" alt="" />

MA in Interactive Media: Critical Theory & Practice

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.

About the department
Centre for Cultural Studies

1 year full-time or 2 years part-time.
If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline. Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants.

UK/EU students may be eligible for AHRC funding.

See our tuition fees.
Contact the department
Contact Cultural Studies
Visit us
Find out about how you can visit Goldsmiths at one of our open days or come on a campus tour.

Developed by the Digital Culture Unit, the MA Interactive Media programme primarily takes place in the Centre for Culture 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.

Video: Click to play

What you study

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. 

Applying and entrance requirements

You can apply directly to Goldsmiths via the website by clicking the ‘apply now’ button on the main programme page.

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have: 

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments.
  • The email address details 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. 

If you're applying for funding you may be subject to an application deadline. Find out more about funding opportunities for UK/EU students and international students. 

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

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.

Entrance requirements

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 also accept a wide range of international equivalent qualifications, which can be found on our country-specific pages. If you'd like more information, please contact the Admissions Office.

English language

If your first language isn't English, you need to demonstrate a minimum score of 7.0 in IELTS (including 7.0 in the written element) or equivalent to enroll and study on this programme. 

Please check our English language requirements for more information.

Find out more about applying 

Contact us 

Get in touch via our online form


+44 (0)20 7919 7766

International (non-EU)

+44 (0)20 7919 7702

The Digital Culture Unit

For further information on staff and their research interests, please visit the The Digital Culture Unit.

Staff List

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)

Modules and Structure

Core modules

CU71007A Critical Theory (30 CATS option) 30 CATS

This module critically engages with the philosophical, aesthetic and cultural implications of computation-based media technologies. Computation is not the same as digitalisation and rather implies an abstract capacity to order data (linear and non-linear command) and organise communication (through input/output relations of information in an environment of data) common to all media technologies. From this standpoint, interactive media are only an instance of a computational method influenced by the sciences of cybernetics, autopoeisis and system theories, and challenging notions of reason and cognition, perception and memory, emotions and affection.

The module brings together media theories (M. McLuhan, F.A. Kittler, V. Flusser to P. Weibel, L. Manovich, P. Levy, G. Lovink, M. Fuller), scientific concepts (from Shannon and Weaver, N. Wiener, A. Turing, Maturana and Varela, Bateson, Prigogine, Clark) and philosophical approaches (Serres, Deleuze and Guattari, DeLanda, Latour, Stiegler, Badiou, Plant, Harman, Stengers, Massumi, Negri) to articulate a trans-disciplinary view of computational culture and system-based modes of interactivity.

This transdisciplinary view emphasises the necessity of rethinking computation away from immaterial idealism and material empiricism to develop new concepts that can critically engage with the abstract culture generated by this fast evolving field.

This module requires you to actively participate in the seminars. In the first week, you will be (arbitrarily) divided into groups of max three to max four members to make one presentation of max 10 minutes about one or two of the key readings designated for each week. These presentations will not be assessed or impact on your overall evaluation. They are only designed to encourage participation (and self-learning) in the theoretical development of the module.

Taught by Dr Luciana Parisi

Spring term

CU71069A Software Studies 15 CATS

Software Studies is specifically concerned with the inter-relation between the cultural, social, and the technical. The module provides key theoretical tools for understanding digital technologies and the software that underlies them. It provides an essential interface for modules that aim to link cultural and social concerns and practices with the technical.

During this module, you will read and work with current and historical documents from the history of computing and computing culture, alongside those from cultural theory, as such this is be a uniquely interdisciplinary module that brings together and works through different approaches to the problematic of effective and inventive working in contemporary creative and social technologies.

Software studies is an interdisciplinary field that has emerged over the last decade amongst an international range of scholars and has a particular strength in Goldsmiths. It combines approaches from the arts, humanities and social sciences with those drawn from computing, in order to develop a creative and critical approach to the theories and practices of computing. Software is understood to be a core, yet under-theorised, aspect of contemporary culture and society. This module examines how software, and computing more broadly, is deeply implicated in the development of aesthetics, political forms, social agency and the generation of new forms of subjectivity. It follows a line of enquiry that draws together inventive critical thinking from technologists, hackers, computer scientists, philosophers, artists and cultural theorists, thus providing the context for a rich discussion on the nature of contemporary software cultures.

