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MA in Digital Media: Technology & Cultural Form

  • Length
    1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
  • Department
    Media and Communications
  • Funding available

Course overview

The MA in Digital Media is unique in its combination of practical and theoretical approaches to contemporary media and technology.

The established and exciting degree is designed to help you understand digital transformations in media, culture and society and apply this understanding in practice, in the media and creative industries and in further research. You will be equipped with skills that can be applied to current and future developments in digital media, social media, computing and other aspects of technology.

The MA in Digital Media educates aspiring media practitioners and academics as well as early and mid-career professionals who seek to reflect on their roles in a structured and stimulating learning environment designed to give all students up-to-the-minute knowledge of digital media and the skills to apply that knowledge to future developments.

The MA offers two pathways:

  • Pathway 1 is a theory programme where you learn about developments in digital media and technology from a wide range of perspectives
  • Pathway 2 is a theory and practice programme where you improve your skills, understanding and experience in one of the following areas:
    • Documentary
    • Image making
    • Journalism
    • Writing

Acclaimed academics and practitioners

Benefit from the experience and expertise of one of the world’s leading media and communications departments. The programme is convened by Professor Sarah Kember and you will be taught by theorists and practitioners of international standing.

Work placements and internships

The MA in Digital Media regularly attracts offers of work placements and internships. In the past these have come from Google, The Science Museum and N1creative.com. There is also £6,000 bursary available for UK students studying this course. Find out more about the Stationers' Postgraduate Bursary Scheme on our departmental awards page.

Facilities

Our students have access to state-of-the-art facilities including well-equipped lecture and seminar rooms, exhibition spaces, computer facilities and digital media suites.

The department is also currently host to the renowned philosopher of media and technology, Bernard Stiegler and students will have access to his modulein Media Philosophy as well as priority access to the innovative and popular option After New Media. Designed to complement the MA in Digital Media, this course provides a framework for thinking about the current media environment as well as future forms of human and computer interaction.

An established record

The MA in Digital Media has been redefining media theory and practice since 2004. Our students become proficient in:

  • the history, sociology and philosophy of digital media
  • the application of critical conceptual skills to specialist areas and future forms of media
  • multimedia skills in image making (photography, video, animation, graphic art) script writing, journalism and documentary 

MA Digital Media students have access to the pioneering option ‘After New Media’, currently a non-assessed online module which explores the themes of self mediation, ethical mediation and intelligent mediation, and develops a framework for thinking about 'life' after new media. As well as accessing a series of podcasts, students are offered reading groups and a masterclass with Professor Sarah Kember co-author of the book Life After New Media on which the course is based.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Professor Sarah Kember

Modules & structure

Overview

The programme consists of:

  • Two compulsory core modules
  • Pathway 1 - between two and four option modules (worth 60 credits) OR
  • Pathway 2 - a two-term practice block (worth 30 credits) and either one or two option modules (worth 30 credits)
  • The dissertation or the practice/theory project

Core modules

Module title Credits
  Digital Media: Critical Perspectives 30 credits
  Technology and Cultural Form: Debates, Models, Dialogues 30 credits

We offer a wide range of option modules each year. Below are some examples of modules that are currently running. For a full list, please contact the Media and Communications department.

Module title Credits
  Race, Empire and Nation 15 credits
  The City and Consumer Culture 15 credits
  Embodiment and Experience 15 credits
  Media Geographies 15 credits
  Media, Ritual and Contemporary Public Cultures 15 credits
  Music as Communication and Creative Practice 15 credits
  Promotional Culture 15 credits
  Public Culture and Everyday Life 30 credits
  The Structures of Contemporary Political Communication 30 credits and 15 credits
  Asking the Right Questions: Research and Practice 15 credits
  Campaign Skills: Theory and Practice 15 credits
  Journalism in Context 15 credits
  Media, Law and Ethics 15 credits
  Contemporary Screen Narratives in Practice and Theory 30 credits

Assessment

Seen take-home paper; essays; dissertation or practice/theory project and other production work in the area of documentary, image-making, journalism or fiction.

Programme overview

This is an exciting programme which offers a critical, contextual and practical approach to digital media and technology. It problematises approaches to the 'new' media in academic and professional debate, especially those which overemphasise the potential for radical social change led by a homogenised technology itself.

The programme is defined by its resistance to technological determinism and its insistence on the importance of addressing the social and historical contexts within which a range of media technologies are employed. In order to provide a contextual framework and facilitate the conceptualisation of digital media and technologies as fully cultural forms and processes, the programme will draw on a range of disciplines including: media and cultural studies, sociology, anthropology and philosophy. However, the programme will remain focused on key contemporary concerns about the potential role of digital media in society and on refiguring the contours of the 'new' media debate.

The programme offers two pathways. Pathway 1 addresses central theoretical and conceptual concerns relating to digital media. Pathway 2 combines theoretical analysis and practical work, offering students the opportunity to explore new media theories and concepts in practice. Pathway 2 is primarily aimed at students who already have some experience in one of the areas on offer: documentary; digital photography and image making; journalism; writing. It is meant to appeal to media industry professionals who are keen to reflect critically on their practice within a structured learning environment, graduates of practice-based courses but also those who have gained their practical experience in documentary; digital photography and image making; journalism or writing in informal settings.

