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Photographic History MA

This course focuses on the social, cultural, material histories and theories of photography. 

Overview

Reasons to study Photographic History MA at DMU:

  • External examiner Dr Jonathan Friday, University of Kent, referred to the programme as: “truly excellent, the best of its kind in the country” and said: “I simply don’t think there is a better MA of its kind in the UK.”
  • You will learn from a renowned, well respected team of expert scholars, practitioners and professionals
  • You will benefit from outstanding links with the major photographic collections in the UK such as the National Media Museum, the Centre of South Asian Studies as well as the Royal Commonwealth Society in Cambridge
  • You will have access to Photohistory Links, DMU’s searchable, high-quality database of resources for researchers of 19th century photography working from primary materials such as exhibition catalogues and letters
  • You will develop practical skills in digital preservation while working alongside a vibrant research community with links to photographic institutions worldwide
  • 96.6% of DMU postgraduates are in full-time employment or further education within six months of completing their course*
  • DMU postgraduates command an average salary of £41,129* within six months of completing their qualification

* Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey 2013/14 (Employability Performance Indicator)

Whether taken for the purpose of scholarly data collection, or simply to keep a private, visual record of an everyday camera user’s life, photographs have been used as to describe or attest to social or cultural practices since the middle of the nineteenth century. With this in mind, using primary sources, such as negatives, photographs, manuscripts and digital technologies, you will investigate the role of photography in visual, social and cultural history, touching on wide ranging subjects in the history of science, private photography, amateur photography, anthropology, sociology, gender studies, museum studies, art history and area studies..

Alongside practical sessions on primary sources, you will consider how new digital humanities approach photographic media in terms of teaching, learning, research, information discovery and knowledge construction.

The internationally renowned teaching staff bring with them outstanding links with major collections, including the National Media Museum, Birmingham City Library, Cambridge University Library and the Pitt Rivers Museum. Working closely with programme team, you will enhance your material handling and research skills, and develop your writing and public speaking abilities, thereby equipping you for a wide range of careers in the heritage industry, research, or for further study.

This course is aimed at those from a variety of disciplines, including historians, conservation students, archivists, science historians from various fields of visual studies, such as visual anthropology, photography, lens-based media, art history and others.

Scholarships:

At DMU, we are committed to helping our graduates enhance their careers and personal development through further study. We are proud to currently offer two scholarships.

Vice-Chancellor’s 2020 Scholarship
Up to 50 per cent of tuition fees offered to Home/EU DMU alumni for students who wish to continue their studies at DMU by enrolling on a Postgraduate taught course. For more information visit our Vice-Chancellor’s 2020 Scholarship page.

Vice-Chancellor's Sports Scholarship
Up to £6,000 worth of support available to full-time UK and EU undergraduate and postgraduate students, starting in September 2016. For more information visit our Vice-Chancellor's Sports Scholarship page.

More courses like this:

Humanities MA
Photography MA

  • UK/EU
  • International

Key facts for UK/EU students

Duration: One year full-time.

Start date: September 2016


Fees and funding: UK/EU: £4,750 (full-time)

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

Additional costs: Here at DMU we provide excellent learning resources, including the Kimberlin Library and specialist workshops and studios. However, you should be aware that sometimes you may incur additional costs for this programme.

Contact us: For more information complete our online enquiry form or call us on +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70.

You can apply to study at DMU directly using our online applications portal.

Key facts for international students

Duration: One year full-time

Start date: September 2016


Fees and funding: International: £12,200 per year

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

Additional costs: Here at DMU we provide excellent learning resources, including the Kimberlin Library and specialist workshops and studios. However, you should be aware that sometimes you may incur additional costs for this programme.

Contact us: For more information complete our online enquiry form or call us on +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70.

International students can apply to study at DMU directly using our online applications portal or direct application form.

Entry criteria

Typical entry requirements 

Successful candidates will have the equivalent or above of a 2:2 UK bachelor’s honours degree in a related subject. A reading knowledge of a European language other than English is recommended. If you have other professional qualifications and industry experience we will consider your application on an individual basis. 

International students

If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent when you start the course is essential. English Language tuition, delivered by our British Council accredited Centre for English Language Learning, is available both before and throughout the course if you need it.

Structure and assessment

 

Course modules

Teaching and assessments

 

 

Modules

Research Methods
Furthers your ability to research photography and generate research proposals that answer your own research questions concerning photography by exploring digital humanities and building on your data management and writing skills.

Photographic Ethnographies
Given that photographs often become loaded with contested social, cultural and historical significance, this module will consider the ethics involved in the study of photographic social and cultural practices, and advance your awareness of the ways in which sociocultural complexities can affect the production and understanding of photographic records.

