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Postgraduate

MA Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies

A projection on a ceiling
A projection on a ceiling
College
Central Saint Martins
Start date
October 2021
Course length
Two years (60 weeks)
Extended full-time

MA Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies is a fine art photography course which merges research with practice.

The course is rooted in the idea that photography has no self-limiting identity or essence. Creating visually exciting and intellectually compelling work, you will develop as an artist with photography at the core of your practice. This course is part of the Art programme.

Why choose this course at Central Saint Martins

  • Transdisciplinary practice: On this course, you will study photography as an interlacing of fine art, technology, aesthetics and new media. You will explore the effects of digital cultures on art practice, the everyday and the environment.
  • Visiting practitioners: The course has an extensive visiting lecturer programme, including leading artists, philosophers and curators.
  • State-of-the-art equipment: You will have access to advanced equipment for scanning, large-format digital colour and chemical black and white printing.
  • Curatorial projects: The course offers opportunities for you to take part in group curatorial projects, in which you will learn to curate in a shared space.

Recent student successes

Course Leader Daniel Rubinstein on the ethos of the course

Student view: Liying Hu

Student view: Niloofar Taatizadeh

Student view: Ebony Francis

Student work

  • Irene-Dominguez.jpg
    Irene Dominguez
  • Julia-Wolf.jpg
    Julia Wolf
  • Zelda_Montjean-Zen.jpg
    Zelda Montjean-Zen
  • Simona_Sharafudinov.jpg
    Simona Sharafudinov
  • Maria_Clara_Lorusso.jpg
    Maria Clara Lorusso
  • Terry_Dimoulias.jpg
    Terry Dimoulias

Course catalogues

External projects

MA Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies stories

Facilities

Course overview

Unlike many other photography courses, MA Contemporary Photography; Philosophies and Practices at Central Saint Martins is not committed to one notion of what photography is. Instead, it aims to provide you with the tools to locate your own practice within a broad range of contemporary art forms. On this course, you will nurture your practice by working with reference to a number of disciplines, including performance, installation, new media, fashion and site-specific work. You will explore the philosophy of the visual image as a melting pot of political, aesthetic and social concepts.

This course explores photography as a plural, transdisciplinary and multimedia global language. Situating photography at the core of contemporary visual art, the course integrates theory and practice. You will explore photography as a discipline which interlaces fine art, technology and new media. You will research photography as a universal language of contemporary cultures. These encompass the arts, the sciences and also the construction of personal identities. This course will provide you with the tools to work in fields related to artistic production and the extended creative industries.

A key objective of the course is to overcome the distinction between theory and practice and to offer an experience of deep integration of making and thinking. The course emphasises new media and post-internet approaches as the language of contemporary art practice. These are explored through theory seminars and workshops in physical computing, metadata, augmented reality and social media. The core activities of the course are the making, outward presentation and contextualisation of your work.

Course units

On MA Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies, critical evaluation is central to your development. You will be expected to take part in group critiques, where you will analyse yours and your peers' work through discussion. Throughout the course, exhibiting is one of the core pedagogical tools. This includes experimental forms of exhibition, such as digital platforms, social media, TV screens, site-responsive installations, interactions with handheld devices, publications and performances. The course makes use of showcase opportunities for you to develop your work in response to audience.

The course is transdisciplinary by design. It will support you to develop an individual, engaged practice. This might span the fields of fine art, visual media, contemporary philosophy or online and offline technology. The course offers an extensive mentorship programme. This includes work with contemporary practitioners, curators and philosophers. Through this engagement, you will be challenged to examine your work in relation to current developments in photography. It will also help you to link your practice to professional applications of the medium.

Unit 1: What is Practice? (In Photography)

Unit 1 on this course provides you with a detailed engagement with your practice through experimentation, questioning, play and dialogue. The unit is organised around several key components. The main aim of these is to provide you with the tools to exercise your curiosity and imagination in the realm of visual image. We will guide you to find your voice and signature style, allowing you to explore art, new media and technology.

Unit 2: Developing Practice and Research

This is a self-led unit of research which feeds into your work in progress and your research paper. You will develop your practice and research through a programme of crits. This programme will also include individual tutorials and seminars, focused around the development of your practice and research paper. Weekly seminars will also help you clarify your research interests. Experimental installs and crits will provide a space for negotiation of practice and for focusing your research.

Unit 3: Realisation of Practice and Research

Unit 3 is also a self-led unit of research and practice. It will culminate in the production of your work for show and dissemination. You will be supported in the production of a body of work for exhibition in whatever form. This unit is structured around weekly presentations and demonstrations of your work in progress supported by group crits and feedback. You will also have one-to-one and small group tutorials with course staff and visiting practitioners.

