertaining to the philosophy of art from Kant (one of the first philosophers of aesthetics) to the present. At the same time you'll prepare for a personally directed program of study - your research project. In the second year you'll pursue and realise your project. Your progress is supported through tutorials and critical discussions, and monitored through written assignments and presentations. Your realized project – that can be either discursive or practice-based (art, curatorial, etc.) - is the principal assessed work leading to the MRes qualification.

About the course

  • MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy lasts 60 weeks structured as two consecutive periods of 30 weeks each (i.e. two academic years) in its 'extended full-time mode.'
  • MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy is credit rated at 180 credits, and comprises four units. Unit 1 (40 credits) and Unit 2 (20 credits) run concurrently and last 15 weeks. Unit 3 (40 credits) follows after the completion of Units 1 and 2 and runs for a further 15 weeks to the end of year one. Unit 4 (80 credits) runs for 45 weeks, concurrently with Unit 3 to the end of year one, and then continuing to the end of year two.
  • All four units must be passed in order to achieve the MRes but the classification of the award of MRes is derived from the marks for units 3 and 4 only.
  • In year one we expect you to commit an average of 40 hours per week. In year two your study is predominantly self-managed but we expect you to commit an average of 20 hours per week. Across the two years, therefore, you're expected to commit an average of 30 hours per week.

Unit One: Critical perspectives

Unit one enables you to understand what the key concepts, ideas and debates in philosophy have been concerning politics, science, the arts and epistemology and their interaction in the period from the Enlightenment to the present.

Embracing primarily Continental philosophy and aesthetics, the Marxist intellectual tradition and psychoanalytic and gender theories it builds your appreciation of the major issues and debates arising from philosophy and aesthetics particularly since Kant, while locating these issues within contemporary perspectives and debates concerning the arts.

Key areas include: Kant’s concept of aesthetic judgement; Hegel: Master/slave dialectic, the end of art; Nietzsche’s re-evaluation of Platonism and metaphysics, the ‘will to power as art’; Marx and the fetishism of the commodity; Freud and Lacan on the formation of subjective identity, theories of sublimation, the uncanny, melancholy and mourning, symptom and sinthome; Benjamin, aura and reproduction, mass movement and distraction; Heidegger: Dasein, alétheia, the origin of the work of art, boredom and time.

The unit develops your ability to evaluate and progress your ideas about the theory and philosophy of art and to encourage articulacy in critical discussion and writing.

Unit Two: Methodologies and methods I

This unit is shared across the three pathways of the MRes Art course. It aims to make you aware of a range of methodological approaches that have been shaped by discourses in their field of study (including, but not limited to, phenomenology, psychoanalysis, structuralism, Marxism, feminism and postcolonial studies).

The unit is organised around a set of four keywords or concepts that will be examined through the sessions. Each session will engage with one of these concepts mobilizing a different methodological standpoint.

You will, on the one hand, gain an in-depth understanding of the trajectories of these concepts and the shifting status they have acquired but, more importantly, will become aware of the need to critically scrutinize the implicit or explicit methodology (ies) at play in both the texts you read and those you produce.

Unit Three: Methodologies and methods II

Following on from the discussions of methodology in Unit 2, this Unit deepens your understanding of specific artistic and discursive methods and how they operate in specific texts, debates and events by relating them to the pathways’ respective subject areas and the discourses and problems arising from them. Integral to the unit is a concern with research and writing as practice.

Unit Four: Individual research project (IRP)

Unit four has two parts. Part One is undertaken in parallel with Unit 3 in year one. Part Two is devoted to independent study and the development and completion of your research project in year two.

Part One

Part One continues the seminar series in unit one concerned with philosophical understandings of the inter-relationship between politics, science, the arts and epistemology and their relevance today. Issues for discussion include neoliberalism, feminist-Marxism, bio-semiotics, phenomenology and post-phenomenology (Merleau-Ponty to Nancy), technics and time (Bergson, Deleuze, Stiegler), the gift, politically motivated artistic interventions, philosophies of cinema, and the Lacanian Real.  Additionally, it focuses on developing your research project proposal. This involves directed reading or viewing, the formulation of specific research questions and methods and the production of a literature review (annotated bibliography) that forms part of your draft individual research proposal (IRP).

Your proposal’s development is supported through increasingly student-directed seminars and group (as well as personal) tutorials, plus written guidance on the required contents of the proposal document.

Part Two

All projects, including a commitment to the forms of your submission (either discursive or practice-based) and appropriate ongoing supervision/tutorial arrangements, are agreed at the outset of year two. A symposium shared across the MRes pathways presents and discusses all project proposals. In the second year you lead interim presentations about your research discussing progress, challenges and findings, and issues of form, audience and dissemination.

