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The Photography MA at Kingston School of Art is highly bespoke course designed to support you as an artist working with the photographic as an expanded and interdisciplinary practice through practice-led research.
With an emphasis on critical thinking and socially engaged practices it offers transferable skills in the production and post-production of images through the communication and development of ideas
You will develop a major body of practical work for exhibition and publication over the 17-month course in a supportive and dynamic environment culminating in a final show at Kingston School of Art.
The course encourages a rich interdisciplinary approach that crosses the boundaries between different forms, disciplines and subject matters that engage with the expanded definition of the photographic medium (analogue and digital, new media and technology, still and moving image, installation; performance and the archive).
Our modules are designed to help you become an independent practitioner who speaks across a wide range of practices and theories reflecting on the technological, political, environmental and social role of the photographic.
If you are planning to join this course in the academic year 2021/22 (i.e. between August 2021 and July 2022), please view the information about changes to courses for 2021/22 due to Covid-19.
Students who are continuing their studies with Kingston University in 2021/22 should refer to their Course Handbook for information about specific changes that have been, or may be, made to their course or modules being delivered in 2021/22. Course Handbooks are located within the Canvas Course page.
This research-led course engages with the photographic in its widest sense (analogue and digital, new media and technology, still and moving image, installation, performance and engagements with the archive).
You will have access to all Kingston School of Art's workshops and be encouraged to experiment with the photographic in new and innovative ways as an artist.
The key emphasis of this course is on supporting and developing the direction of your practice led-research through tutorials, presentations, and regular seminar discussions where you will be taught how to research and conceptualise your work.
The range of critical theory extends across dialogical aesthetics, ethnography, post-colonial theory, globalisation, environmentalism, social justice issues, queer theory and gender-based debates, privacy and surveillance, politics of the internet and technological aspects of the photographic medium.
You'll take three modules, worth a total of 180 credits.
This module enables students to develop an independent and critical approach to the expanded boundaries and definitions of photography and their own practice taking into account different critical theories and contexts. Culminating in a 5,000 word illustrated essay students consider the convergence of theory and practice, covering different theoretical approaches to photography and its inter-related media as well as engaging with a diverse range of approaches to producing, thinking and viewing photography and its relation to the visual arts.
Students are encouraged to engage with practices and concepts in contemporary photographic discourse that are relevant to their own interests by identifying their field of context and setting their own research objectives and particular trajectory. The outcome essay will tend to be a detailed analysis of photographers/artists relevant to the students practice.
This module introduces and develop students' individual photographic practice through self-initiated research supported by tutorials, group seminars, critiques and informal presentations that deepen students understanding of how their work can be situated within contemporary and historical frameworks, and expanded definitions of photography. Students establish working methodologies relative to a number of contributing modes of study: one-to one tutorials, seminars/discussion, research processes, the sharing and reviewing of work in progress, discourse and lectures by visiting professionals/theorists/practitioners, field visits and group critique.
The module culminates in the presentation of a body of work (and research seminar) at an assessment point where students evidence the development, planning, production and presentation of a body of work supported by the submission of blog and sketchbooks that evidences critical reflection; a 1000-1500 word critical reflective statement.
This final module enables students to advance their practice by building on their research enquiries that were developed in the previous modules. This enables students to build a strong and sustainable artistic practice and body of work that is coherent, innovative, conceptually resolved and technically well executed-for exhibition and publication. This module culminates in the presentation of a body of work for final exhibition in January (TB1 in YR 2) with an emphasis on research, production and process and the ability of the student to position their work within the wider context of photography and contemporary art.
In addition, students are also required to submit a publication, a 1000-1500 word critical reflective statement, and an artist's statement 150-300 words, which serve as an introduction to the body of work for audiences.
The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.
The course is aimed at a range of photography practitioners. Students are admitted through formal university application and interview (with a portfolio of work). You will also be required to submit a personal statement and an indicative project proposal about how you intend to use the 17-month course to develop a significant body of photographic work.
The minimum entry qualifications for the field are:
Typical entry qualifications set for entrants to the field:
You'll be assessed through photographic practice, research portfolios, blogs, essays and oral presentations.
When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically involves reading and analysing articles, regulations, policy documents and key texts, documenting individual projects, preparing coursework assignments and completing your PEDRs, etc.
Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the University's online virtual learning platform.
At Kingston University, we know that postgraduate students have particular needs and therefore we have a range of support available to help you during your time here.
Year 1-2: 20% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.
Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.
Type of teaching and learning
Assessment typically comprise of a written dissertation and practical work with presentations/exhibitions, blogs, portfolios and critical reflective statements. The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows:
Type of assessment
We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.
To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally enrols 10–18 students.
Most taught sessions are 10–18 students. However some lectures are shared with other MA students or BA Photography students; these can total 30–80 students.
The teaching team fosters a strong year group ethos. Many shared and group activities create a rich and supportive learning and working environment. The staff team consists of internationally-recognised, research-active academics and visiting speakers and lecturers.
Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.
Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees.
Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.
Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to, or be required to, buy your own copy of key textbooks.
There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet you can use around campus and in halls of residence. Free WiFi is available on each of the campuses.
In the majority of cases coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees.
Travel costs are not included but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses and halls of residence.
Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:
If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.
We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:
Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs that are not covered by tuition fees which students will need to consider when planning their studies. Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, access to shared IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees.
Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.
Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to buy your own copy of key textbooks, this can cost between £50 and £250 per year.
There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residences. Free WiFi is available on each of the campuses. You may wish to purchase your own computer, which can cost £100 to £3,000 depending on your course requirements.
In the majority of cases written coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing, binding and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees, this may cost up to £100 per year.
Travel costs are not included in your tuition fees but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses, Surbiton train station, Kingston upon Thames train station, Norbiton train station and halls of residence.
There is a wide range of facilities at our Knights Park campus, where this course is based. Kingston School of Art has recently completed an ambitious programme of investment, making significant improvements to our workshops and other resources, to ensure that students are exposed to as many creative pathways as possible. The workshops and studios at Knights Park are open for creative exploration and allow opportunities for students and staff to collaborate on projects and share ideas, whether they are studying or researching. There are many adaptable studio and workshop spaces, active breakout spaces and stronger vertical and horizontal connections. Our ground-breaking facilities include:
All our facilities are open access, meaning you can use them whenever you want, and irrespective of what degree you're studying.
The University also has its own on-site galleries, including:
Kingston School of Art is a special learning environment. The course itself was transformative and life changing. The course leader had a knack for 'seeing' the unexpected in our work. She supported each of us to work from our authentic and genuine concerns and interests through group and one-to-one tutorials. The course is student-centred and has agency. I think that many of us arrived with narrow and restrictive views of what photography is – the visiting programme and Q&A's offered us ample opportunities to stretch our imaginations and to develop and test out our visual ideas. The course is longer than average and so the initial stages of the course gave each of us the space to participate in extra-mural forums, seminars, lectures and activities. The visits to galleries and talks with the galleries and curators, Ken McMullen's lectures and the various opportunities to deepen our understanding of aesthetics are unique opportunities to understand the role and place of photography within the ever-widening art world. I was engaged with social and environmental concerns and learned how to communicate through visual language and aesthetics.
The interim show in the Platform Gallery and then the graduation show at the Stanley Picker Gallery were crucial processes that we went through enabling us to understand our responsibilities to our audience and to each other within a group exhibition context. Publications are an important aspect of photography and we were encouraged to work in close proximity with the printing and book making department. Kingston has a huge amount of resources that includes a wide range of photography journals, magazines and photo books. The photography public presentation programme benefits immensely from the editorial expertise of both the academic and the technical team.
Jacqueline Ennis Cole
Since graduating I've worked for high fashion brands like Trussardi, Ray Ban, Armani, Levi's and Guess. I do worldwide campaigns almost every month and I have also started to work as a photoreporter, collaborating with the National Geographic here in Italy. The years at Kingston were some of my favorite moments in my whole life; not only with practicing photography but in terms of relationships and artistic dialogues.
A month ago, one of my campaigns was on a monitor right in Times Square in NY, and it was shot with the technique that I was shown in the photography studio at Kingston; the composition was inspired by one of my other classmates' final exhibitions. You and Kingston School of Art are in every shot I take, in every one of the 25 countries I visited this past year, and in the eyes of every top model I photograph!