Programme structure

The first compulsory core course is Digital Media - critical perspectives and this is taught in a small workshop format in the Autumn term. This course functions as a foundation for the second core course and offers students a map of the key debates in digital media. The course is taught in ten two hour workshop sessions and is supported by the provision of one-to-one tutorials.

The second compulsory core course is Technology and Cultural Form - debates, models, dialogues and this develops questions of technology, power, politics and subjectivity which were introduced in the first core course. The first part of this course highlights the key conceptual concerns of a contextualised approach to digital media plus the relevant debates and models formulated by key figures in the field. The second part of this course aims to generate a dialogue between theoreticians and practitioners around some of the most intellectually stimulating, contentious and contemporary ideas in the field without necessarily seeking a resolution. This course is taught in ten two hour workshop sessions during the Spring term and is supported by the weekly provision of one-to-one tutorials.

Students are required to take options from the lists provided by the Media and Communications, Anthropology, Comparative Literature and Sociology Departments as well as the Centre for Cultural Studies. Examples might include: Nature and Culture, Cultural Theory, Globalisation, Risk and Control, Embodiment and Experience, Political Communications. Options are taught primarily through lectures and seminars and take place in the Autumn or Spring terms.

Each student's option profile is discussed with the programme convenor in order to ensure that the balance of subject-specific topics is appropriate for the individual concerned. Option courses are taught primarily through lectures, seminars and tutorials and take place in the Autumn or Spring terms.

All students are required to produce either a 12,000 word dissertation on a topic agreed by the student and supervisor or a practice/theory project in the area of documentary, photography and image making, journalism or fiction. The length of the practical element is dependent on the media and the form used and will be agreed in advance with the supervisor. It will, however, be comparable with practical projects undertaken in practice MA programmes in the relevant field. Students undertaking the practice/theory project will also be expected to submit a 3-4000 word analysis of their practice which locates it within the theoretical debates explored in the MA as a whole. This essay may be presented as a separate document or as an integral part of the project depending on the nature of the project and by a agreement with both theory and practice supervisors.

Programme outcomes

The programme's subject specific learning outcomes require students to analyse and contextualise developments in digital media and technology with reference to key debates in the history, sociology, anthropology and philosophy of the media. Students who opt for the practice/theory pathway will also be required to produce material of publishable or broadcast standard and to evaluate the ways in which theoretical and practical insights intersect. All students will develop a wide range of transferable qualities and skills necessary for employment in related or unrelated areas. These are described by the Quality Assurance Agency as: 'the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility, decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations, and the independent learning ability required for continuing professional development'.

By the end of the programme students will be able to:

  • Map and critically evaluate key debates in the field of new media
  • Analyse and contextualise current and future developments in digital media and technology
  • Evaluate and articulate key historical, sociological, anthropological and philosophical approaches to the study of digital media and technology
  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of at least four differing areas of inquiry
  • Demonstrate an advanced level of conceptual knowledge and (where relevant) practical skill appropriate for a sustained piece of work in the field
  • Prepare and deliver clearly argued and informed work
  • Locate, retrieve and present relevant information for a specific project
  • Manage a complex array of competing demands and work effectively to a deadline
  • Work resourcefully and independently
  • Think critically and/or work practically within a given context

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.

Department

We are ranked:
27th in the world for communication and media studies**
1st in the UK for the quality of our research***

Media and Communications

We’ve also been ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top graduate universities for media professionals, because so many of our graduates go on to find jobs in the industry.

The department includes some of the top academics in the world for this discipline – the pioneers of media, communications and cultural studies. They actively teach on our programmes, and will introduce you to current research and debate in these areas. And many of our practice tutors are industry professionals active in TV, film, journalism, radio and animation.

We also run EastLondonLines.co.uk – our 24/7 student news website – which gives students the opportunity to gain experience working in a real-time news environment.

And we run regular public events featuring world-renowned writers and practitioners that have recently included Danny Boyle, Gurinda Chadha, Noel Clark and Tessa Ross. So you’ll get to experience the latest developments and debates in the industry.

Find out more about the Department of Media and Communications

**QS World University Rankings by subject 2016
***Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings

Skills & careers

Skills

We provide graduates with skills that are cutting edge: in the critical analysis and/or creative production of digital media; in the disciplinary knowledge and conceptual frameworks necessary for current and future forms of media and technology; in the awareness of how digital media and technologies are re-shaping society from the ways we communicate (through social media and web 2.0) to the increasingly ‘smart’ environments in which we live.

