The course is trans-disciplinary by design with emphasis on ‘learning by doing’ and developing individual but engaged practice that spans the fields of fine art, visual media, contemporary philosophy and online and offline techniques. Through an extensive program of mentoring by contemporary artists, curators and philosophers, students are continuously challenged to examine their work in light of the current developments in the medium and to bring it close to the real world uses of photography.
Members of the technical team are working alongside lecturers and tutors in delivering a rich program of study that does not separate technical and theoretical areas but emphasises the interdependence of production with conceptual study. Students are given opportunities to explore practice as a fusion of technical and philosophical concerns in workshops which follow up on issues raised in seminars.
Philosophy of the visual image and the understanding of photography as a melting pot of political, aesthetic and social concepts are embedded throughout the course.
In the first year the students attend a core weekly install and crit of their practical work, and a weekly critical seminar where contemporary philosophy is discussed in relation to their own practice. The seminar program feeds into practice and the final dissertation that is integral to practice and jointly taught. Specific emphasis is placed on exploring New Media and post-internet as the language of contemporary art practice through focused theory seminars and workshops in physical computing, metadata, augmented reality and social/networked media.
Exhibiting forms one of the core pedagogical tools. Experimental forms of exhibition are taking place throughout the course on a number of levels, including exhibiting on handheld devices, TV screens, site-specific installations, publication and performances.
Unit One: What is practice? (in photography)
We inhabit an age in which “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold” – in the words of William Butler Yeats – but at the same ‘things’ also come back together to form new, previously unimagined configurations that are both the stuff of fantasy and of nightmares. It is an age in which dizzying advances in artificial intelligence and computer technologies are intertwined with cultural and economic extremes. The complex and challenging landscape of contemporary photography in all its aspects: post-internet, digital, networked, mediated, visual, performative, public, political is inextricably linked with this. Indeed, photography – in all its hybridised forms – is often found at the core of our understanding of ‘who we are’ in this challenging and mutable world: what we are made of; our relationship to other human and non-human entities; how we fight, play, find pleasure, take sides, make things ‘change’, make things ‘work’, make things heal or bleed, take on colour, find the beat.
This unit provides a detailed engagement with your practice through experimentation, questioning, play and dialogue.
It is organised around several key components that focus on different aspects of your developing practice. The main aim of these components is to provide you, the postgraduate student, with the tools necessary to exercise your curiosity and imagination about visual imaging. These tools will guide you in the task of finding your voice and your signature style in order to get to grips with the world of art, new media and technology, or in a word: photography.
Unit Two: Research and practice
Research and Practice is the second and final unit of the course. In this unit you will have an opportunity to demonstrate your own mastery of photography through developing an independent project as a fusion of your analytical study and practice.
The first 15 weeks focus on your developing practice according to questions raised in your project proposal and the aims of your research paper. Weekly seminars will help you to clarify your research interests and to formulate the key questions for the Research Paper. Experimental installs and crits will provide a space for re-negotiation of practice and for developing a proposal for the final exhibition.
During year two you’re supported in the production of a body of work for exhibition, and in the completion of your agreed written work. Support takes the form of tutorials, technical advice and bookable workshops.
By the end of Unit two your exhibited and written work reflects a synthesis of reflexive, conceptual, practical and professional abilities. Your mark for Unit two determines the classification of your MA award.