Being part of the MA Fine Art Photography course at Kingston University offered me a whole new approach to the field of photography. Before I started at Kingston, I'd been working in the industry for several years, mainly in the commercial and industrial sector. Although I had a lot of experience in the medium of photography, I never actually gave a lot of attention to the arts aspect of it.
Being tutored by the course leaders, I got a completely new view of what photography is and what it can do: how versatile this medium is and how it helps one to address certain topics, to raise issues and awareness or how to express an outlook on specific topics.
The course showed me that it was not only important what is being communicated, but also how the message is communicated. There is always more to a photograph than the bare photograph itself. Being a student at Kingston was - to me - not just a great introduction into the art industries, but also a huge asset for my own professional practice.
I think the MA was the greatest experience I've had with photography until now. I learned so much and I think it was at that point (although I was working as a professional photographer already) that I really became a professional.
It was pretty intense, perhaps especially for me, because I took it very seriously; sometimes it was tough, but I could acquire a knowledge of how a project should be done, pay attention to the details, to communicate what you want to say with your photography and, specially, to have something to communicate with it. I think the facilities were amazing – I miss using the dark room, the big studio and even the woodwork space. It was a distinguishing experience.
Based in the Department of Film & Photography, the Visible Institute research group develops practice-based research, discursive frameworks and a culture of innovation. Film and photography are intermediate and medium-specific - connecting with - yet remaining distinct from other media. Visible Institute answers a need for concentrated lens-based research spanning the potential of both practices.
The name Visible Institute (VI) transmits the magic of film and photography, alludes to the latent image and suggests emerging and unexpected encounters.
VI is situated within KSA (Kingston School of Art), Kingston University, London.
Visible Institute explores still and moving image, relative to a number of identified research thematics. These categories are indicative points of intersection, framing the work of our researchers and practitioners. The Visible Institute engages with the importance of the genesis of film and photography, looks to expand genre definitions and promotes engagement with film and photography's special relationship with the document and the archive.
Our aim is to ensure informed - specialist and interdisciplinary - projects and challenging practice-based media emerge from within an institute that provides breadth and inclusivity, working across disciplines and set within a number of registers, through which film, photography and the moving image operate.
Visual Institute themes:
The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, we do not anticipate having to make any further changes to the course, i.e. number of modules or credits in a year, in response to issues arising from the pandemic. However, if this becomes necessary, the changes will be highlighted to students via email before enrolment.
Unless government advice instructs otherwise, Study Abroad programmes will take place in 2021/22. The safety of all our students is paramount, therefore, as per normal practice, all Study Abroad activities must also be approved by the University's insurers to ensure that students are adequately protected during their period abroad. We will provide updates as the pandemic situation stabilises and/or further government advice is released.
Changes can be made to courses as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and in response to feedback from students and other key stakeholders. Any such changes made to the composition of the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.
The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, we do not anticipate having to make any further changes to module titles and summaries or to the availability of modules in response to issues arising from the pandemic.
Changes can be made to modules as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to module titles, module summaries and/or availability of modules will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.
We expect to deliver the course within the planned timescales to enable successful students to progress through and graduate from the course without delay.
In exceptional circumstances the sequence of learning and teaching activities may be changed in 2021/22, e.g. moving those modules which can be delivered more effectively to the first teaching block and moving back those – such as practical modules and placements – which may be more difficult to deliver due to some ongoing restrictions.
In some cases, it may be necessary to delay placement modules which may then impact the length of the course. In these circumstances the University will guide students through the appropriate options available to ensure students are able to make informed choices.
We have not changed entry requirements as a direct result of the pandemic.
We have not changed entry requirements for international students as a direct result of the pandemic.
As we transition from the pandemic restrictions, we expect to steadily increase the proportion of on-campus teaching. We will continue to provide a proportion of online learning, as experience has shown that this enriches and supports the student learning experience.
If the pandemic affects teaching and learning activities in 2021/22 more than we currently anticipate, the proportion of online learning will increase. However, unless a lockdown is enforced, we will ensure that all courses provide a reasonable percentage of their teaching and learning activities on campus.
Should your circumstances prevent your attendance at on-campus sessions, you should still be able to engage with your course remotely in a way that allows you to progress. Where this is not possible, for example on courses with high practical content, your course team will be able to advise you on the options available to you.