You will write an essay or investigative report into a software system, a programming language, an aspect of the history of computing, work of software art, or other such topic.

Taught by Professor Matthew Fuller

First 5 weeks of the Autumn term

CU71008B Practical Methods Block 1 - Media Systems, Media Ecologies and Turbulence 15 CATS

We use a series of defamiliarisation techniques to create an environment of enquiry rapidly producing small projects. As the lab work is student centered, the specific experiments undertaken depend on the current mix of students’ backgrounds.

Subjects covered might include Introduction to Media systems and Media ecologies; Linux command line; Formal Language vs Informal Language; the dissection of a unix file; Eco-media;programming Perl; variables lists, hashes, modules; editing with Vim; introduction to networking; introduction to electronics; introduction to physical computing (Arduino); Free-media; Radio waves including video sniffin; Telegraphy, submarine cables; garden hose telephones; introduction to Relational Machines- Database; introduction to Natural Language processing.

This module culminates in a group project and presentation. During previous years the module has culminated in the creation of a network of Coin Laundries, in a performance, reconfiguring a Laurie Grove Bath House as a media-scape. Working with world renowned artist Shu Lee Chang on Moving Forrest in 2011, students have created performances on the Thames as an analogue computer. In 2013, students have produced Evil Media for YoHa at Transmediale. 

Taught by Graham Harwood

Lab: Monday 10am–4.30pm LGB 107 

CU71008C Practical Methods Block 2 - Minor Project (Research Methods) 30 CATS

After writing and reviewing the critical theory essay over the Christmas break, you will refine your practice-based research learning objectives and, together with the lecturer, decide on an area of practice-based research to undertake either individually or in a group.

At the core of this module is a form of Action Research as a way of acting on and researching through at the same time. You are asked to evaluate if what you produced worked as expected. If it didn't, we will together analyse what happened and what we might do differently or discuss any new leads that could help us to review the whole project. If necessary, we repeat the process.

You will be learning to propose, budget and time plan research, discussing the ethics and methods in a group situation.

Some students choose to work in a wider social context that have involved liaison with prostitute organisations, older people, people with learning difficulties, asylum seekers and people with mental health issues. Other students decide to look into biotechnologies, algorithms, operating systems, social media, computational aesthetics.

Students taking this module have previously developed open-source software, telephone networks and mobile phone apps. They have curated shows, produced individual artworks, new web platforms, interactive dance, broadcast systems, games, musical instruments, sound scapes, and researched the interaction of databases and archaeological sites.

CU71009A Practical Methods Block 3 - Making it Public (Dissertation) forms part of Dissertation

During the third term, you will refine an element of your research from term two for a public event usually held in early July.

In previous years, students have produced an exposition in which they have created a public interface to their project or ongoing research or enterprise. These expositions involved talking and demonstrating the findings of projects to invited groups and the general public.

You will learn to refine an element of research, produce a public event, produce copy and art work to deadlines, plan publicity and document research.

CU71009A Dissertation 60 CATS

Dissertation comprises an integrated major practical project - presented at a public show and documented (see Practical Methods Block 3 above) AND an integrated 6,000 word written dissertation.

Recommended option modules

Students take option modules to the value of 30 CATS. Modules can be chosen from across Goldsmiths departments and centres. Below are a number of option modules especially recommended for your programme:

CU71022B Crisis and Critique 30 CATS

What is critical theory, and whence the notion of critique as a practical stance towards the world? Using these questions as a point of departure, this module takes critical theory as its field of inquiry. Part of the module will be devoted to investigating what critique is, starting with the etymological and conceptual affinity it shares with crisis: since the Enlightenment, so one line of argument goes, all grounds for knowledge are subject to criticism, which is understood to generate a sense of escalating historical crisis culminating in a radical renewal of the intellectual and social order. We will explore the efficacy of modern critical thought, and the concept of critiqueʼs efficacy, by examining a series of attempts to narrate and amplify states of crisis—and correspondingly transform key concepts such as self, will, time, and world—in order to provoke a transformation of society.

