This Masters offers you equal opportunity to develop theory and practice-based research about how information systems are embedded in the technical, cultural, aesthetic, and political structures of society.
Developed by the Digital Culture Unit, the MA Digital Culture programme primarily takes place in the Centre for Cultural Studies Media Lab, a hack hub and maker space that is flexibly re-created by each year's intake of students.
In the lab we explore and interrogate the techno-cultural issues of the day using python, Linux, physical computing, Raspberry Pi, mobile phones and different forms of networks.
This lab-based degree provides consistent and thorough support for you to create a self-directed approach to these and related materials. Students do not necessarily need to have a technical background and each year we have students with prior experience in the arts, humanities, sciences, making a very lively mix.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact the Centre for Cultural Studies
Modules & structure
We use art methodologies alongside those from computing and cultural theory. A key method adopted in the Lab is to make the space between theory and practice ambiguous. The class makes and explores things, attempting to explain the phenomena being looked at or thought about. Explanation in this context is not necessarily a reduction of phenomena to literature or a system of logics, but can instead be thought of as knowledge incorporated into a thing that we create, look at or point to, through figuring out a proposition.
In practice this means we may:
- Learn MySQL databases and explore how their integral model of entities and relations create new forms of governance and aid in the performance of different scales of power
- Build simple telephony systems while taking inspiration from early/current data networks and their relationship to cultural change, resource wars and political insurrection
- Explore systematic failure within computation by exploring hacking and security issues such as creating fork bombs, doing penetration testing and reviewing the need for cryptography post-Snowden
We actively work with cultural theory in a world with computation as a central pillar. The Digital Culture Unit in the Centre for Cultural Studies, under whose auspices this programme is run, has been a pioneer of practice-led theory. This method pursues a form of working on projects that at the same time undertakes research and writing that incorporates contemporary cultural theory, philosophy and cultural studies. The Masters, therefore, is also ideal for students with primarily theoretical interests who wish to ground these with concrete knowledge and experience.
Building on the Digital Culture Unit's research excellence in software studies, media philosophy and digital art, students will learn to employ cutting edge research and practice-based methodologies to enhance their own skill set. The programme gives you the opportunity to develop critical and speculative theoretical and practice-based research on the ways computational media technologies are embedded in the technical, cultural, aesthetic, and political structures of society and how we interact with them. The applications of such work are highly diverse. The degree helps students to prepare for or to create a bridge towards a critical career in the cultural, creative, educational, analytical, and computational sectors.
|Software Studies||15 credits|
|Practical Methods Term 1||15 credits|
|Practical Methods Term 2||30 credits|
|Practical Methods Term 3||forms part of Dissertation|
|MA in Digital Culture Dissertation||60 credits|
Recommended option modules
Students take option modules to the value of 30 credits. Modules can be chosen from across Goldsmiths departments and centres. Below are a number of option modules especially recommended for your programme:
|Crisis and Critique||30 credits|
|Cultural Theory||30 credits|
|Postcolonial Theory||30 credits|
|Theories of the Culture Industry: work, creativity and precariousness||30 credits|
|Practices of the Culture Industry||30 credits|
|Media Philosophy||15 credits|
|Biopolitics & Aesthetics||15 credits|
Other option modules, by department
You may prefer to select from the full range of optional modules available across the Goldsmiths departments listed below. Please note that not all the modules listed below may be open to you - your final selection will depend upon spaces available and timetable compatibility.
- Centre for Cultural Studies
- Computing (Social Media Campaigns)
- Confucius Institute (Mandarin language)
- Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship
- Media and Communications
Please note that the modules can change from year to year, and not all the modules listed may be open to you – your final selection will depend upon spaces available and timetable compatibility.
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.
In the Centre for Cultural Studies (CCS) we’re dedicated to
theoretical and practical explorations in contemporary culture
Centre for Cultural Studies
We specialise in the study and design of culture: media technologies, software, art, urban space, and interventions in global geo-politics, for example. We engage at the same time in serious theoretical enquiry.