Mode of study

MA Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies is offered in extended full-time mode which runs for 60 weeks over two academic years. You will be expected to commit 30 hours per week to study, which includes teaching time and independent study. The course has been designed in this way to enable you to pursue studies, while also undertaking part-time employment, internships or care responsibilities.

Credit and award requirements

The course is credit-rated at 180 credits. 

On successfully completing the course, you will gain a Master of Arts (MA degree). 

Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications, an MA is Level 7. All units must be passed in order to achieve the MA but the classification of the award is derived from the marks for the second and third units. 

If you are unable to continue on the course, a Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) will normally be offered following the successful completion of 60 credits, or a Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) following the successful completion of 120 credits.  

Learning and teaching methods

During your course you will engage with learning and teaching that includes both online and face-to-face modes. Typically, this will include: 

  • Briefing materials, written guidance and meetings 
  • Inductions and technical support 
  • Lectures and guest speakers 
  • Independent project proposal document 
  • Shared teaching events across the art programme 
  • Extended collaborative project opportunities 
  • Personal and group tutorials 
  • Seminars and symposium 
  • Presentations and sharing events 
  • Recommended reading and viewing 
  • Professional networking visits 
  • Independent study 
  • Critiques and peer evaluations 
  • Self-critical evaluation 
  • Assessment feedback.

Assessment methods

  • Research and preparatory work 
  • Independent project proposal 
  • Outputs from group project work and assignments 
  • Documentation of work 
  • Verbal and visual presentations 
  • Written work 
  • Participation in activities and debate 
  • Self-critical evaluation 
  • Realisation of independent project 

Staff

Daniel  Rubinstein

Dr Daniel Rubinstein

Course Leader, MA Contemporary Photography, Practices and Philosophies; Reader in Philosophy and the Image

Pat  Naldi

Dr Pat Naldi

Lecturer, MA Contemporary Photography

Associate Lecturers

Anke Hennig
Suky Best

Recent seminars

Tamsin Dillon
Dr Louise Garrett
Professor Johnny Golding
Rebecca Heald
Juliet Jacques
Dr Hayley Newman
Dr Jona Piehl
Dr Lynn Turner

Recent Visiting Practitioners

Sam Burford
Richard Grayson
Juliet Jacques
Aaron McPeake

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.

AP(E)L – 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 cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

English language requirements

IELTS level 6.5 or above, with at least 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (please check our main English language requirements webpage).

Selection criteria

We select applicants according to potential and current ability in the following areas: 

  • The quality of your practice 
  • Ability to devise and develop a self-directed programme of study 
  • The ability to develop and contextualise work in written form 
  • The ability to analyse and evaluate in both visual and oral terms 
  • Eagerness to contribute to the learning environment at postgraduate level.

What we are looking for 

We are seeking imaginative, resourceful individuals who are committed to exploring and developing a strong individual visual language. 

Making your application

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.

Deferred entry

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

Transfers

If you are currently studying at another institution and if you have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units and modules on your current postgraduate course and wish to continue your studies at Central Saint Martins, you can apply to transfer. The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible.

Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information and be ready to provide us with your current course handbook and unit transcripts.

You will need to provide an official document (translated into English) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed.

Start your application now

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 give us information about yourself and why you want to join the course (between 300-500 words) and should include:

  • What are you doing at the moment educationally, professionally, personally?
  • Why do you wish to study on this course?
  • What is your relevant experience?
  • Do you have any relevant skills?
  • Why do you think you are a suitable candidate for acceptance?

Indicative Project Proposal

To apply for this course we require that you write an initial project proposal between 800 and 1,000 words. This proposal should demonstrate your understanding of contemporary art practice 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.

MA Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies welcomes discussion with potential applicants about the appropriateness of their initial proposals. We encourage applicants to use every opportunity to make contact with us before applying.

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

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 / portfolio / book an interview, through the portal.  You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

Please add csm.ukeu@arts.ac.uk to your contacts to ensure that you do not miss any important updates re: your application to UAL.  Also consider altering your spam or junk mail filter to ensure that emails from @arts.ac.uk get through to you.

Application deadline

15 May 2021

We recommend you apply as soon as possible before this date, for equal consideration. We may still be able to accept applications after this date, depending on availability.

When you’ll hear from us

We receive lots of applications for this course. We consider each one equally, so we review them all after the application deadline date. This means you won’t hear from us about any next steps until after this date. Find out more about what happens after you apply.

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.