The other part of the module will be oriented towards understanding current critical movements as part of the Enlightenment legacy of critique, and therefore as studies in the practical implications of critical readings. Key positions in critical discourse will be discussed with reference to the socio-political conditions of their formation and in the context of their provenance in the history of philosophy, literature, and cultural theory. Required readings will include works by Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Heidegger, Benjamin and others, with suggested readings and references in lecture drawn from a variety of source materials ranging from literary
and philosophical texts to visual images, film, and architecture. Students are invited to work on their individual interests with respect to the readings. 

Indicative reading

  • Kant, Critique of Pure Reason
  • Kant, Critique of Judgment
  • Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit
  • Hegel, Lectures on Aesthetics
  • Marx, The German Ideology
  • Marx, Preface to the Critique of Political Economy
Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morality
  • Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle
  • Benjamin, Origin of the German Baroque Mourning Play
  • Husserl, Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology
  • Irigaray, Marine Lover of Friedrich Nietzsche 

Taught by Dr Julia Ng

Spring term

CU71002A Cultural Theory 30 CATS

This module asks the questions: What is cultural studies. and, what is culture? A wide range of cultural theory dealing with issues concerning technology, art media, philosophy, and the economy, are explored in order to address a number of connected questions that span the field of contemporary cultural studies. Can culture be understood per se or may we only ever consider cultures? What is the nature of culture and how should we try to understand what is specific to contemporary culture? What is cultural studies in a changing order, whereby China, India, and Latin America - the East and the South - become the drivers of global change? We look at the cultural foundations of the global economy: at 'individualist' and 'relational' orders of value.

We ask who this non-Western  other is and again, this time with new eyes, who is 'the West'? We enquire into the Greek and Jewish-Christian transcendental God and in the process investigate its association with the economic culture of our age; for its messianic ethos; for its critique of law; of neoliberalism and sovereignty and its everlasting obsession with justice; we think it as well for its implicit universalism and ask the broader question: what is universalism? We look at cultures of the East (especially China) and of the South. Here, as opposed to Western ontology, are questions of conduct and 'the way'; as opposed to the Western other-worldly God, immanent this-worldly, non-monotheistic, regimes of religion. We look at the immanent and relation culture of the gift and the clan, the linguistic foundations of Chinese culture. We ask, in this context, whether a new global universalism is possible.

Indicative readings

  • M. Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics
  • A. Badiou, Saint Paul: The Foundations of Universalism
  • Martin Heideggger, 'The Question Concerning Technology'
  • Francois Jullien, Detour and Access
  • Aristotle, Metaphysics
  • Marcel Mauss, The Gift
  • G Deleuze and F Guattari, Anti-Oedipus
  • Bernard Stiegler, Technics and Time
  • Sigmund Freud, New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis
  • Max Weber, Religion of India

Taught by Professor Scott Lash

Autumn term

CU71011A Postcolonial Theory 30 CATS

The aim of this module is to introduce you to canonical, founding texts of Postcolonialism. Close, first-hand reading of texts is emphasised and you are required to probe the whole spectrum of postcolonial thinking - from literary theory, politics, psychoanalysis, diaspora studies, race and gender studies to philosophy, art, anthropology and history. Geopolitically, the emphasis is on the non-West and on the connections, linkages and translatory cultures forged through colonisation, movements, travel and deterritorialisation. We seek to problematise the very notion of post-coloniality - understood not as a temporal marker but more as a style of thought - as a problem.