At the end of Unit four you’re assessed through presentation of your realised research project in the agreed forms. Your marks for Units 3 and 4 determine the classification of your MRes award.

Events archive

For a selection of lectures and talks from various guests, head to the archive below.

View the MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy lecture archive

Staff

Chris  Kul-Want

Chris Kul-Want

Course Leader for MRes: Art and Pathway Leader for Theory and Philosophy

Dean  Kenning

Dean Kenning

Lecturer, MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy

Neil  Chapman

Neil Chapman

Lecturer, MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy

Jamie  Brassett

Jamie Brassett

Reader in Philosophy, Design and Innovation; Subject Leader; Course Leader, MA Innovation Management

John  Cussans

John Cussans

Lecturer, MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy

Kamini  Vellodi

Kamini Vellodi

Lecturer, MRes: Art Theory and Philosophy

Maria  Walsh

Maria Walsh

Lecturer, MRes: Art Theory and Philosophy

Paul  O'Kane

Paul O'Kane

Lecturer, MA Contemporary Photography

Pathway Leader - Moving Image: Duncan White
Pathway Leader, Theory and Philosophy: Yaiza Hernández
Pathway Leader - Exhibition Studies: Dr Lucy Steeds
Reader: Dr Joanna Morra
Associate Lecturer: Helena Vilalta

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on disability@arts.ac.uk or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements for this course are as follows:

*          An honours degree OR

*          An equivalent EU / international qualification.

APEL - Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Exceptionally applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

*          Related academic or work experience

*          The quality of the personal statement

*          A strong academic or other professional reference

*          OR a combination of these factors.

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

English Language Requirements

IELTS level 7.0 or above, with at least 6.0 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (please check our main English Language requirements webpage).

Selection criteria

The application, independent project proposal and supporting material will be assessed for:

  • Evidence of skills and experience appropriate to the proposed field of enquiry
  • Effective communication of the intentions, purposes and issues in the proposal
  • The level of contextual awareness and expression of perspective in the project proposal
  • The potential for realisation of the stated objectives within the timeframe of the course and envisaged resources
  • Awareness of the range and nature of challenges implied.

The interview: for those applicants selected following submission of the form, indicative proposal and supporting work. The interview is used to evaluate the extent to which a candidate demonstrates:

  • The capacity for independent research
  • Appropriate background knowledge and critical abilities
  • Awareness of the cultural and social context within which their interests/work is situated
  • Appropriate communication skills
  • A preparedness to participate collaboratively in debate and presentation.

What we are looking for

We are seeking imaginative, resourceful individuals who are committed to exploring art practice.

Making your application

For EU applicants concerned about Brexit, please see our dedicated page: Brexit Information for Students.

You should apply by clicking on the link to the direct form below. The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

Start your application now

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following information when completing the online application form:

General information

Personal details (including legal full name, date of birth, nationality, addresses)

Current English language level

Current and/or previous education and qualification details

Employment history

Personal Statement

Your personal statement should be approximately 500 words in length, and outline the following:

  • Why you are interested in the course?
  • What aspects of your experience relate to the course?
  • How will the course impact on your future career?

Indicative Project Proposal

To apply for this course we require that you write an initial project proposal. This proposal should demonstrate your critical understanding and thinking. The course sets no boundaries to the fields of possible interest, and it is understood that proposals will evolve and change during the course (you will probably need to write between 800 and 1,000 words).

Summary of proposed project
  • Briefly describe what you are interested in undertaking and developing; describe the overall aims, objectives and rationale of the project.
  • Briefly explain your proposed approach and the methods for structuring your project and ideas
  • Highlight any problems you may encounter and how you hope to solve them.
  • Indicate key texts and sources. What resources will be involved? For example, access to archives, collections, specialist networks etc.
Methods and resources
Sources and references
Any final points
  • Please briefly indicate any particular questions or further points in relation to your proposal.

Previous work

  • You will be required to submit digital examples of previous written work and/or documentary material relevant to your research interests.

We cannot consider your application if you do not provide all of the information above.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by the end of May to avoid disappointment.   We reserve the right to close applications earlier than the deadline above subject to spaces available.

There are two ways international students can apply:

  • One of our official representatives in your country
  • A direct application.

If you are applying directly you click on the link to the direct form below. The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

For further advice on how to apply please visit the UAL International Application page.

Start your application now

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following information when completing the online application form:

General information

Personal details (including legal full name, date of birth, nationality, addresses)

Current English language level

Current and/or previous education and qualification details

Employment history

Personal Statement

Your personal statement should be approximately 500 words in length, and outline the following:

  • Why you are interested in the course?
  • What aspects of your experience relate to the course?
  • How will the course impact on your future career?