The University will continue to closely monitor government announcements and advice in relation to the pandemic and, where required, will take any necessary action in order to comply with such advice.
In the event that a further lockdown is enforced in 2021/22 the University will aim to deliver the course fully online once more. The majority of our courses are prepared to be delivered fully online if the situation requires it. Where the quality of the student experience may be compromised, or the course is unable to be delivered fully online, the University may need to suspend the delivery of that course until a time that it can be delivered. Students will be supported in these situations to ensure they are able to make the right choices for their particular circumstances.
Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled learning and teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours were not and will not be made as a direct result of the pandemic.
‘Scheduled learning and teaching' includes teaching delivered online, either live or recorded/on demand.
Your individualised timetable for teaching block 1 (i.e. up to December 2021) should be available by the end of August. Timetables for teaching block 2 (i.e. from January 2022) will not be available until the autumn. We make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible.
In 2020/21 it was agreed that scheduled learning and teaching could take place on any day of the week between 9am and 9pm, to maximise the time available for teaching in order to accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing. This meant we sometimes had to use Wednesday afternoons and enrichment week for additional teaching slots. If we need to accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing in 2021/22 we expect to adopt a similar approach. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.
The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, do not anticipate having to make any further changes to the course, i.e. to the overall methods of assessments, in response to issues arising from the pandemic. However, if this becomes necessary, the changes will be highlighted to students via email before enrolment.
Changes are made to modules, including how they are assessed, as part of normal enhancement processes to keep our modules up to date with current developments in that subject area and in response to feedback received from students and other key stakeholders. Any changes to the overall methods of assessment for Year 1 of the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.
If social distancing or lockdown restrictions are in place in 2021/22, online alternative options to formal on-campus examinations, including practical examinations, will be made available to students where possible.
No changes are expected to the general level of experience or status of staff involved in delivering the course.
Staff are engaged in Continuous Professional Development activities to develop their teaching expertise, as part of the normal enhancement processes, to ensure that course teams have the required breadth of expertise.
There will be no changes to published tuition fees for 2021/22.
As we transition from the pandemic restrictions, we expect to be able to increase student access to on-campus facilities. Students will therefore have access to University computers and library facilities.
If, due to an increase in social distancing requirements or the enforcing of a lockdown, it becomes necessary to significantly increase the proportion of teaching delivered online, students will need a personal laptop or computer and access to the internet to participate in online teaching and learning activities. Students who are able to travel will have access to computers on campus, however, it should be noted that access to on-campus facilities might be restricted if social distancing requirements are enforced.
The University is committed to supporting students who are unable to access suitable technology to ensure equity of access in a blended delivery mode.
There will be no changes to any existing University funding arrangements for 2021/22. Currently there are no indications from the UK government that there will be any changes to government funding arrangements.
There will be no changes to published tuition fees or funding arrangements specifically relating to international students for 2021/22.
We are anticipating that placements (including work and clinical placements) and field trips included as part of the course will go ahead in 2021/22. However, to ensure students gain maximum value from placement activities, it may be necessary to reschedule them to later in the year, when any impacts from the pandemic restrictions are minimised.
Any proposed changes to placements or field trips would go through the University's agreed processes where the impact of the change will be carefully considered.
In the interests of the health and wellbeing of our students, all placement arrangements must be approved by the University's insurers and the appropriate risk assessments made before students are sent on a placement.
Courses which require placements or field trips to be completed in order to pass relevant modules will have contingency plans in place in the event that a placement or field trip cannot be completed due to another lockdown or more stringent social distancing measures.
No changes will be made to the qualification awarded, e.g. BSc (Hons), MSc, etc., as a direct result of the pandemic.
Changes can be made to courses, including the qualification awarded (although very rare), as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area. Any changes made to the qualification awarded for the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.
The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and in accordance with any professional body requirements. We do not anticipate making any further changes to courses in response to any issues arising from the pandemic and which would put at risk any professional body accreditation status.
International students should maintain awareness of the UK government's and their home country's government's advice on possible travel restrictions. The University will closely monitor advice and guidance published by the UK government and assess its impact on our international students. Appropriate advice and guidance will be provided as and when required.