We begin with Edward Said’s Orientalism, and ponder about the founding role of discourse in shaping geopolitical destinies and historical subjectivities. That takes us into complex questions about the complicity between power and knowledge and the legacy of slavery and colonialism in the present. These discussions are pursued throughout the seminars as we proceed from Bhabha through Spivak and Gilroy to Mbembe and Povinelli. We interrogate Bhabha’s ideas of colonial ambivalence, hybridity  and mimicry and read Fanon and Glissant in the light of a generalised, global unhomliness to mark out the time of the postcolonial ‘contramodernity’ (Gilroy). While reading Spivak and Povinelli, we interrogate the enunciative modalities of liberal discourse and look for strategic prohibitions within which would not let the subaltern speak. The question about agency and location is confronted headlong in Chakrabarty’s Provincializing Europe while in Timothy Mitchell’s Colonizing Egypt we debate the role of representation in non-western modernity. Through an interrogation of Deleuze’s idea of difference, we try to make sense of the postcolonial ‘right to difference’ in the context of the politics of multiculturalism. Other themes highlighted in the module are: empire, secularism, governmentality, multiculturalism, gender and sexual politics, representation, minorities in Europe and diaspora.

Indicative reading 

  • Talal Asad, Formations of the Secular, 2003
  • Homi Bhabha, The Location of Culture, 1994
  • Sion Bignall and Paul Patton (ed.), Deleuze and the Postcolonial, 2010
  • Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe, 2000
  • Gayatri Chakrovorty Spivak, Can the Subaltern Speak?, 1988
  • Franz Fanon, The Wretched of The Earth, 2004
  • Edouard Glissant, Poetics of Relation, 1997
  • Paul Gilroy, Against Race, 2000
  • Peter Hallward, Absolutely Postcolonial, 2002
  • Achille Mbembe, On the Postcolony, 2001
  • Naoki Sakai, Translation and Subjectivity: On "Japan" and Cultural Nationalism, 1997
  • Charles Taylor, The Politics of Recognition, 1994

Taught by Dr Shela Sheikh 

CU71015A Theories of the Culture Industry: Work, Creativity and Precariousness 30 CATS

This module sets out the key theorizations of the culture industry. While incorporating classical figurations of the culture industry, the module is primarily concerned to assemble a clear engagement with contemporary research such as those spearheaded by leading researchers at Goldsmiths. The organization and substance of work and of precarious labour, of the developing debates and mechanisms of ‘intellectual property’ and cultural workers’ development of institutions and networks as well as contemporary configurations of the professional will be discussed. You will learn to strategise cultural production and intervention through exploration of relevant material.  The globalisation of the culture industry will provide a persistent and ambitious point of reference.

The module will combine a critical assessment of the most significant theoretical frameworks for analysing and understanding the contemporary cultural industries, with detailed analysis of the structure of specific cultural industries. The opening of the module will introduce key conceptual frameworks for interpreting the cultural industries, starting with the classic macro perspectives of the ‘culture industry thesis’ developed by The Frankfurt School, and Political Economy, which is concerned with the economic structure of the creative economy. These theoretical frameworks are read critically in relation to contemporary structural changes within the social world, primarily the shift from an industrial to a knowledge based economy, the rise of globalization, reorganizations in the labour market, and the proliferation of symbolic goods, brands and logos. As the module continues it draws more broadly from contemporary cultural theory in order to develop a model of the cultural industries which remains attuned to the influence of economic structure and ‘the domination of the commodity’ while being able to account also for the complex texture of innovation, creativity, and restructured power relationships which are emerging.