Careers

Our programme provides a theory and practice pathway and prepares students for work in the following areas:

  • media and creative industries; advertising, marketing and PR (graduates of the MA Digital Media have found work with Virgin Media, Google, the BBC and other leading organisations worldwide)
  • research and academia (graduates from this programme have gone on to study for PhD degrees in higher education institutions around the world and also here with us)
  • media production and new media art (graduates have exhibited, published and produced work in photography, journalism, TV, documentary, film and multimedia)

Graduate Ekaterina discusses her career:

"I work for a company, called Visual DNA, which already sounds like life happening After New Media. The company is the largest data provider in Europe and is totally multinational. We actually try to analyse human visual DNA, you memories, feelings, thoughts about the future, anticipations, etc by creating personality quizzes where instead of verbal answers we tend to use images.

My role is as Creative Developer. It involves working with images from concept to finding/shooting and post-production. My qualifications perfectly matched what they’ve been looking for, Digital Media rocks!

My tip for the new-to-be-graduates is this: physically go to places and companies and talk to people. It really opens up loads of possibilities, and when I tell someone where I’ve graduated from they look impressed, and there is some sort of respect coming from them."

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths

Student work

Mind the Gap by Sebastian Melo (Pathway 2 Documentary)
AR Planet by Yujin Yun/Moon Jung Hyun/Sam Oh

Student profiles

Sebastian

"Studying for the MA in Digital Media was a transformative experience that opened new personal and professional possibilities."

"I started the MA in Digital Media after several years of professional experience in the media industries. I discovered tools and knowledge that would have been hard to get anywhere else. The programme offered the critical capabilities to engage in a deeper level with my career and at the same time encouraged me to develop my own path by crossing disciplines and giving me the freedom to experiment.

Since graduating I've been engaged on video and performance projects at the Move Research Lab, developing among others the digital dance project Flatland.

My thesis project Superliminal was part of the Video and New Media Biennal (Santiago, Chile)

Other projects that I've been involved relate to the performative aspects of video and technology."

Ben

"Goldsmiths’ interdisciplinary approach to research has opened me to a wealth of ideas."

"I think I can say, without hyperbole, that the MA changed me profoundly; it certainly changed the way I looked at the world and encouraged me to seek out, if not more accurate answers, then certainly better questions. Goldsmiths’ interdisciplinary approach to research has opened me to a wealth of ideas, from the social sciences, arts and humanities into the natural sciences, biology and the field of biotechnology.

I am now in the last year (I hope) of a part time PhD. I’m still based in the Media and Communications department and am exploring a number of ideas I first encountered on my MA. My field is ‘new media’, but specifically biotechnology and I am studying a group of artists who are appropriating the techniques used to culture animal tissues (the same techniques behind the 'lab grown burger') in order to create (or grow) semi-living artworks.

I’ve also been lucky enough to have worked as a visiting tutor in the Media and Communications department since 2009, leading seminars for the undergraduate course ‘After New Media’. This has truly been an eye-opening experience. Goldsmiths undergraduates are a fascinating bunch – they are so much more engaged than I was at undergraduate level. I’m constantly amazed by their extensive reading and ability to critically engage with what is a very challenging subject. Teaching has become my passion – I love the enthusiasm of students and their ability to make me constantly re-assess my own ideas and opinions – I am sure I have learnt as much, if not more, from them as (I hope) they have learnt from me."  

Gabriela

"Two years after completing the MA Digital Media: Technology and Cultural Form, I decided to do my PhD under the supervision of Sarah Kember and Joanna Zylinska."

"Their conceptual argument in the MA - that digital media are best approached as part of complex processes of mediation - was crucial for my decision to study a PhD at Goldsmiths. It radicalised my understanding of what media and technology are about and thereby motivated a highly productive philosophical interrogation of my own writing 'about' them.

As a result, my PhD thesis - which is titled 'The Cultural Politics of Biotechnology: the Genetic Contamination of Mexican Nationalism' - is not at all about 'the media'. Rather, it is about how agricultural biotechnology 'mediates' and is 'mediated' in a specific material context by cultural, political, economic and technoscientific narratives.

Drawing on the critical and creative project of Kember and Zylinska, I seek to interrupt a tendency to figure biotechnology as a 'thing' that is represented in 'the media' by presenting my own critique of cultural nationalism as an act of biotechnological 'mediation'."

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

           Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement

  • 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)

When applying, please specify in your personal statement which is your preferred Practice Pathway (1 or 2). If you are applying for Pathway 2, please specifiy your chosen practice strand (documentary, image making, journalism or writing).

Applications for Practice Pathway 2 must be accompanied by a portfolio of work. When submitting your application, please also submit (upload under 'additional') an example of your recent work in a related field, or include links to a page hosting that work. Failing which, please post an example of that work to: Admissions Office, Goldsmiths, New Cross, London SE14 6NW, UK. Please make sure you include your application reference number (which you will receive when you enter your online application) and the MA degree title.

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 1 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.

Find out more about applying.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Find out more about tuition fees.

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.

Scholarships

The Department of Media and Communications regularly offers fee waivers for this MA

Stationers' Postgraduate Bursary

There is also £6,000 bursary available for UK students studying this course. Find out more about this scheme on our departmental awards page.

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