University of the Arts London (UAL) MA Photography (PG Dip exit award) Media Date of production/revision July 2015

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1 Programme Specification Every taught course of study leading to a UAL award is required to have a Programme Specification. This summarises the course aims, learning outcomes, teaching, learning and assessment methods, and course structure. Programme Specifications are developed through course validation and are formally approved by UAL Validation Sub Committee (VSC). They are available to prospective students through the course web page, and must be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure currency of information (for example, following any minor modification or local developments). Awarding Body University of the Arts London (UAL) Teaching Institution London College of Communication Final Award Relevant QAA Benchmark Statement MA Photography (PG Dip exit award) Media Date of production/revision July 2015 Introduction Master of Arts Photography is a four term (15 months) full time course. The course is designed to enable you to produce an original body of photographically related practice within the context of a critical understanding of contemporary visual culture. The design of the course meets the terms and conditions for the award of the title of Master of Arts as approved by University of the Arts London. MA Photography was launched in 1997 in the School of Media. It emerged out of a thriving photographic culture within the School, which now includes BA (Hons) Photography, BA (Hons) Photojournalism, MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography. Photography at LCC has achieved an outstanding reputation for its open, flexible and innovative approach to practice. Alumni from all courses regularly win national and international awards and exhibit and publish their work, and those from the MA also go on to pursue MPhil / PhDs in both practice-led and academic research. The School of Media has developed a flourishing research culture and, along with the other colleges at University of the Arts London, is leading the way in the development of practice-led research. MA Photography has close links with the Photography and Archive Research Centre (PARC), which is based at LCC, and its Director Professor Val Williams as well as the Photography and the Contemporary Imaginary research hub, other UAL research groups and Special Collections. Course Aims 1

2 This course aims to: Equip you with the knowledge, abilities and methods - creative, conceptual, theoretical, aesthetic, technical and organisational, that enable you to propose, research and develop an original Body of Work grounded in an independent critical stance; Develop a systematic and comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the critical and professional context in which your practice is situated; Develop your abilities in critical reflection, equipping you to develop your practice through a process or research, reflection and evaluation and to engage with problems and insights at the forefront of the discipline; Enable you to work autonomously and through doing so to resolve, bring to completion and exhibit, publish or otherwise present in the public domain a Body of Work that displays originality, critical reflection and an understanding of the critical and professional contexts of photographic practice (MA). Prepare you to further develop a career in the expanded field of photography as a photographer or fine artist, or to use the knowledge you acquire across a range of related areas such as teaching, writing or curating. It will also prepare you for the possibility of further postgraduate research. Course Outcomes The outcomes that you will have demonstrated upon completion of the course, are (the applicable university marking criteria are in brackets at the end of each course outcome) Propose and develop an original Body of Work through a process of research, experimentation, interaction with your peers and the acquisition and application of a high level of knowledge and skills (Research) (Analysis) (Subject Knowledge) (Experimentation) (Communication and Presentation) Demonstrate the ability to work experimentally and creatively in a self-directed, sustained and deliberate manner (Experimentation) (Technical Competence) (Personal and Professional Development) (Collaborative and / or Independent Professional Working) Demonstrate a clear and critical understanding of the research models and theoretical frameworks appropriate to your own practice (Research) (Analysis) (Subject Knowledge) (Communication and Presentation) Demonstrate through your work and written reflection a critical awareness of practice that engages with problems and insights at the forefront of the discipline and be able to situate your own practice in this context (Analysis) (Subject Knowledge) (Experimentation) (Technical Competence) (Communication and Presentation) 2

3 (Personal and Professional Development) Make effective written and verbal presentations of your practice and associated research process as appropriate to a range of contexts and audiences (Research) (Analysis) (Subject Knowledge) (Communication and Presentation) (Personal and Professional Development) Work both autonomously and as part of a team, for instance, in the collaborative project and the planning of the exhibition (Personal and Professional Development) (Collaborative and / or Independent Professional Working) Bring to completion and present to a professional standard a Body of Work which is fully researched and supported by clearly articulated written submissions. (Research) (Analysis) (Subject Knowledge) (Technical Competence) (Communication and Presentation) (Personal and Professional Development) (Collaborative and / or Independent Professional Working) Learning and Teaching Methods: This is developed through lectures and seminars, student-led seminars and tutorials, visiting speakers and study visits; Critical context seminars explore and build your knowledge and understanding of contemporary practice and theoretical models; The development of a critical framework for the body of work is supported through the critical context seminars; During Unit Two there is a shift towards group tutorials with visiting tutors such as curators, critics, writers and editors as well as photographers and artists; Professional support is also provided through visiting speakers and services provided by SEE (Student Enterprise and Employability), including portfolio and business start-up advice; You are encouraged to develop the research/practice or theory/practice model most appropriate to your own body of work; The inter-relationship of theory and practice is central to the programme. The development of a critical framework and research base for the body of work is supported through the critical context seminars and tutorials; Whatever the chosen research/practice model, a continuing process of critical reflection is central to the development of the work, and is embodied in the submission of a written self-evaluation at the end of each Unit; Technical support is provided through tutorials and inductions; 3