Indicative reading

  • Theodor Adorno &  Martin Horkheimer, ‘The Culture Industry, Enlightenment as Mass Deception’, in, Dialectic of Enlightenment, Verso, London, 1979
  • Theodor Adorno, The Culture Industry, Routledge, London, 2004
  • Bewes, T and Gilbert, J 2000 Cultural Capitalism: Politics after new Labour
  • Ulrich Beck and Elisabeth Beck-GernsheimIndividualization: Institutionalized Individualism and Its Social and Political Consequences, Sage (Theory, Culture & Society), London, 2001
  • Ulrich Beck, The Brave New World of Work, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2000
  • Pierre Bourdieu, The Field of Cultural Production, 1993
  • Pierre Bourdieu, The Weight of the World, Polity, Cambridge, 2000
  • Paul Du Gay, ed. 1997 Production of Culture/ Cultures of Production
  • Paul Du Gay and Pryke M. eds. Cultural Economy: Cultural analysis and Commercial Life, Sage, London, 2001
  • Kodwo Eshun, More Brilliant Than The Sun, Quartet, London, 2000
  • Dick  Hebdige, Hiding in the Light, Routledge, London, 1989
  • David Hesmondhalgh, Cultural Industries, 2nd edn. Sage, London, Thousand Oaks and New Delhi, 2007
  • John Howkins, The creative economy: how people make money from ideas, Allen Lane/The Penguin Press, 2001
  • J. Hutnyk ‘Adorno at Womad, South Asian Crossovers and the Limits of Hybridity’, in Postcolonial Studies Vol 1 no 3, 1999
  • J Hutnyk and S Sharma eds., ‘Music and Politics An Introduction’, in Theory Culture and Society vol 17 no 3, June 2000
  • Ettema, J & D. Whitney eds.. ‘Individuals in Mass Media Organisations: Creativity and Constraint’, 1982
  • Scott Lash and John Urry,  Economies of Signs and Space, Sage, London, 1994
  • Scott Lash and Celia Lury, Global Culture Industry: The Mediation of Things, Cambridge: Polity, 2006
  • Charles Leadbetter, Living on Thin Air, 1999
  • Angela McRobbie, In the Culture Society: Art, Fashion and Popular Music, Routledge, London, 1999
  • Angela McRobbie, British Fashion Design: Rag Trade or Image Industry?, Routledge, London, 1998
  • Angela McRobbie, 'Fashion as a Culture Industry', in, Stella Bruzzi and Pamela Church Gibson, eds., Fashion Culture: Theories, Explanations and Analysis, Routledge, London, 2000
  • Angela McRobbie, 'From Holloway to Hollywood: Happiness at Work in the Cultural Economy' in Paul du Gay and M Pryke (eds.), Cultural Economy: Cultural Analysis and Commercial Life, Sage, 2001
  • Angela McRobbie, 'Clubs to Companies: Notes on the Decline of Political Culture in Speeded Up Creative Worlds', Cultural Studies, vol. 16  no.4, 2002, pp.516-531
  • Miege, B The Capitalisation of Cultural Production,. 1993
  • Keith Negus, Music Genres and Corporate Cultures, Routledge, London, 1999
  • Andrew Ross, No Collarthe humane workplace and its hidden costs, Basic Books, New York, 2003
  • Saskia Sassen, Cities In A World Economy, 1994
  • Herbert Schiller, Culture, Inc. The Corporate Takeover of Public Expression, 1989
  • Richard Sennett, The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism. W. W. Norton, 1998
  • Julian Stallabrass, Art Incorporated, Verso, London 2005
  • Sharon Zukin, Loft Living, 1989

Convened by Dr Stefanie Petschik 

Autumn term 

CU71016A Practices of the Culture Industry 30 CATS

One of the problems that the study of the culture industry presents is that in its very nature its key object of analysis, the culture industry, as a whole has the status of a theoretical or policy-oriented fiction.  Such a status does not negate its analytical use, but reflection on the particularly fragile and temporary nature of the field and its associated circumscription by notions of policy need to be brought into productive comparison with actual cultural practices.  Equally, those active in the field described by this term recognise the term as belonging to a separate category of knowledge than that required to succeed in the production of culture.  Culture involves complex networks of production ranging from the institutional and the transnational to the interpersonal and aesthetic. Here questions of genre, of variegated economic models and ultimately of existential and aesthetic rationale, break up any treatment of the culture industry as a coherent whole.

