• CollegeCSM
  • Start dateSeptember 2018
  • Course length

MA Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies

MA Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies is a fine art photography course that explores the possibilities of both visual and conceptual expression, merging research deeply with practice. The course is rooted in the idea that photography has no self-limiting identity or essence. In creating work that is visually exciting and intellectually compelling you’ll develop as an artist with photography at the core of your practice, defining, or redefining photography as the art form of the 21st century.

This course is part of the Art Programme.

Great reasons to apply

  • The opportunity to explore photography as an interlacing of fine art, technology, aesthetics and new media
  • Extensive visiting lecturer programme by leading artists, philosophers and curators
  • State of the art scanning, large format digital colour and chemical B/W printing
  • Open environment encouraging collaborations across other post-graduate programmes (MA Fine Art, MA Art and Science)
  • Emphasis on research as practice and on practice as research
  • Links with Arts and Humanities Research Council photography network and the journal Philosophy of Photography.
  • MA Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies 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.

Course Leader Daniel Rubinstein on the ethos of the course and its approach to contemporary photography.

Ben Lansky – Orbit

MA Photography Degree Show 2017

MA Photography Degree Show 2017

Irene Dominguez
Irene Dominguez

Irene Dominguez

Irene Dominguez

Irene Dominguez

Julia Wolf

Julia Wolf

Lucrezia de Fazio

Lucrezia de Fazio

Matilde Damele

Matilde Damele

Maximilien Labaudy

Maximilien Labaudy

MA Photography Degree Show 2017

MA Photography Degree Show 2017

Vishal Kumaraswamy

Vishal Kumaraswamy

<b>Dario Srbic, alum</b>

It is not about painting with light, but about practicing philosophy in photography. This course has a potential to turn upside down how one thinks about and practices photography.

Dario Srbic, alum

Course detail

MA Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies is a ground-breaking course that explores the possibilities of photography driven by artistic practice and practice-led research. Based in the world famous King's Cross campus in central London, the course is making full use of the state-of-the-art facilities to redefine photography as central to 21st century art and culture. You will nurture your practice by working across a number of disciplines combining photography with performance, installation, new media, smart technology, fashion and site-specific work. In creating work that is visually exciting and intellectually compelling, you will develop as an international art practitioner ready for work in the cultural sector.

About the course

  • MA Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies is a two year (60 weeks) part-time course structured as two consecutive periods of 30 weeks each. Course attendance is three days in year one, and two days in year two. 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, you're expected to commit an average of 30 hours per week.
  • MA Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies is credit rated at 180 credits, and comprises two units: Unit one (60 credits) and Unit two (120 credits).
  • Students successfully achieving Unit one may exit at this point with the award of Postgraduate Certificate.
  • Both units must be passed in order to achieve the MA, but the classification of the award of MA derives from the mark for Unit two only.

Course rationale

MA Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies understands photography as plural, trans disciplinary and multimedial global language that is situated at the core of contemporary visual art practice. The deep integration of theory and practice offers supportive environment in which to explore photography as form of expression that interlaces fine art, technology, aesthetics, politics and new media. Opportunities to research photography as a central component of discursive practices within the arts, the sciences and the construction of personal identities, provide students with tools to work in fields related to artistic production and the extended creative industries.

Unlike many other photography courses, this course is not committed to one notion of what photography is or to one form of media specific practice. Instead of working from a predefined notion of photography, the course aims to provide students with the tools to locate their own practice within a broad range of contemporary visual forms. 

Course structure

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.

MA Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies Programme Specification 2018/19 (PDF, 306KB)

Facilities

Staff

Course Leader: Dr Daniel Rubinstein
Tutor: Suky Best
Research Paper Tutor: Dr Anke Hennig
Tutor: Dr Pat Naldi 
Visiting Lecturer: Jon Rafman – Canadian artist and filmmaker known for exhibiting found images from Google Street View. 
Visiting Lecturer: Dave Lewis – Photographic artist and curator.
Visiting Lecturer: Jo Longurst – Photographic artist and writer. Winner of the Grange Prize 2012.
Visiting Lecturer: Alexa Wright – Photographic artist working with digital and mixed media.

How to apply

2018/19 entry

You can apply to this course using our online application form – the link to this is below.

Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the Entry Requirements section further down this page to learn about the application process which includes detailed guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide later in the process.

When to apply

We recommend you apply by the end of May to avoid disappointment. Your application will only be considered after you have successfully completed an online application, submitted required documents and a digital portfolio. 

We reserve the right to close applications earlier than the deadline above subject to spaces available.

Required information for all postgraduate courses

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents 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;

Indicative Project Proposal

To apply for this MA we require that you write an initial project proposal. 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. Please write between 800 and 1,000 words.

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.

If you do not complete the required information or upload the necessary documents, we will not be able to proceed with your application and portfolio review.

Start your application now

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. 

Apply to MA Contemporary Photography; Practice and Philosophies

After you have successfully submitted your application online, you will receive an email confirming your application and providing your login details for the UAL Applicant Portal.  Please do log into your applicant portal as this is where we will send you important updates and requests, as well as allowing you to contact us with any questions you may have about your application.