4 The emphasis in all of the course learning and teaching methods is on your active participation in the learning process, and you are expected to contribute to individual or group sessions and to share insights from your studies and, where relevant, your own professional experience. In some cases, you will be asked to present an aspect of your work to other course members in either a formal or informal context. Interaction with peers and group learning are central to the programme of study. Assessment Methods: In the critical context paper you establish the research basis and conceptual foundations for the body of work. After an initial proposal; it is developed throughout the course and submitted in two stages for the unit one and unit two assessments. Your project proposal is written in three stages initial project proposal, intermediate project proposal, and final project proposal and submitted at the beginning of the course as well as for every assessment in order to propose the development for the next unit. The critical rationale is a contextualising statement presented with the final exhibition. It may take a variety of forms from the descriptive to the elliptical, but must provide the final version of the critical framework for the body of work; The processes of research and the production of the body of work, provide the opportunity for you to engage in periods of significant independent, self-directed study based on systematic creative and contextual research into an area of personal interest. You are required to keep a research dossier to map your research process; Unit Three, the Collaborative Unit, will give you the chance to work with others on the production of an interim show; You are expected to present the required work in a way which satisfies the relevant assessment criteria and demonstrates and develops your own professional interests; Assessment of the body of work is holistic. The separate elements within that unit research, practice, and critical writing are all used to come to a view as to the standard of work overall in relation to the unit learning outcomes, and in particular the degree of resolution in the relationship between practice, research and critical stance; In the last Unit Four you undertake the resolution and finalisation of your body of work and its appropriate presentation in the public domain through an exhibition or other outcomes you decide on, individually or as a group. You will be expected to contribute fully to the process of organisation, production and promotion of the overall presentation. 4

5 Reference Points The following reference points were used in designing the course: The Learning and Teaching policies of the University of the Arts London The College policies and initiatives Level descriptors Benchmark statements Programme Summary Programme structures, features, units, credit and award requirements: The MA course structure involves 4 units, totalling 180 credits. If you are unable to continue or decide to exit the course, there are two possible exit awards; a Postgraduate Certificate will be awarded on successful completion of the first 60 credits and a Postgraduate Diploma will be awarded on successful completion of the first 120 credits. Unit One: Exploring the Possibilities Following an Induction week, you begin to develop a body of work with tutorial support. This is the practice that defines your assessment submissions, and encompasses technical, theoretical and professional considerations. You will also receive a series of critical context seminars to help you start developing your critical context paper synopsis. Unit Two: Taking and Idea Forward Unit Two builds on the experience of Unit One, allowing you to consolidate and develop your knowledge and experience. In it you will focus on and further develop one of the ideas for the body of work, explored in Unit One. You also continue to develop the critical framework for the work through the critical context seminars, and the submission of the critical context paper. Increasingly, students take responsibility for leading seminars and group tutorials with staff acting as facilitators. Unit Three: Collaborative Unit In the Collaborative Unit you will develop an interim show of your work together with your peers and other input. Unit Four: Resolving Outcomes In Unit Four you undertake the resolution, finalisation and presentation of the body of work in the exhibition or any other outcomes you decide on, individually or as a group. Through both practice and the written submission of the critical rationale you will demonstrate a reflective understanding of the medium, the critical and professional context, and the position of your practice within it. You will need a high level of commitment and self-management to achieve the course outcomes. As a guide, 10 credits involves a total of 100 hours of study, 5

6 including taught sessions, independent study and research work. You will need to plan your work very carefully. In addition to formal teaching sessions, seminar work, presentations, and tutorial work you will also be expected to engage in independent research, writing, course work, the origination and development of the body of work and (at MA level) the completion of the body of work, for which both tutor and peer support is provided through individual tutorials, group discussions and peer review. Distinctive features of the course: A highly successful programme with an established reputation and significant outside acclaim. A broad-based and flexible approach to teaching and learning which embraces a wide range of practices and philosophies and which situates the photographic image in the expanded field of visual culture. An emphasis on the phenomenon of the photograph rather than on any particular technology, enabling students to operate flexibly across genres and technologies, and in particular to occupy interdisciplinary territories which on the one hand cross the boundaries between fine art media, documentary and written practices, and on the other are able to incorporate traditional and digital technologies, the moving image and sound. An intensive, focused and specialised programme with a fine art and conceptual orientation and a high level of theory/practice integration, the main aim of which is to enable you to develop a personal and distinctive approach to photography through the production of a major body of work grounded in critical reflection and the development of an independent critical stance. Situated in the School of Media with a thriving photographic research culture emphasising the development of practice-led models of research, the course espouses a holistic yet flexible approach to the relationship between embedded theory and practice, supporting students from different backgrounds to find their own voice. Part of a developing framework of postgraduate courses at LCC, the School of Media includes MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography and BA (Hons) Photography. There is opportunity for enrichment and interaction between these programmes through professional and research seminars and visiting speaker programmes. A highly qualified, experienced and research-active course team and visiting tutors from a variety of backgrounds. Extensive contacts with artists, photographers, writers, curators, editors, galleries, museums, and other representatives of the arts and media industries. A varied programme of visiting speakers and research events. Benefit from the wide field of course contacts after graduation, through a long- 6