Driven by questions of practice this core module is organized around a series of more detailed analyses of specific cultural dynamics, where the theoretical models from part one are brought to bear on individual areas of practice and the ways that they can and cannot be thought of in terms of ‘industry’. The section will focus on the empirical structure of particular, methodologies for researching the culture industries, and the practice of cultural workers within these fields. In addition to lectures by academic researchers with particular expertise in music, fashion, radio and new economies, you will have access to practitioners from the fields of radio, film, music and art.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Kathy Acker, ‘Writing, Identity and Copyright in the Net Age’, in, Bodies of Work, Serpent’s Tail, London, 1997, pp.66-80
  • Bernadette Corporation, Reena Spaulings, Semiotext(e), New York, 2004
  • Nicholas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics, Editions du Réel, Bordeux, 2002
  • Claire Bishop, ed., Participation, The MIT Press, Cambridge, 2006
  • Gilles Deleuze, Francis Bacon, the logic of sensation, Continuum, London
  • Peter Drucker, (1969). The Age of Discontinuity; Guidelines to Our changing SocietyHarper and Row, New York. ISBN 0465089844
  • Thomas Franks, The Birth of Cool, beat, be-bop and the american avant garde, Free Press, New York, 2001 

Convened by Dr Stefanie Petschick

Spring term 

CU71024A Media Philosophy 15 CATS

Media Philosophy is taught by Prof. Scott Lash, Prof. Matthew Fuller and Dr. Luciana Parisi. This five-lecture course investigates media by a close analysis of key texts and authors in this field.  We understand media as much from an engineering point of view as from a philosophical one. We look at how information and media comprise self-reproducing non-linear systems; and how this involves the interchange of information between media and ourselves as physical, social and cultural beings. This course is uncompromising in dealing with the philosophical questions underpinning contemporary media and technology and is at the same time always embedded in the critique of today's capitalist political economy.

Indicative Readings

  • F. Kittler, Film, Gramophone, Typewriter
  • G. Simondon, Psychic and Collective Individuation
  • F. Guattari, Three Ecologies
  • D. Haraway, Modest Witness@Second Millennium
  • G. Deleuze Cinema One
  • L. Irigaray, Speculum of the Other Woman​ 

Lectures by Professor Scott Lash, Professor Matthew Fuller and Dr Luciana Parisi

Autumn term (5 weeks after Reading week)

CU71027A Biopolitics & Aesthetics 15 CATS

If, in modernity, bare life enters the stage of history and the field of politics for the first time - as the philosophers Michel Foucault and Giorgio Agamben have extensively argued - and we are living in a biopolitical age in which power intimately accesses and regulates this life, how do aesthetics register, mirror and contest these developments? The desire for modernist, avant-garde and critical art to burst their banks and fuse with 'everyday life', the chaos and contingency of social life, the body as a site of experience and action, parallels power's increasing need to act upon 'active subjects' and to co-opt the vitality of populations. This module will move schematically through key artists, movements and conditions of beholding, from the late 18th century until today, to explore this relationship and consider art's dual role as pioneer and antagonist of biopolitical power.

Taught by Dr Josephine Berry-Slater

Five weeks in spring term

Other option modules, by Department

‌You may prefer to look through the full range of optional modules available across Goldsmiths departments. 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.


Programme specification

To find out more about this degree, including details about the ways you'll be assessed and information about our marking criteria, you can download the programme specification.

Student profiles


"On the MA you meet people who are very much in tune with your own interests, creating an invaluable peer to peer network."

"With its intersecting of experimental media practice with critical theory it was not a difficult decision for me to choose the MA Interactive Media (MAIM) as the Masters programme to study on. I wanted to explore my own creative practice but with a strong theoretical backbone present along the way, which the course gave.

I found Graham and Luciana to be extremely supportive and inspiring, encouraging me to think more critically than I would have previously and giving me brilliant mentoring on the main two projects which I developed whilst at Goldsmiths: Ace of Spades Hunt and Lost London.

The network which you build during your year on the course is invaluable. I made some lovely friends whilst on my BA but not necessarily any who I would work with. However, on MAIM you meet people who are very much in tune with your own interests, creating an invaluable peer to peer network. I think after an MA course this is vital.

Since graduating I've embarked on a one week residency at DEC labs hosted by Metal (facilitated by Graham), starting a project called Emotional Geocaching, I have become part of MzTEK which has given me the chance to work with renowned artists such as Shu Lea Cheang, Tine Bech and Anna Dumitriu, I completed an internship with Blast Theory last year and currently I'm working with Ele Carpenter on her Embroidered Digital Commons project, facilitating workshops for it at Furtherfield Gallery."


