The central theme of the Photography (MA) programme is the exploration of, and experimentation with, the concept and practice of photography.
You are encouraged to utilise the medium as a cross-disciplinary, multimodal practice that can be seen as alternative and/or equivalent to conventional practice as a way of deciphering the contemporary world.
You will be introduced to innovative concepts such as ‘performed photography’, durational and/or serial methodologies and photography as event. This is designed as intellectual stimuli for your practice but it is you who will plot your own course through the programme.
Photography students are invited each year to submit proposals to the prestigious Studio Vortex workshop in Arles, France, run by acclaimed Magnum photographer, Antoine d’Agata. One student from our photography department per year will be chosen for this international workshop.
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University of Wales Trinity Saint David
Five reasons to study this course
- Swansea College of Art (SCA) UWTSD is recognised as a centre of excellence for art and design-based learning and research. The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) categorised 95.8% of our research as being of world renown or recognised as internationally excellent.
- The master's Contemporary Dialogues portfolio offers a unique interdisciplinary learning environment, with access to workshops and staff across the faculty.
- Master's and research students are supported by a highly committed and professional team of lecturers and technical demonstrators, who together create a diverse, supportive learning environment.
- SCA offers full and part-time options and, to help support our master's students, we deliver the majority of core teaching on Thursdays and Fridays.
- Whatuni ranked UWTSD 6th in the UK for postgraduate study in the Student Choice Awards 2018. The university has also been ranked 5th in the UK for postgraduate taught satisfaction in Creative Arts & Design, PTES 2018.
What you will learn
The master's Contemporary Dialogues portfolio at Swansea College of Art offers a unique postgraduate experience.
Graduates and professionals from a wide range of specialities benefit from multidisciplinary learning together with expert lecturers and a broad range of facilities.
You will have the opportunity to draw upon experiences and knowledge from across the different pathways and reflect this in your own personal study.
The research environment benefits greatly from the input of our teaching staff and visiting lecturers, most of whom are research-active artists, designers, and theoreticians of national and international significance.
In the first part of the programme, you will complete a series of taught modules. You will participate in multidisciplinary exchanges, through seminars and lectures involving students from all programmes within the Contemporary Dialogues portfolio, to stimulate new perspectives and challenge directions. The cross-fertilisation of ideas through such dialogues is expected to promote a rethinking of the perceptions and production techniques appropriate to your discipline.
Throughout the taught part of the programme, you will be expected to undertake material investigations and research into contemporary themes, with consideration given to environmental, economic, social, and cultural issues.
The master's portfolio is an innovative interdisciplinary postgraduate course. The course structure facilitates learning within and across disciplines, creating connections with staff and students with a breadth and depth of knowledge and experience.
The first part of the course is delivered through three 20-credit modules, which aim to expand experience and deepen knowledge, the emphasis is on experimentation and research.
The next phase of the course is student-led. Students select from a range of learning opportunities, which are of most interest and use to their individual learning experience. During this 60-credit module, students are encouraged to develop individual or collaborative research, through practical and theoretical exploration and experiment, supported by practical workshops, lectures, seminars and tutorials.
The final phase of the course is a student-led Major Project. Students consolidate the work with the aims of presenting the outcomes in some kind of public dissemination, such as, for example, an exhibition, product prototype or book. This part of the course is supported by seminars, tutorials and a programme of visiting lectures which offer professional development opportunities.
Semester 1/Year 1
The Thought Experiment
Conducted at the beginning of the master's programme in Art & Design, the Thought Experiment is a 20-credit module which provides an opportunity to discover research methods pertinent to the acquisition of experiential, as opposed to cognitive, knowledge, in a light-hearted but serious introduction to the programme.
Collaborative Dialogues follows, and is intrinsically linked to, the Thought Experiment module.
After watching all the student presentations, the idea is that collaborative teams of like, or complementary, minds are formed. These teams are tasked with developing a project which can be ‘real’ or hypothetical, blue-sky thinking or prototype in nature.
