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Photographic History MA

Encounter different approaches to photographic history, including cultural history, politics, heritage, digital diplomacy, and history of science and technology, while enhancing your research skills on this online distance learning course.

Overview

Photography has shaped the way in which we imagine the recent past as well as the experience of life in many present-day societies and cultures. Addressing a range of sources, such as archival photographic materials and manuscripts, digital databases, and current critical texts in the field, the Photographic History MA will provide you with the practical and conceptual skills needed to explore wide ranging professional, scientific and amateur photographic practices.

The internationally renowned teaching staff bring with them outstanding links with major photographic collections, archives, galleries and museums worldwide. Networking with the Photographic History Research Centre’s (PHRC) vibrant research environment, you will gain an in-depth understanding of the relationship between photography, history, society and culture, and enhance your critical and research skills.

Aimed mainly at social, cultural and visual historians, conservationists, archivists, visual sociologists and visual anthropologists, the Photographic History MA will prepare you for a wide range of careers in the cultural sector as well as for further study.

As this course is delivered online by distance learning, you will need access to the internet and a computer with software capable of reading and writing Rich Text Format documents, such as Microsoft Word.

Key features

  • Flexible module choice allows you to pursue your studies at your own pace, while working around your work, family and other commitments.
  • Engage with digital and analogue photographic histories, practices, images, theories and research methodologies.
  • Investigate social and cultural photographic practices as well as the cultural and social significance of the medium throughout its history.
  • Gain professional experience with our Fieldwork module which offers the opportunity to work on an independent project for a photographic organisation.
  • Advance your research through a dissertation or heritage project.
  • Work alongside a renowned team of expert scholars from the Photographic History Research Centre (PHRC) and beyond.

 

Scholarships:

At DMU, we are committed to helping our graduates enhance their careers and personal development through further study.

Postgraduate Alumni Scholarship
Up to 20 per cent of tuition fees offered to DMU alumni who wish to continue their studies at DMU by enrolling on a postgraduate taught course. For more information visit our Postgraduate Alumni Scholarship page.

Sports Scholarship
Apply for the DMU Sports Scholarship, worth up to £6,000.

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  • UK
  • EU/International

Location: Online/distance learning

Start date: September 2022

Duration: One year full-time, two years part-time or individual modules.

Fees and funding: UK 2022/23 fees: £8,560 (full-time) per year, part-time fees will be £715 per 15 credits.

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.

Location: Online/distance learning

Start date: September 2022

Duration: One year full-time, two years part-time or individual modules.

Fees and funding: 2022/23 tuition fees for EU and international students: £15,100 (full-time) per year, £7,550 (part-time) per year, or £1,258 per 15 credit module.

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.

Entry criteria

Typical entry requirements 

You should have the equivalent of a 2.2 or above UK bachelor’s honours degree in a relevant subject such as history, museum studies, art history, photography and lens based media, history of science, heritage studies or literature.

We welcome applications from a wide sector and all non-standard applications will be carefully considered.

Interview

Non-standard applicants will be invited to attend an interview.

International students

If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with 5.5 in each band, 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

Learning Photographic History Online

This module introduces you to online learning at the MA level in photographic history. It serves to introduce students to the platform, help them to navigate the learning tasks, and familiarise them with the expectations of the MA modules, assessment, and resources available. All students must take this module and pass the assessment to commence study. The module will cover aspects of online learning, platform navigation, MA study, and photographic history introduction to enable students to begin a module.

Photographic Historiography I (15 credits)

This module introduces you to historiography in photographic scholarship through examination of key theoretical frameworks and their influence on the development of research in the field. It will develop your knowledge of traditional historiographical concerns alongside current trends and new directions in writing and thinking about photographs. It also aims to enable you to think critically about the way photographic historians have formulated questions, used sources and written photographic history. It will help you to build up an informed knowledge of recent developments in photographic history, as well as the history of the discipline as it has been written across the globe.Topics to be covered will be drawn from the following: global and transnational histories; the canon of photographic history; photographic histories and the history of photography; social and cultural histories of photography; gender and race and the histories of photography; and recent developments in photographic history.

Photographic Historiography II (15 credits)

This advanced module extends your knowledge about the historiography of photographic scholarship through examination of key theoretical frameworks and their influence on the development of research in the field. Topics to be covered will extend and deepen critical knowledge of: global and transnational histories; the canon of photographic history; photographic histories and the history of photography; social and cultural histories of photography; gender and race and the histories of photography; and recent developments in photographic history.

Photography and the Arts (15 credits)

This module introduces you to the many roles photography plays in and as art, design and architecture. Topics covered will draw from the history of photography as an art form; photography in art, architecture and design; photography curation; Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAM) and photography; fine art and photography markets.

Photography, Science and Technology (15 credits)

This module introduces you to photography through the prism of science studies, considering how photography structures large organizations, how it facilitates communication, and how it comes to have meaning in the scientific world. Topics will be drawn from: The science and technology of analogue photography; the science and technology of digital photography; uses of photography in scientific disciplines; uses of photography as an organizational or scientific tool; current themes in visual science and technology studies (vSTS).