MA Interactive Media: Critical Theory & Practice

"I chose Goldsmiths because the programme seemed truly unique and I knew the reputation of the school for being forward-thinking."

Before coming to Goldsmiths, I had completed a BA in Computer Science and had been working as a software developer (programmer) for a year. When decided I wanted to do a Masters, I knew I wanted it to be interdisciplinary so that I would be able to  be creative and collaborate with others from different backgrounds. When I visited London to check out prospective universities, Goldsmiths was one of the ones I attended. When visiting the Goldsmiths Digital Studios, the faculty there recommended I check out the MA in Interactive Media course.

In the end I chose Goldsmiths because the Interactive Media programme seemed truly unique, and I knew the reputation of the school for being forward-thinking. The Cultural Studies department helps maintain a social and critical perspective - I'm able to study computational cultures from both a theoretical and practical approach. There are always lectures and events going on every week that are relevant to my interests, and I've been able to audit option courses outside of my department as well. After I graduate, I plan on doing my PhD with a focus on either digital sociology or human-computer interaction. I'm glad I'll have had this year at Goldsmiths to prepare me for further interdisciplinary research.

Alexandra Sofie Joensson

Age: 27
Nationality: Danish
Undergraduate degree and course: BA Art History, Copenhagen University Denmark
Current Job: Self employed media practitioner and researcher

“I was interested in more practice-based research methodologies and in the critical approach to media history and technology, which seemed to be at the heart of the Centre for Cultural Studies research production.

The main difference from the other programs I looked at, was that the Interactive Media course offered a Free and Open-Source Software lab environment to support research through practice. I remember thinking that I did not really understand what it was all about in the beginning — but it was worth taking the risk to try it out.

The course enhanced my openness and curiosity, my critical thinking skills, and skills in conceptualizing practice-led research projects.

I think this course is a potential space where practice-led research can spring out of collaborations. Every year is very different, but during the year I attended, the most exciting questions where produced collaboratively. For example, the award winning project (http://xmsg.org.uk/) initiated by Cliff Hammett and myself, saw us creating 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 materialise in the sex industry — a space where new collaborations and knowledge ecologies can take form as a mutual exchange.

I think doing this course can raise ones awareness of how questions can be critically investigated through collaborative environments. The Flee Immediately (http://fleeimmediately.co.uk/), by former student Renee Carmichael, is yet another initiative investigating forms of practice-led collaboration through production and publication, bringing attention to the frameworks in which co-productions can materialise. 

The course has led me to many new research areas and pushed me to work with practical projects in technology that I did not have previous experience with.

I work as a full-time mum, practitioner and researcher, and in most of my activities the skills that I have acquired during the masters course including, critical thinking, learning by doing, and project management, are all operating in the back or foreground of my life.

I would advise prospective students to be open, ready for plenty of failure, and to make sure you have fun.”


Interviewed by Claire Shaw

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 & the Alumini

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.


Video: Click to play

Open Systems Association, Southend-on-Sea, Education Trust, Schools Computing Pilot 2012.
Supporting teachers to develop new models in the classroom.

Skills and Careers


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.

What our alumni are doing now

Joao Wilbert (MA Interactive Media 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 (MA Interactive Media 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 (MA Interactive Media 2010/11) is a New York based curator. In 2012 she has curated Code of Contingency.

Loes Borges (MA Interactive Media 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 (MA Interactive Media 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 (MA Interactive Media 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, MA in Interactive Media’s students Alexandra Sofie Joensoon and Cliff Hemmet 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.

Student work and blogs

You can access current students' work at imiant.org.uk.

Here you will find students' research leading to the end of year Expos and final projects. These individual and collaborative blogs work as research platforms to explore the power of computation in social, political and aesthetic fields.

Content last modified: 15 Apr 2015

Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW, UK
Telephone: + 44 (0)20 7919 7171

Goldsmiths has charitable status

© 2000- Goldsmiths, University of London. Copyright, Disclaimer and Company information | Statement on the use of cookies by Goldsmiths