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  • Photography MA

Photography MA

Why choose this course?

On this MA Photography degree you will embark on a fascinating journey of visual experimentation and theoretical contextualisation in exploring the boundaries of the photographic through practice-led research.

You will develop a major body of practical work for exhibition 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.

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 17 months 3–5 days per week September 2020
Location Kingston School of Art, Knights Park

Reasons to choose Kingston

  • The course ethos is to offer highly tailored and bespoke support to build your self -confidence and evolving practice, and enable you to take on ambitious projects and ownership of your ideas.
  • Facilities include analogue and digital suites, a wet darkroom, professional photo studios, a finishing and demonstration area and camera store. You will have access to film and animation suites, bookmaking, printmaking and 3D workshops.
  • There are visits to galleries, photography festivals and other cultural spaces, as well as study tours (visits are optional and incur an extra cost).
  • Studies culminate in a show at Kingston School of Art, where you can exhibit your work.

What you will study

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.

 

Modules

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.

Core modules

Critical Theory in Photography and Visual Culture

30 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.

Photography Practices

60 credits

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.

Advanced Photography Practices

90 credits

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.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

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:

  • a BA (Hons) degree (or its equivalent) in a related or appropriate subject. However, each application is considered on its own merits and therefore previous experience and qualifications may be taken into account.

Typical entry qualifications set for entrants to the field:

  • at least a 2.2 or preferably a 2.1. BA (Hons) degree (or its equivalent) in a related or appropriate subject. Each application is considered on its own merits and all candidates are interviewed.
  • International and mature students with relevant experiences, interest, motivation and commitment are welcomed.

Teaching and assessment

You'll be assessed through photographic practice, research portfolios, blogs, essays and oral presentations.

Guided independent study

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 document 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.

Support for postgraduate students

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.

Your workload

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

Type of teaching and learning
  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 360 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1440 hours

How you will be assessed

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

Type of assessment
  • Coursework: 93%
  • Practical: 7%

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Class sizes

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.

Who teaches this course?

The teaching team foster a strong year group ethos with many shared and group activities creating a rich and supportive learning and working environment. The staff team consists of internationally recognised research-active academics and visiting speakers and lecturers.

Fees for this course

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • MA full time £9,500

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

  • MA full time £17,600

Additional costs

  • Field trips are optional and but are encouraged. The costs for field trips in London are minimal. There are suggested field trips to photography and film exhibitions and festivals nationally and abroad but these are optional.
  • You will need to pay for all other materials including analogue film and analogue and digital printing processes.
  • Costs regarding your own chosen art materials and specialist medium will be depends on how you choose to research and realise your work. For the interim exhibition and final exhibition costs you will incur costs. However this cost will entirely depend on the kind of work you are producing. Presentation costs for printing, framing and mounting of your work etc. can be in the region of £300- 1,500. Students are encouraged, where possible, to fundraise and attract sponsorship to cover project costs, especially in the final year when students decide on the scope of their final project and how to exhibit their final exhibition.

Funding and bursaries

Kingston University offers a range 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:

Facilities

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:

  • 3D workshop, with ceramics, concrete, resin-casting, plastics, metalwork, woodwork and a bronze-casting foundry, as well as a Big Build space for Architecture, set design and large scale model making
  • Animation and post production studios
  • Digital Media workshop
  • Fashion (knitting and sewing workshops), with digital and analogue facilities, plus a working dress archive which includes pieces from 1750 to the present day
  • HackSpace (for collaborative, creative, solutions-focussed projects)
  • Letterpress and printmaking workshop, with digital and analogue facilities, to experiment creatively
  • Moving Image workshop, with studios, editing suite, and industry-standard equipment
  • Photography workshop, including studios, colour, and black and white darkrooms, processing facilities.  This professional-standard suite includes two new digital imaging areas, darkroom areas, two double height photography studios and a general preparation, finishing and demonstration area. There is also an extensive range of equipment for loan and students are able to purchase photography materials. The colour and black and white darkrooms provide extensive facilities for film processing.

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:

  • Dorich House - the former studio home of the sculptor Dora Gordine and her husband the Hon. Richard Hare, a scholar of Russian art and literature. Now Grade II listed, the building was completed in 1936, to Gordine's design, and is an exceptional example of a modern studio house created by and for a female artist.
  • Stanley Picker Gallery - one of the leading examples of a university gallery in the UK. Its public activities are dedicated to the research, commissioning and presentation of innovative new practice across the fields of art, design and architecture for general, academic and specialist audiences.
  • Project spaces at Knights Park campus, which you can book for the exhibition of large-scale work. 

What our graduates say

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!

Franscesco Rocchi

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.

Doris Himmelbauer

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.

Luisa Riekes

Student work

Film and photography research at Kingston School of Art

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:

  • haptics: touch, sense and contact;
  • archive and the junction between documentary & fiction;
  • transfiguration, mythology, ethnography;
  • political, social, ethnicity, poetic, participatory;
  • ecology, landscape, life-worlds;
  • species discourses and film ethics;
  • philosophy, psychoanalysis, hauntology and the image;
  • the animated cusp of still and moving image;
  • science and lens-based media; and
  • pioneers: the genesis of film & photography

Related courses

Postgraduate study
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