Deferred entry

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

Transfers

If you are currently studying at another institution and if you have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units and modules on your current postgraduate course and wish to continue your studies at Central Saint Martins, you can apply to transfer. The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible.

Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information and be ready to provide us with your current course handbook and unit transcripts.

You will need to provide an official document (translated into English) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed.

Start your application now

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 give us information about yourself and why you want to join the course (between 300-500 words) and should include:

  • What are you doing at the moment educationally, professionally, personally?
  • Why do you wish to study on this course?
  • What is your relevant experience?
  • Do you have any relevant skills?
  • Why do you think you are a suitable candidate for acceptance?

Indicative Project Proposal

To apply for this course we require that you write an initial project proposal between 800 and 1,000 words. This proposal should demonstrate your understanding of contemporary art practice 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.

MA Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies welcomes discussion with potential applicants about the appropriateness of their initial proposals. We encourage applicants to use every opportunity to make contact with us before applying.

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 the information above.

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 / portfolio / book an interview, through the portal.  You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

Please add csm.ukeu@arts.ac.uk to your contacts to ensure that you do not miss any important updates re: your application to UAL.  Also consider altering your spam or junk mail filter to ensure that emails from @arts.ac.uk get through to you.

Application deadline

15 May 2021

We recommend you apply as soon as possible before this date, for equal consideration. We may still be able to accept applications after this date, depending on availability.

When you’ll hear from us

We receive lots of applications for this course. We consider each one equally, so we review them all after the application deadline date. This means you won’t hear from us about any next steps until after this date. Find out more about what happens after you apply.


After you apply

What happens next

Initial application check

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course.  If you do, you will be invited to submit a portfolio through your UAL Portal.

Portfolio

The full portfolio should be no more than 20 pages comprising your work and/or relevant documentary material, and evidence your current creative practice.

The only files that can be uploaded as part of the portfolio are:

  • Images: bmp, gif, jpg, jpeg, png
  • Audio: mp3, mp4, ogg, wav, wma
  • Video: avi, mp4, mpg, mpeg, mkv, mov, wmv

Portfolio advice

Your portfolio should demonstrate creative development, whether for a college project or in your personal work. By creative development, we mean ideas that have originated through your own experience and research and progressed towards potential visual proposals. Ideas, visual research and experimentation are more important than finished design solutions and can be shown in 2D work, or through photos of 3D objects and maquettes.

It is important that the creative work you include reflects and demonstrates your thinking, initiative and personal commitment to a particular project, theme or idea.  We are interested in you as an individual, your personal interests, your creativity and initiative in finding out about your proposed area of study. We would also like to know about your favourite designers and artists, where you have seen their work at first hand and how you have acquired more information about the work that interests you.

For more portfolio advice please visit the Portfolio advice page.

Following the review of the portfolio we select a small number of applicants to move on to the next stage of the process.  These applicants will be invited to an interview.

Interview

The interview will take place either online or by telephone.  It will be approximately 30 minutes long and is used to evaluate the extent to which a candidate demonstrates:

  • A thoughtful and responsible approach to practice
  • The capacity for independent research
  • Appropriate critical and reflective abilities
  • An awareness of the cultural and social context within which they practice
  • Appropriate communication skills
  • A preparedness to participate collaboratively in debate, practice 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 and funding

Home fee

£5,870 per year

This fee is correct for 2021/22 entry and is subject to change for 2022/23 entry. Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Home fees are currently charged to UK resident nationals. However, the rules are complex and you can find out more on our tuition fees pages.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, although this may depend on your individual circumstances. If you started your course in October 2020  or earlier, you’ll continue to pay Home (UK) fees for the duration of your course. Read more advice for EU students on our Brexit information webpage

International fee

£14,725 per year

This fee is correct for 2021/22 entry and is subject to change for 2022/23 entry. Tuition fees for international students may increase by up to 5% in each future year of your course.  For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

International fees are currently charged to students from countries outside of the UK. However, the rules are complex and more information can be found on our tuition fees pages.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, although this may depend on your individual circumstances. If you started your course in October 2020 or earlier, you’ll continue to pay Home (UK) fees for the duration of your course. Read more advice for EU students on our Brexit information webpage

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, and includes opportunities for interaction and networking according to your personal career direction.

MA Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies explores photography as a visual language feeding into a wide range of professional arenas and related disciplines. MA Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies graduates are equipped to work in the gallery world, fine art publishing, book publishing and advertising, in London and beyond. They may also progress academically to research (PhD study) and teaching. Equipped with industry and cultural knowledge, you'll leave us knowing your worth in the art and business worlds, at home in international gallery or commercial contexts and able to initiate substantial cultural projects.