MA Global Arts: Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London

MA Global Arts: Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London

Goldsmiths, University of London

July 5, 2011
MA Global Arts: Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London

Department of Visual Cultures 



Designed for students who are interested in critical approaches to the impact of globalisation, migration and international circulation of Visual Culture. This includes an understanding of how art exhibitions respond to issues of globalisation, how activism and critical practices intervene through the arts and their institutions, and how post-colonial experience and theory have moved from geographical margins to cultural centers. Our arena of study is positioned on the one hand, in the aftermath of anti-colonial struggles for liberation and of their concurrent processes of self-constitution. On the other it considers the demands of the market to produce cultural references that signify clearly across the globe. In dialogue with these tensions, this programme begins the work of mapping out how, in the twenty-first century, creative practices constitute new realities within globalisation.


What do you study?
The course is made up of a two strand, 5-week core course and two 15-week special subjects.


The 5-week core course is divided into two complementary strands. Strand A lays a foundation in post-colonial theory and introduces students to the writings of Edward Said, Homi Bhabha, Gayatry Spivak, bel hooks, Trinh T. Minh-Ha and others. Strand B strengthens your understanding of the critical framework of the course by considering major international exhibitions that have shifted the terms of the debate: “Primitivism in 20th Century Art”, “The Short Century”, “Documenta XI”, “Migration Project Cologne” and the “Istanbul Biennale 2009.”


Special Subjects


Special subjects are 15 weeks, in-depth taught courses based on the current research interests of staff. They enable you to focus on an aspect of contemporary art, cultural theory or contemporary thought that particularly interests you. Not all special subjects will be available each year.


Compulsory Special Subject: Geographies, Irit Rogoff and Simon Harvey


This course engages with an expanded notion of the geographic, specifically the shift from classical post-colonial geography to issues of cartography. Drawing on key theoretical texts and the works of spatial practitioners (contemporary artists, architects, curators, activists and others in the fields of the humanities), it explores such issues as urbanity, globalisation, mobility, conflict, migration and human rights.


Additional Special subjects; Conflict and Negotiations as Spatial Practices, Paulo Tavares (with the participation of Eyal Weizman and Susan Schuppli)


The course offers readings of contemporary political issues as relations in space. We will engage with a number of thinkers including Michel Foucault, Hannah Arendt, Achille Mbembe, Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Ranciere, Chantal Mouffe, Bruno Latour, Manuel Delanda, and develop spatial conceptions alongside their theoretical and political positions.  Key concepts explored include ‘space/event’, flows, bio-politics, crisis, resistance, the figure of the refugee and its emergent geography of extra-territoriality.


Affiliations, Jean-Paul Martinon


Who are we? How do we affiliate ourselves? How are art, space and time conceived in this respect? By drawing on selected examples of Sub-Saharan African philosophy, art and culture, this course radically challenges dominant western universalist responses to these questions. Authors studied include Emmanuel Eze, Valentin Mudimbe, Kwasi Wiredu, Paulin Hountondji, Mogobe Ramose, and Patrick Chamoiseau. The material explored on this course also includes films, artworks, and poetry from Sub-Saharan Africa.


Transforming Critical Practices (Laboratory course), Helge Mooshammer and Peter Mörtenbock


This course offers an experimental environment to explore different ways of integrating and critically transforming the experience of the MA programme into one’s own practice of research, writing, curating, artistic and cultural work. We work in small groups and develop a variety of projects that allow us to engage with a wider audience and to communicate our concerns in a dialogic process of working with peers.


Transcultural Memory, Astrid Schmetterling


This course focuses on questions of memory, placing particular emphasis on the encounter of different histories and remembrances between and across cultures. Drawing on a variety of art works, exhibitions, films, literary texts and theoretical models (eg Halbwachs, Levinas, Du Bois, Caruth, Hirsch and Rothberg) the course explores spaces in which memories neither compete with nor erase each other, but interact in productive and unforeseen ways.


Dissonant Images and Questions of Evidence, Nicole Wolf


Drawing on the histories and theories of political film-making from around the world, this course asks how artistic experimentation with the documentary form relates to, and produces new constitutions of the evidential, the political and ultimately the judicial. Can creative documentary practice productively address situations of crisis and emergency or anticipate new forms of thinking democracy and human rights after their apparent failure as models for justice? Case studies span practices from the Soviet Avant Garde, Latin American Third Cinema, revolutionary cinema from African and South Asian contexts, and cinematic instances of socio-political change within Europe and North America post WWII.


Entrance requirements


You should normally have, or expect to gain, an undergraduate degree (academic or practice based) of at least second-class standard in humanities or social sciences including art history, fine art, studio-based practice, arts administration and related activities.


Application and admission


Please visit to download an application form. Application forms are also available from, and should be returned to, the Admissions Office at Goldsmiths, London University.


We welcome applications to this new programme for 2011–12 entry: deadline end of summer 2011.


For additional information about the degree programme, please contact Professor Irit Rogoff, e-mail [email protected]


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