As a student in CCS you can benefit from our extensive events programme, which includes regular talks, workshops and film screenings. We also work closely with the Media, Sociology and Art departments at Goldsmiths, all of which have world-leading reputations.
Find out more about the Centre for Cultural Studies.
Learning & teaching
Staff who contribute to the programme:
- Luciana Parisi (Co-convener)
- Graham Harwood (Lab Director)
- Matthew Fuller (Software Studies)
- Bernard Stiegler (Media Philosophy)
- Scott Lash (Cultural Theory)
- Josephine Berry Slater (Biopolitics and Aesthetics)
Find out more about researchers in the Digital Culture Unit.
Skills & careers
You'll develop skills in:
- Theoretical and practice-based research methodologies
- Software and hardware production including basic electronics, programming, networking, telephony, relational database analyses
- Group working skills
- Event planning and production
The programme helps students to prepare for a critical career in the cultural, creative, educational, analytical, computational sectors.
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.
What our alumni are doing now
- Joao Wilbert (2008/9) has a background in web design and is now a Creative Technologist working at Google Creative Labs. www.jhwilbert.com
- Maria Beatrice Fazi (2008/9) has a BA in Philosophy and is now completing her PhD on Computation and Aesthetics at the Centre for Cultural Studies.
- Lisa Baldini (2010/11) is a New York based curator. In 2012 she has curated Code of Contingency.
- Loes Borges (2010/11) has a BA in Media and Cultural Studies and is now lab manager at the Digital Art Lab in Zoetermeer, (NL). www.loesbogers.com
- Tom Keene (2011/12) has a BA in Fine Arts and is now collaborating with Furtherfield, London-based media arts organisation, co-director of Brixton Remakery, a community-led recycling initiative. www.theanthillsocial.co.uk
- Marcos Chitelet (2011/12) has a BA in Design and is co-founder of the design agency DID, as well as political web platform Sentidos Comunes, and FaceEnergy, a start-up developing projects on energy efficiency for the city of Santiago, Chile.
Prizes and awards
In 2011, Alexandra Sofie Joensoon and Cliff Hemmet – both students from the MA – won a prestigious prize at the media arts festival Ars Electronica. Alex and Cliff created a low cost DIY telephony server together with sex workers activist group X-talk. Today the project is a platform for critical reflection on how communication practices and structures are materialised in the sex industry.
MA Interactive Media: 'You work on your own but never alone'
The Digital Culture Unit is very active in academic research, the arts, and experimental modes of social inquiry. The MA is jointly convened by the leading theorist Luciana Parisi (author of Contagious Architecture. Computation, Aesthetics and Space, MIT Press), who teaches Critical Theory, and international artist and Lab Director Graham Harwood (http://yoha.co.uk/), who teaches practice-based enquiry.
They are joined by theorist Matthew Fuller (editor of Software Studies, co-author of Evil Media, MIT Press) who teaches Software Studies; with special input from Bernard Stiegler (author of Technics and Time) who teaches Media Philosophy, Scott Lash (author of Critique of Information) who teaches Cultural Theory, and Josephine Berry Slater (editor of Mute Magazine), who teaches Biopolitics and Aesthetics.
At the Centre for Cultural Studies we are developing experimental modes of engagement that allow us to enquire into how the technical, cultural, aesthetic, and political structures of society are being transmuted into networks of interaction. This research has involved many of our ex-students working with us as volunteers, or visiting research students or as independent freelances on several projects.
Open Systems Association and alumni
In 2012, visiting research students worked with the Southend-on-Sea Education Trust, to produce 'Rebooting Computing', to provide innovative workshops around teaching code in schools. These students have then established the Open Systems Association.
This is an interdisciplinary network of practitioners and theoreticians that have continued to carry out projects after the MA. OSA offers current students the chance to participate and collaborate with ongoing artistic and intellectual projects. In particular, the OSA carries out weekly meetings in the lab and monthly public events.
You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in a relevant/related subject or an experiential background, in a relevant subject, and an ability to engage with cultural theory.
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.
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
- A 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.
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.