Indicative Project Proposal

To apply for this course we require that you write an initial project proposal. This proposal should demonstrate your critical understanding and thinking. The course sets no boundaries to the fields of possible interest, and it is understood that proposals will evolve and change during the course (you will probably need to write between 800 and 1,000 words).

Summary of proposed project
  • Briefly describe what you are interested in undertaking and developing; describe the overall aims, objectives and rationale of the project.
  • Briefly explain your proposed approach and the methods for structuring your project and ideas
  • Highlight any problems you may encounter and how you hope to solve them.
  • Indicate key texts and sources. What resources will be involved? For example, access to archives, collections, specialist networks etc.
Methods and resources
Sources and references
Any final points
  • Please briefly indicate any particular questions or further points in relation to your proposal.

Previous work

  • You will be required to submit digital examples of previous written work and/or documentary material relevant to your research interests.

Immigration history check

Whether you are applying online or through a UAL representative you will need to complete an immigration history check to establish whether you are eligible to study at UAL.  If you do not complete the check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

We cannot consider your application if you do not provide all of the information above.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by the end of May to avoid disappointment.   We reserve the right to close applications earlier than the deadline above subject to spaces available.


After you apply

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application, you will receive an email confirming we have successfully received your application and providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal.  We will request any additional information from you, including inviting you to upload documents or book an audition, through the portal.  You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

What happens next

Initial application check

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course.  Following a review of the application documents, successful applicants will be invited to an interview, either in person or by skype.

Interview

The interview is used to evaluate the extent to which a candidate demonstrates:

  • The capacity for independent research
  • Appropriate background knowledge and critical abilities
  • Awareness of the cultural and social context within which their interests/work is situated
  • Appropriate communication skills
  • A preparedness to participate collaboratively in debate and presentation.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the outcome of your application through the UAL Portal.

Fees & Funding

Home/EU fee

Tuition fees for 2018/19: £4,750 per year. Please note that fees for second year of study will be subject to inflationary increase.

£500 per annum discount for all students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course.

ELQ

Home/EU students whose chosen course is at a level equivalent to, or lower than, a qualification that they already hold, would will be charged the fees shown above, plus an additional £1,100 (called the 'ELQ' fee). Students in receipt of Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) are exempt from ELQ fees and will pay the original fee, regardless of the highest qualification held. If you have a query regarding the ELQ fee, please use this register your interest form.

International fee

Tuition fees for 2018/19: £10,920 per year.

£500 per annum discount for all students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course.

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.

Accommodation

Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

Our Postgraduate Art Programme offers valuable opportunities to build transferable professional knowledge and skills. The exchange of perspectives with others through shared units, reading groups and debates helps establish stimulating and productive networks.

The focus on proposing and developing a major independent programme of study is supported by a shared professional practice lecture series featuring guest speakers plus opportunities to attend symposia and critique work in progress across subject areas. The Postgraduate Art Programme has wide-ranging links with professional organisations, collections and galleries in London and beyond, and includes opportunities for interaction and networking according to your personal career direction.

MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy gives you an advanced knowledge of research methods and familiarises you with the important features, issues and problems of philosophical aesthetics. You'll gain skills in close textual analysis, comprehension, reconstruction and interpretation of philosophical arguments, while building expertise in critical analysis and reflection. The location of the MRes within our postgraduate environment enhances your ability to relate philosophical analysis to art and cultural practices. In addition to further MPhil or PhD research, we envisage a range of professional futures for MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy graduates in academic institutions, the arts, and publishing.

Recent MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy alumni activity demonstrates the breadth of student activity within the subject:

  • Jordan Silver who has gained a funded doctoral place in the Dept. of Art History, Film and Visual Studies, Birmingham University. He will also be undertaking a curatorial internship at the Museé d’Orsay, Paris during the summer
  • Lukas Slothuus has gained a funded doctoral place in the Dept. of Philosophy, Edinburgh University to research into contemporary modes of political resistance
  • Constanza Nunez-Melgar Molinari has gained a doctoral place at Kings College, London University to research into the philosopher Georges Bataille and ideas of heterology
  • Adonia Bouchehri completed a Masters in philosophy in the Dept. of Philosophy, Kingston University (2015), currently preparing a doctoral application
  • Niina Keks, runs Reclectic Emporium a design company specialising in furniture and photography
  • Kimberly Shen currently works for the Arts Council of Singapore
  • Nathalie Czarnecki has created 'Miguel, I am Sofia', a contemporary cabaret telling the story of a Spanish boy's journey towards becoming a woman

Alumni

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