7 established alumni network. Alumni achievements are circulated as well as employment opportunities and news of events. Recruitment and Admissions Admission Policy/Selection Criteria Applicants are expected to demonstrate sufficient prior knowledge of and / or potential in, photography to be able to successfully complete the programme of study and/ or have an academic or professional background in a relevant subject. MA Photography does not include technical teaching (although it does include technical advice and support) and if there are specific programmes or techniques that you need to acquire in order to realise your creative ideas on MA Photography then we suggest that you acquire these before joining the course. Entry Requirements An applicant will be considered for admission who has already achieved an educational level equivalent to an Honours Degree in a field relevant to Photojournalism and Documentary Photography. Graduates of all disciplines may apply, although most students have a background in Arts and Humanities subjects. 0.1 This educational level may be demonstrated by: a) Possession of the qualifications named above b) Possession of equivalent qualifications c) Prior experiential learning, the outcome of which can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required, (as indicated by at least three years of experience which has led to a demonstrable level of expertise in the understanding and use of graphic design) or d) A combination of formal qualifications and experiential learning which, taken together, can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required Other entry routes If you do not have the required qualifications, but do have professional experience you may be eligible to gain credit for previous learning and experience through the AP(E)L system. Your experience is assessed as a learning process and tutors will evaluate that experience or currency, validity, quality and sufficiency. Language requirements (International/EU) International and EU students: In the case of applicants whose first language is not English, then IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) is required. A minimum of 5.5 in reading, listening, writing and speaking. 7

8 If your first language is not English you should check you have achieved the correct IELTS level in English. Further information is available on the Language Requirements page: International Applicants Visit the Support for International Students page for contact details for International Admissions. Admission with Academic Credit 0.4 An applicant may be considered for admission at a point in the course later than the start of the planned programme of study, provided that the applicant has fulfilled, in a way judged to be equivalent, the requirements of the intended programme of study prior to the proposed point of entry. 0.5 In order for an applicant to be admitted under 1.4 above, the University must be satisfied that by successfully completing the remaining part of the course, the applicant would have fulfilled the objectives of the course and have the opportunity to attain the standard required for the award. Deferred entry To see the university s Regulations on Admissions, please go to the following link: For Home/EU applicants, the Course Leader will determine whether deferred places are available for the course. If you wish to defer your place, it is advisable to indicate this on your application form and/or discuss this with the admissions team and course leader before/after applying at the earliest opportunity. In all cases, deferred places will only be held for one year. International applicants are normally permitted to defer entry to any programme of study for one year only, after which they will be asked to re-apply. Admission Procedures 1. Application: Application forms are available online with supporting information about the course. Completed applications to be accompanied by appropriate certificates and evidence of all professional activity paid or unpaid. The application should be supported by: A portfolio of images, either print or digital, with prints no larger than A4 in size. The portfolio should indicate an understanding of project-based visual 8

9 inquiry. It is preferable to show projects rather than individual images. Applicants from a commercial background are encouraged to develop personal projects before they apply. The portfolio may be accompanied by an explanatory statement about the projects of no more than 300 words. A project proposal of no more than 300 words indicating the intended practice project and accompanying research for a specific project that is to be developed on the course and how the MA is going to further a contemporary understanding of conceptual photographic practice. The project proposal should be a feasible, researched outline of a specific project that you are going to photograph and why. This should include how the proposed project is going to be developed by elaborating on your idea for the project to give us a sense of subject, style, approach, concept, research, and how much you know about contemporary fine art photography. The portfolio should indicate that you have an understanding of project-based visual inquiry. The application as a whole should give us a sense how you locate yourself in your area of practice and how MA Photography is going to further your understanding of conceptual photographic practice. Applicants whose first language is not English must hold IELTS 6.5. The LCC AP(E)L policy is applied. 2. Interview: The most suitable applicants are interviewed. Candidates need to demonstrate, through interview, their knowledge of the world of photography and engage in critical discussion. Successful Applicants: Applicants who are accepted onto the course but who have not previously completed an honours degree in photography and hence have not studied photography history and critical theory to undergraduate level are asked to do the following preliminary reading before the course starts: Wells, Liz (2005): Photography: A Critical Introduction, Routledge Cotton, Charlotte (2004): The Photograph as Contemporary Art, Thames & Hudson Elkins, James ed. (2007) Photography Theory, New York: Routledge Godfrey, Tony (1998) Conceptual Art, London: Phaidon Edwards, Steve (2006): Photography; A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University 9

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