What happens next

Portfolio Review

If you meet the entry requirements you will be invited to submit a digital portfolio (up to 20 pages) through UAL’s online portfolio review system.

Your portfolio should include your work and/or relevant documentary material, and evidence your current creative practice.

Following a review of your application and portfolio, you will either be invited for an interview or your application will be rejected via the UAL Applicant Portal.

Interview

  • If you currently live in the UK, you will be invited to attend an interview at college.
  • If you currently live outside the UK or unable to attend the interview in person, we can arrange a skype interview for you.

The interview 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 Applicant Portal.

Deferred entry

Please note that CSM does not accept application for deferred entry. 

2018/19 entry

You can apply to this course using our online application form – the link to this is below.

Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the Entry Requirements section further down this page to learn about the application process which includes detailed guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide later in the process.

When to apply

We recommend you apply by the end of May to avoid disappointment. Your application will only be considered after you have successfully completed an online application, submitted required documents and a digital portfolio.

We reserve the right to close applications earlier than the deadline above subject to spaces available.

Required information for all postgraduate courses

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents 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;

Indicative Project Proposal

To apply for this MA we require that you write an initial project proposal. 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. Please write between 800 and 1,000 words.

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.

If you do not complete all the required information or upload the necessary documents, we will not be able to proceed with your application and portfolio review.

Start your application now

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. 

Apply to MA Contemporary Photography; Practice and Philosophies

Alternatively, international applicants can apply through an overseas representative in your country.

After you have successfully submitted your application online, you will receive an email confirming your application and providing your login details for the UAL Applicant Portal.  Please do log into your applicant portal as this is where we will send you important updates and requests, as well as allowing you to contact us with any questions you may have about your application.

Immigration History Check (for International Applications only)

Whether you are applying through a UAL representative or direct application you will need to complete an Immigration History check. If you do not complete the Immigration History Check we will not be able to proceed with your application and portfolio review.

What happens next

Portfolio Review

If you meet the entry requirements you will be invited to submit a digital portfolio (up to 20 pages) through UAL’s online portfolio review system.

Your portfolio should include your work and/or relevant documentary material, and evidence your current creative practice. 

Following a review of your application and portfolio, you will either be invited for an interview or your application will be rejected via the UAL Applicant Portal.

Interview

  • If you currently live in the UK, you will be invited to attend an interview at college.
  • If you currently live outside the UK or unable to attend the interview in person, we can arrange a skype interview for you. 

The interview 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 Applicant Portal.

Deferred entry

Please note that CSM does not accept application for deferred entry.

Entry requirements

An applicant will be considered for admission who has already achieved an educational level equivalent to an Honours Degree.

This educational level may be demonstrated by:

  • An Honours Degree or an equivalent academic qualification;
  • A professional qualification recognised as equivalent to an Honours Degree;

Applicants who do not meet the standard course entry requirements may still be considered if the application demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might be demonstrated by:

  • Prior experiential learning, the outcome of which can be shown to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required;
  • A combination of formal qualifications and experiential learning that, taken together, can be shown to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required.

English language requirements

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability in order to apply for a visa, enrol, and start your course. The English language requirement for entry for this course is: 

IELTS Academic 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each of the 4 skills (on one single test).

For further information visit the English Language requirements page.

What we look for

We're seeking imaginative, resourceful individuals who are committed to exploring photography.

Selection criteria

Applications, indicative project proposals and supporting material will be assessed for:

  • The quality of the applicant's practice;
  • The appropriateness of the applicant's skills, experience and practice to the area of interest identified for development in the course;
  • Effective communication of intentions, purposes and issues;
  • The level of contextual awareness and expression of perspective;
  • The potential for realisation of the stated objectives within the timeframe of the course and envisaged resources;
  • Evidence that the applicant has the confidence and ability to benefit from and contribute to the learning environment at postgraduate level;
  • Interview, approx. 30 min (see guidance in How to Apply section).

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

Tuition fees for 2018/19: £5,000 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 our course enquiry form.

International fee

Tuition fees for 2018/19: £12,430 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.

Scholarships 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.

Recent postgraduate photography alumni activities and achievements range widely. Clarisse d'Arcimoles, Emer Gillespie and Ozant Kamaci were selected for freshfacedandwildeyed 2010 at the Photographers Gallery, London. Kristina Kostadinova won the non-pro architecture category at the International Photography Awards 2010 and was a finalist in the Discovery of the Year at the Lucie Awards. Ozant Kamaci won the AOP Student Photographer Award 2009 and was shortlisted for the Sony World Photography Awards 2010. Justina Burnett became the digital assistant to Alessandra Sanguinetti at Magnumphotos workshop NYC, 2010. Katherine Green was commissioned by 'The Road to 2012' project to work with community groups within London's five Olympic boroughs. Chloe Jafe was appointed Advertising and Corporate Assistant at Magnumphotos. Hester Jones is part of the Westminster Arts 'Resonate' programme using photography to work with people with mental health problems.