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Course information

Department

Anthropology

Length

1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

Course overview

The MA in Visual Anthropology offers a unique combination of anthropological theory and visual practice. It provides you with a strong foundation for producing visual work informed by anthropology.

This programme takes an inclusive approach to the definition of visual anthropology – it approaches the sub-field through the study of the politics and aesthetics of representation, documentary and ethnographic film, and anthropological perspectives on art. As a practice-oriented MA, there is a clear emphasis on applying anthropological knowledge to the actual making of visual artefacts, and not just their analysis.

The MA is open to students with a range of backgrounds in anthropology and related fields. As a graduate, you will be well-placed to pursue a career in visual anthropology (be it research- or practice-oriented) as well as to bring an anthropological sensibility to the visual to other disciplines.

You will be taught through lectures, seminars and hands-on training in the use of digital camcorders, sound recording equipment and video editing. Assessment includes written essays for the theory modules, practical assignments, and a final visual project in the form of a 20-minute film.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Isaac Marrero-Guillamón

What you'll study

You will study:

  • three core modules
  • option modules to the value of 30 credits

Core Modules

Module title Credits
  Anthropology of Art I 15 or 30 credits
  Ethnographic Film and Cinema Studies 30 credits
  Anthropology Video Production 60 credits
  Critique, Theory and Representation 30 credits

Option modules

You take option modules to a value of 30 credits from a list that has previously included:

Module title Credits
  Anthropology of Rights 15 credits
  Anthropology of Rights II 15 credits
  Critical Voices in Development 30 credits
  Anthropological Approaches to History 15 or 30 credits
  Anthropology of Art I 15 or 30 credits
  Anthropology of Health and Medicine I 15 or 30 credits
  Anthropology of Religion 15 credits
  Economic and Political Anthropology I 30 credits
  Economic and Political Anthropology II 30 credits
  Environmental Anthropology 15 or 30 credits
  Intercultural Film 15 credits
  Photography & Sound 15 credits
  Anthropology and Gender Theory 15 or 30 credits
  Borders and Migration 15 credits (UG) 30 credits (PG)
  Learning from Social Movements 15 credits
  Anthropology and the Visual 2 15 credits
  Digital Anthropology Level 7 30 credits

Download the programme specification for the 2018-19 intake. 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.

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 of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing 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

Find out more about tuition fees.

Additional costs

You'll be able to borrow a range of film, photography and sound recording equipment and ancillaries appropriate to your level of study from the Departmental Technical Store and Goldsmiths Media Equipment Centre. You'll also have access to practice labs equipped with desktop Macs and editing software to support your visual practice.

You'll need your own portable storage (normally an external hard drive) to store your work. The Department of Anthropology can recommend ones that should be sufficient for the duration of your studies. These normally cost between £45-£65.

Some modules may require hard copy submission of printed visual material such as photographs and you will be responsible for the cost of printing, developing and/or mounting this material.

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.

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

The unique combination of theory, research and practice that structures the MA in Visual Anthropology will prepare you for a diverse range of employment opportunities. Past graduates have gone on to work in:

  • Video production, both commercial and independent
  • Film editing and videography
  • Production and programming of film festivals
  • Ethnographic and visual research in both academic and commercial settings
  • Teaching

In addition, you can use this programme as a springboard for further study, either vocational or intellectual (including entry into MPhil/PhD programmes).

In short, the multiple skills – intellectual, critical and creative – developed by the MA in Visual Anthropology will provide you with the flexibility of thought and approach necessary for creative insertion into the global job market. 

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.

What our students say

Charlotte

"It is important now more than ever to interrogate how we construct visual narratives of different cultures."

"While at Goldsmiths I learnt to follow my instincts, nurture relationships and to be open to all people, no matter what their background.

It is important now more than ever to interrogate how we construct visual narratives of different cultures, to promote diversity, to challenge the politics and aesthetics of representation in the media and to fight the dangerous othering in our society.

The course enabled me to gain a deeper understanding into the complexities of these discourses - it was an enriching and inspiring experience.

My final project was awarded the Paul Watson Prize for the best Visual Anthropology film of the academic year 2015/16. Wish You Were Hear is an intimate portrait that follows the realities of everyday life for Maeve and Bhavan, an elderly couple grappling with love and a lifetime together. The film observes the intersections of Tamil and British culture in the microcosm of a relationship that has endured the test of time."

Karolina

My final project was awarded the Paul Watson Prize for the best Visual Anthropology film.

While at Goldsmiths I trained in many aspects of research, filmmaking and post-production, attended great lectures and seminars across various departments and met some inspiring people. I'm sure some collaborations and Goldsmiths friendships will influence my career.

My final project was awarded the Paul Watson Prize for the best Visual Anthropology film of the academic year 2014/15. My film is called Keeping Up With the Kashubians and it is a shorty observational film, taking place in Kashubia, a rural region of northern Poland. It was shot not far from where I'm originally from and it looks at how the local traditions, language and identity exist within modern-day Europe.

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