MA in Art & Politics

  • Length
    1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
  • Department

Course overview

"And the most politically indoctrinating thing you can do to a human being is to show him, every day, that there can be no change." (Wim Wenders, The Act of Seeing, Faber and Faber, London, 1997, pp. 52-3)

Innovative and dynamic, the MA in Art and Politics was launched in 2009 and has already become a leader in its field.

It was inspired by appeals to situate 'practice' in terms of a variety of contemporary discourses and the increased incorporation of political and social agendas into art. Our programme is one that views both art and politics differently – ie in relation to a central dynamic of change. 

Focusing on issues that are key to both art and politics, we explore practices and issues related to public space, democracy, equality, participation, justice and affect. By shuttling across art and politics, rather than seeking to produce a synthesis between the two, we probe a range of practices and strategies which, in the encounter between art and politics, play out in numerous forms and very different kinds of social spaces.

Working with a mixed constituency of students from Art, Politics, International Studies, Philosophy, Cultural Studies as well as numerous other disciplines, we take up the challenge to develop frameworks and spaces which are mixed and mobile and which can operate in trans-disciplinary settings. In such a mixed context, questions about  ‘autonomy’ and the political character of art take on renewed vigour and urgency. Similarly we are able to probe art’s potential in times of political and cultural crisis. Why for instance, do contemporary arts practices increasingly claim ‘political’ origins and motivations, while political parties seek the involvement of art and artists of all kinds? Or, what good are practices that are neither art nor politics?

The MA in Art and Politics provides students with the opportunity to explore numerous questions and practices in a genuinely interdisciplinary setting. Working from a strong theoretical basis, the programme aims to better understand a range of empirical, aesthetic and conceptual issues which traverse and exceed both 'art' and 'international' politics.

It aims further to explore those strategies of intervention and those practices and modes of thought which are, as yet, uncertainly situated and to consider how we, as participants in a variety of cultural and public spheres, may yet be able to affect what can be seen, said and thought.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Bernadette Buckley

Modules & structure

Core modules

You take the following three core modules:



Module title Credits
  Art and Politics: Theory History Event 30 credits
  Group Project (MA in Art and Politics) 30 credits
  MA in Art & Politics Dissertation 60 credits

Option modules

You also choose option modules to the value of 60 credits from either:

  • A list provided by the Department of Politics at the beginning of the academic year


  • A combination of from:
    • a list provided by the department at the beginning of the academic year, and
    • others modules from other departments in Goldsmiths approved by the Department of Politics, but not amounting to more than 30 credits from outside the Department of Politics

Project work

You are required to undertake project-based work in accordance with your own political and aesthetic interests. The purpose of this project-work is to find ways of ‘doing’ politics which employ ‘artistic’ strategies and interventions in their realisation.

Projects have a student-centred material focus, complementing the theoretical emphasis of core and optional modules, and will seek to raise awareness of particular issues and draw attention to their position in the public arena. They may be written, broadcast, performed, curated, made, or involve any other kind of appropriately documented submission.

Training in digital and genetic media will be provided where necessary. Project training is monitored and co-ordinated by the artist-in-residence in the Department of Politics – who will oversee students’ individual needs while ensuring that there is continuity of support and opportunities to identify and build upon individual strengths and weaknesses.

Download the programme specification for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.


Voted one of the top political universities in the UK by students**


In the Department of Politics at Goldsmiths our focus goes beyond voting systems, parliaments and the conventional arenas of power. And it looks beyond the West. 

We study a politics for the 21st century, in which anarchism may be as important as liberalism, and in which Asia and Africa are as economically and geopolitically important as Europe and North America. 

We also take an unconventional approach. So you may be working on group projects, writing a blog, or submitting a Manga comic instead of an essay.

Find out more about the Department of Politics.

**Which? University 2014

Skills & careers


Our graduates come from diverse disciplinary backgrounds and embark on highly contrasting career paths. These include careers in curating (both independent and embedded); art practice (both collaborative and individual); journalism (radio, web and print journalism); performing arts; central and local government; work with NGOs (national and international); research (academic and professional); project development, administration and management. Some of our graduates undertake further professional training in law; journalism; education and social work.


You'll develop: a critical engagement with the broad field of international studies, communication skills, research skills, presentation skills.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.



"I work as a Broadcast Journalist at the BBC World Service and know that without this MA, I wouldn't be where I am now."

"The MA in Art & Politics is a fantastic programme. I graduated in 2010 and found the course incredibly stimulating. I started to think in a different way about the relationship between art and politics.

My first degree was in International Relations so this course enabled me to better understand how artistic practises are utilised by international activists.

I'm now working as a Broadcast Journalist at the BBC World Service and know that without this MA, I wouldn't be where I am now. I'm actually delving back into my dissertation for a documentary I'm currently making for the BBC. Well worth it!"

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in a relevant/related subject. 

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

IELTS 7.0 (including 7.0 in the written test)

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online
  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

When to apply

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September. 

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.

If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline. 

Selection process

Admission to many programmes is by interview, unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally, we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.

Find out more about applying.

Fees & funding

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

Find out more about tuition fees.

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