We are interested in your ability to collaborate, to work as a team and to harness your personal creativity into a team-working environment in ways which are positive and hopefully multiply the creative potential of the group.
The Coexistent Perspectives 20-credit module combines an introduction to complex theoretical and philosophical ideas with independent academic research.
Semester 2/Year 2
Explorative Research & Praxis
The Exploratory Research and Praxis Module is designed to enable students to develop ideas through practical experimentation and philosophical exploration. Ideas are posed and questioned, theories tested and ways of working developed.
During this semester, ideas developed during the first semester are carried forward. These may involve the continuation and development of collaborative concepts and/or ways of working, or an individual inquiry.
Semester 3/Year 3
This module continues on from findings in the Explorative Research and Praxis module. It is concerned with the completion and presentation of the candidate’s Major Project and requires evidence of original research and data gathering, as well as a literature review of theoretical and conceptual thought.
Your Confirmative Praxis provides an opportunity to develop a full-scale project, which would normally be presented/exhibited in the public arena. This project of work should show a clear trajectory of artistic inquiry of an individual nature, as students move from the time-tabled taught modules through to a period of negotiated individual personal work.
Assessment is carried out through coursework, both written practical and presented.
There is a 4,000-word theoretical essay with poster presentation in Semester 1, and a 5,000-word report in Semester 3, which accompanies the practical work.
There are no exams on this course. Students are formatively assessed throughout a module. Summative assessment takes place at the end of a module, which includes presentation of the work to the assessment team.
A variety of teaching and learning methods are used throughout the course, which include, among others:
These tutorials are held on a regular basis.
In Semester 1, full-time/Year 1, part-time, each student sees and discusses his/her work with a member of staff as part of each module. In Semesters 2 and 3, full-time/Years 2 and 3, part-time, students work more independently and sign up for tutorials within, or across, their discipline, in addition to those scheduled when their work requires support.
As a team, we ensure that every student in the final semester/year of the course is seen by at least one member of the academic staff each week.
These are held on a regular basis, across all stages of the course, with one member of staff. They provide an excellent opportunity for students to share and exchange ideas with their peers in a structured manner, in addition to valuable input from staff.
Informal & Formal presentations
Some of the modules have a presentation of ideas as part of the module outcome and are an essential way of sharing ideas across the course. Presenting work informally to peers is also part of the seminar teaching and a way of getting valuable feedback on the progress of the work.
At the end of the course, there is an opportunity, if appropriate, to show outcomes from the course in a curated exhibition. Students are also supported to create their own exhibitions during the middle part of the course, if they wish to do so.
Student and Swansea Life
We normally require an undergraduate 2.1. However, we also consider candidates with relevant experience and aim to interview all applicants. Where possible, we invite prospective students to experience a day of teaching to see if it suits their expectations.
Our students are taught transferable skills and professional practice. Although the course is interdisciplinary, it is situated within the Arts sector, and therefore, many students develop careers in the cultural sector as practitioners, writers, and researchers.
Our students have access to a diverse range of equipment and resources which, in most cases, is sufficient to complete their programme of study. We provide the basic materials necessary for students to develop their practical work within our extensive workshop and studio facilities.
However, it is likely that art and design students will incur some additional costs in the extension of their personal practice. Examples include purchasing their own specialised materials and equipment, joining optional study trips, and paying for printing.
Depending on distance and duration, optional study visits can vary in cost from approximately £10 to visit local galleries and exhibitions, to £200 plus for overseas or longer UK study visits. These costs cover such things as transport and entry to venues and accommodation. There are normally reduced rates for our students.
"I chose to study the Contemporary Dialogues course because I absolutely knew it would allow me and my photographic practice to develop in a way that simply wouldn’t have happened at the other universities I had researched."
"The Contemporary Dialogues MA provided not only the ideal arena for engaging with photography but became a place where all of my latent interests were encouraged to the fore by the stimulating lectures, tutorials, and practicums by tutors of diverse specialisms, art practices, and interests. The course exceeded my expectations: acting as a means of synthesising all my disparate academic concerns".