Photography, Ethics and Emotions (15 credits)

This module examines the ethics of photography from historical and practical points of view. Engaging with research in atrocity photography, postcolonial studies and medical humanities among others, it explores how and when photographs are sensitive materials and the ethical responsibilities of photographers, historians and researchers towards historical subjects and the public.

Material Histories 1830s to 1930s (15 credits)

This module offers an introduction to photographic images as objects. With lectures based on objects including those at DMU's Special Collections, the you will be encouraged to find and use collections local to them. You will be encouraged to learn history through a hands-on approach to primary source material.

Material Histories 1930s to Now (15 credits)

This optional module is about how social, economic, and colonial histories can be told through photographic materials. This module can be taken independently of Material Histories I, and immerses you in the material histories of 20th and 21st century photography, and assesses 20th and 21st century photographic objects for historical information.

Photography and Politics (15 credits)

This module approaches the study of photography through exploration of the medium’s employment in state, national, social, civil and cultural inter-personal relations. Combining considerations of political scholarship with internationally diverse case studies from the nineteenth-century to the present day, it unravels how photography has participated in historical processes and conditioned everyday lived experiences since its very beginnings. The module will discuss themes from: politics and the conceptualization of photography; photography and political realities; the significance of photography to the organization and re-organization of civil society; photography and gender, race, class and queer politics. 

Photography and Digital Politics (15 credits)

The emerging prominence of digital technologies at the turn of the twenty-first century and their vast popularisation in the 2010s in particular have arguably transformed the ways in which individuals, communities, social groups and nations understand and interact with one another. Examining concepts and practices such as digital heritage, digital history and digital diplomacy, this module equally explores how photography has participated in this process, how the process itself has reconceptualised what photography means and how it has amended photography’s more traditional uses in the social and national political spheres.

Producing and Consuming Photographs (15 credits)

This module introduces you to the businesses, industries and markets in which photographs are made, circulated and consumed. The module is intended to raise critical awareness of the economies of photography as it is produced by companies and consumed by its audiences. The module will cover themes from the following topics: photographic companies; “crazes” and “trends”; photographs as commodities in the market; industrial histories around the world; environmental histories of photographic production.

Fieldwork (30 credits)

The fieldwork experience module will involve at least 250 hours of experience with a relevant organisation. Fieldwork experiences may be organised by the programme leader or you can find a reputable organisation or business with which to gain experience.

Dissertation or Heritage Project (60 credits)

You will develop your own research in this long and deep module, either in a traditional written format or in an embedded project. The module is developed around your own research, with help of your personal tutor.

Note: All modules are indicative and based on the current academic session. Course information is correct at the time of publication and is subject to review. Exact modules may, therefore, vary for your intake in order to keep content current. If there are changes to your course we will, where reasonable, take steps to inform you as appropriate.

Overview

Each module blends asynchronous lectures, activities, research and reflection accessed through our learning platform. Your learning will be facilitated by tutorials arranged by appointment. 

Contact hours

Each 15 credit module encompasses 150 hours of learning, researching and assessment. The 30 credit module and 60 credit module are 300 and 600 hours respectively. Tutors have dedicated office hours in term time for tutorials, answering queries, responding to discussion boards and engaging with your research. 

 

Facilities and features

Library

On campus, the main Kimberlin Library offers a space where you can work, study and access a vast range of print materials, with computer stations, laptops, plasma screens and assistive technology also available. 

As well as providing a physical space in which to work, we offer online tools to support your studies, and our extensive online collection of resources accessible from our Library website, e-books, specialised databases and electronic journals and films which can be remotely accessed from anywhere you choose. 

We will support you to confidently use a huge range of learning technologies, including Blackboard, Collaborate Ultra, DMU Replay, MS Teams, Turnitin and more. Alongside this, you can access LinkedIn Learning and learn how to use Microsoft 365, and study support software such as mind mapping and note-taking through our new Digital Student Skills Hub. 

The library staff offer additional support to students, including help with academic writing, research strategies, literature searching, reference management and assistive technology. There is also a ‘Just Ask’ service for help and advice, live LibChat, online workshops, tutorials and drop-ins available from our Learning Services, and weekly library live chat sessions that give you the chance to ask the library teams for help.

More flexible ways to learn

We offer an equitable and inclusive approach to learning and teaching for all our students. Known as the Universal Design for Learning (UDL), our teaching approach has been recognised as sector leading. UDL means we offer a wide variety of support, facilities and technology to all students, including those with disabilities and specific learning differences.

Just one of the ways we do this is by using ‘DMU Replay’ – a technology providing all students with anytime access to audio and/or visual material of lectures. This means students can revise taught material in a way that suits them best, whether it's replaying a recording of a class or adapting written material shared in class using specialist software.

 

Opportunities and careers

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Placements

Through the Fieldwork module, you can gain professional experience working within a relevant organisation to boost your employability, alongside developing your critical evaluation skills. Your fieldwork will either be negotiated with the programme team’s established connections, or you are welcome to develop your own connections into a fieldwork opportunity. 

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Graduate careers

The Photographic History MA provides you with a solid grounding of practical skills and theoretical understanding that will equip you for a wide range of careers in research, archives, museums and galleries. Many of our graduates have received scholarships to pursue PhDs in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, and the USA, 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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