Course information

Length

1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

Course overview

For 2020–21, we have made some changes to how the teaching and assessment of this programme are delivered. Find out more

Working from a materially diverse basis, this programme engages with a range of empirical, aesthetic, conceptual and material issues that traverse and exceed both 'art' and ‘politics’ to speak with our current contemporaneity.

Why study MA Art & Politics at Goldsmiths?

  • Explore practices and issues related to our current contemporaneity in terms of public space, democracy, equality, participation, states of exception, collectivity, performance and justice.
  • Examine a range of material practices and strategies which, in the encounter between art and politics, play out in numerous forms and very different kinds of social spaces.
  • Develop frameworks and spaces that are mixed and mobile, and which can operate in trans-disciplinary settings. You'll join students from a range of backgrounds and disciplines, meaning that the political character of both theory and material practice take on renewed vigour and urgency.
  • Investigate the potential of art, material practice and trans-disciplinarity in times of political and cultural crisis. You will have the opportunity to interrogate the relationship between material practices and theoretical work, to work within constraints but also within the interstices of artistic, cultural, social and political practices.
  • Choose from a range of option modules that encourage you to work across areas of particular interest to you including practice-based Individual and Group project work, the politics of space, gender politics and human rights.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Bernadette Buckley (Programme Convenor) or for information on practice-based optional modules please contact Dr David Martin (Counter-Mapping) or John Reardon (Designing Politics, Material Encounters).

What you'll study

Compulsory modules

You will take the following compulsory modules.

Compulsory modules Module title Credits
  Art and Politics 1: Theory History Event 30 credits
  MA Art & Politics Dissertation 60 credits

You will also take a compulsory practice-based module from a pool of options including the following, totalling either 15 or 30 credits.

Practice-based modules Module title Credits
  Counter-Mapping: The Politics of Space 30 credits
  Designing politics (group project) 30 credits
  Material encounters (Individual project) 15 credits

Option modules

Students make up their remaining 90 Credits from the following list of options:

Module title Credits
  Comparative Political Thought 15 credits
  Material encounters (Individual project) 15 credits
  Islam, Revolution, and Empire 15 credits
  Counter-Mapping: The Politics of Space 30 credits
  Art, War, Terror 15 Credits
  Memory and Justice in Post-Conflict Societies 30 credits
  Decolonising Knowledge: Debates in Human Science 15 credits
  Global Capitalism: Theory and History 30 credits
  The United States in the World Economy 15 credits
  Politics of Human Rights 15 credits
  Psychopolitics 15 credits
  Theories of International Relations 30 credits
  The Political Economy of the Anthropocene 30 credits
  Finance and Power 15 credits
  Experts and Economies 15 credits
  Islam, Revolution, and Empire 15 credits

Students may choose up to 30 credits of approved options from other departments at Goldsmiths.

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.

Assessment 

Assessment consists of coursework, extended essays, reports, presentations, practice based projects or essays/logs, group projects, reflective essays, and seen and unseen written examinations.

Download the programme specification. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

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

What our students say

Victoria Burgher

"It provided valuable skills in critical thinking, self-reflection and coping with creative and mental challenges."

"The best things about my time studying at Goldsmiths were the intellectual stimulation of the MA Art & Politics course and the inspiring and interesting people I learnt from and studied with. It provided valuable skills in critical thinking, self-reflection and coping with creative and mental challenges. It gave me the confidence and support to continue my academic career and develop a more critical approach to my art practice.

Since graduating from Goldsmiths I have won awards, fellowships and funding from the British Council, Arts Council and Open Society Foundations. I have presented my work at the Black Europe Summer School in Amsterdam and at Birkbeck, University of London, as well in numerous exhibitions in the UK and Europe. As an artist and educator I have worked in school and community settings, focusing on workshops for young people with special educational needs."

Tausif Noor

"I loved the academic freedom that Goldsmiths offers, and the chance to explore topics that are related to my interests, and even topics that aren't."

"I found out about Goldsmiths while I was researching MA degrees in London after I had finished my undergraduate degree. Before I came to Goldsmiths, I worked in various organisations in India as a Fulbright Scholar from 2014 to 2015, and then lived in Washington DC and worked in consulting.

I loved the academic freedom that Goldsmiths offers, and the chance to explore topics that are related to my interests, and even topics that aren't. I absolutely loved London – it has an incredible energy and a DIY spirit, and living in London was incredibly inspirational for my writing and personal development.

While at Goldsmiths, I worked at the Imperial War Museum and at the cultural agency Culture+Conflict, both of which were incredibly formative experiences. I have also been writing freelance criticism for Artforum, ArtAsiaPacific, frieze, and other publications.

After completing my coursework, I moved back to New York to intern at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and I am currently the Spiegel-Wilks Curatorial Fellow at the ICA Philadelphia."

Agar Ledo Arias

I am a Contemporary Art Curator interested in the political and social implications of art. I understand art as an essential tool for critical thinking that also contributes to positive social change.

After working for more than a decade in different public art institutions, in recent years I have been focusing my research on alternative forms of institutionalism that challenge the neo-liberal trends of our times, characterised by commercialisation, in which art and culture have become exchange values.

I was looking for a discussion group to share my interests in politics, cultural policy, art and activism with, and I realised that the MA in Art & Politics at Goldsmiths addressed most of the most urgent issues I was researching.

It’s the perfect atmosphere for me to rethink my own curatorial practice and to discuss some of the current key critical theoretical discourses affecting the intersection between politics and art and its democratization.

See more profiles for this programme

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.

International qualifications

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

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Annual tuition fees

The fees for 2021 will be made available soon, but for reference these were the fees for 2020.

  • Home - full-time: £9320
  • Home - part-time: £4660
  • EU - full-time: £9320
  • EU - part-time: £4660
  • International - full-time: £18900

If your fees are not listed here, please check our postgraduate fees guidance or contact the Fees Office, who can also advise you about how to pay your fees.

It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time if you require a Tier 4 student visa, however this is currently being reviewed and will be confirmed in the new year. Please read our visa guidance in the interim for more information. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.

If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.

Additional costs

In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.

There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments. Please check the programme specification for more information.

Funding opportunities

Find out more about postgraduate fees and explore funding opportunities. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

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)

       

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.

Careers

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.

Skills

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.

Student work

Time magazine cover

Student Davide Monteleone was recently commissioned by Time to create a series of powerful black and white portraits of migrants trying to cross the Mexico-US border; two of which ended up on the magazine's cover. 

You can see more of David's work on the Time magazine website.

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