Theory and Photography
Explores historical and contemporary debates about photography, its veracity, its use and its development. You will read works by leading thinkers and writers from the fields of history, history of art, photography, history of technology, museum studies, history of ideas, philosophy, and the history of science. This module will equip you with the ability to use effective research strategies in your own work while combining hypothetical thinking with empirical evidence.

Photography and Industry
Questions the definition of industry as merely technology, broadening the concept to include motion picture, still and portrait industries, professional and amateur photography, fine art, chemical, scientific and manufacturing industries. You will gain a perspective on the industrial history of photography and learn more of the practices currently in use.

Dissertation
Combines your research training, your knowledge of photographic history and your ability to employ research strategies, to deliver your master’s thesis on a subject of your own choice. Your dissertation gives you the opportunity to work independently while developing a deep knowledge of a particular element of photographic history

Note: All modules are subject to change in order to keep content current

Overview

Throughout the programme, there are visits to museums, libraries and archives that have photography collections. During these visits, you will meet curators and archivists, and examine materials related to the collections. Previous visits have included major exhibitions at Nottingham Contemporary, important private collections as well as the Royal Photographic Collection at Windsor. The course is further underpinned by an innovative wiki that serves a space for sharing and collaboration for students and tutors as well as for the presentation of content. 

Contact hours

In your first two terms you will normally attend around 10 hours of timetabled taught sessions including lectures, tutorials and workshop and studio sessions each week, and be expected to undertake at least 25 hours of independent study each week. Your third term will be pre-dominantly self-directed (including meetings with your supervisor), during which you can expect to undertake 35 hours of independent study each week 

 

 

Facilities and features

Facilities

You will have access to photographs and manuscripts in local, regional and national collections and use the DMU photo-history research library, including many important photographic journals from the Kodak Research Library and the Photographers Gallery Library. These two important gifts of journals combine with DMU's own library resources to give unparalleled resources in photographic history research.

Library

We have 1,500 study places and 650 computer workstations across four sites on campus. These give access to more than half a million publications, an extensive range of DVDs, e-resources and thousands of electronic journals. 

During standard term-time (October to June) the main Kimberlin Library is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Outside of this period, and during university holidays, the library will remain open but with reduced opening hours.

Award-winning staff are on hand to help and there is a café for study breaks. We offer a range of workshops, drop-in and one-to-one sessions, and our Just Ask service provides email and telephone support.

 

Learning zones

Our comfortable and well-equipped study areas provide a range of environments to suit your needs.

Originally set up in our main Kimberlin Library, the learning zones proved so popular that more were created in the Eric Wood Building and Greenhouse. These flexible spaces are ideal whether you are working as a group, practising a presentation or working quietly on your own.

They feature workstations with power supplies for laptops, plus bookable syndicate rooms with interactive whiteboards and DVD players. Eduroam wi-fi is available across all campus locations.

 

Opportunities and careers

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Enterprise

Starting a business
If you are thinking of starting your own business or working for yourself, the Enterprise Team can help provide you with the right advice and guidance to get your business off the ground.

 

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#DMUglobal

This is our innovative international experience programme which aims to enrich your studies and expand your cultural horizons – helping you to become a global graduate, equipped to meet the needs of employers across the world.

Through #DMUglobal, we offer a wide range of opportunities including on-campus and UK activities, overseas study, internships, faculty-led field trips and volunteering, as well as Erasmus+ and international exchanges.

 

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Graduate careers

The Photographic History MA provides you with a solid grounding of practical skills, theory and dialectics that will equip you for a wide range of careers in the heritage industry and research. Some of our graduates have received fellowships to pursue PhDs here in the UK and abroad while others have embarked upon careers in curating, museum and gallery administration, digital cataloguing and publishing throughout Europe.

Find out more about our Humanities MPhil/PhD research opportunities.

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How to apply 

We welcome applications from UK and international students with a wide range of qualifications and experience.

Find out more

More about your DMU

Scholarships
Digital resources
Research
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Scholarships

We are committed to helping our graduates enhance their careers and personal development through further study, which is why we offer the Vice-Chancellor’s 2020 Scholarship. This gives DMU graduates a tuition fee discount of up to 50 per cent on selected full-time and part-time postgraduate courses, based on academic achievement and merit. Find out more.

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Digital resources

De Montfort University has created an extensive corpus of digital resources for researchers of 19th century photography working from primary materials such as exhibition catalogues and letters. Find out more

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Research

The Photographic History Research Centre (PHRC) has a unique approach to photography and its social and cultural manifestations. It undertakes innovative research on photography and its practices from the early nineteenth century to the present day. Find out more

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Leicester guide

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