Film and Photographic Studies
The specialisation in Film and Photographic Studies offers you a unique programme, focusing on a challenging academic study in the field of ‘lens-based’ media, comprising photography, film and video.
The curriculum is a combination of history and theory of film and photography within the broad context of visual and other media. The programme will focus on these three media as well as on the basis of the discourse on their specific nature and their relation to one another.
Graduates of this master’s programme are qualified for positions as film and photographic historian, museum curator, critic, manager of a photographic agency or exhibition producer.
Why choose the MA in Film and Photographic Studies?
- The ubiquity of lens-based and projected media in contemporary culture has established a growing need for well-trained professionals who can analyse film and photography both as independent media and in relation to other cultural practices and disciplines. Our programme is the only one, nationally and internationally, to focus on film, video and photography while maintaining an interdisciplinary approach. The curriculum provides students with an in-depth understanding of the specific histories, institutions and discourses of cinema, photography, video and other media arts.
- We distinguish ourselves from other academic programmes, such as media studies or visual culture, through a concrete focus on artistic and critical networks of production, distribution and exhibition. In particular our programme focuses on the intersection between moving and still images. Whereas other academic programmes study photography only within an art historical context or concentrate on cinema within the framework of the performing arts or the mass media, it is our aim to foster a dialogue between the various fields of photographic and cinematic studies.
- The curriculum covers the history and theory of lens-based media since the nineteenth century, discussing various developments of an artistic, independent and mainstream nature. A variety of lecture courses, workshops, seminars and internships allow students to reflect on the specificity of these media practices, to explore their interrelationships, and to investigate their place within a broader mediascape.
- Our faculty maintains extensive ties with other academic and cultural institutions within the Netherlands and abroad, providing students with immediate access to a broad professional network. Presentations by artists, critics, scholars and curators are incorporated within the curriculum. During the first semester, for instance, field trips are organized to introduce students to several key institutions within the field. One of the major strengths of the programme is our direct affiliation with one of the oldest photo collections in the Netherlands, which is housed at the Leiden University library.
- A special elective within the program focuses on current exhibition methods and practices within the field of lens-based media. Assignments may involve the development of an exhibition proposal. Students may also undertake a three-month internship with a museum or other professional organization. Interns have been placed, among other places, with the Photography Collection in Leiden, Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Magnum (New York), International Center of Photography (New York), Museum of Photography (Rotterdam), The Museum of Photography (The Hague), FOAM (Amsterdam), Fotomuseum Winterthur, and Victoria & Albert Museum (London).
Who may apply?
The programme will be of interest to students who have acquired an undergraduate background in art history, film studies, cultural studies, visual studies, media studies or literature and wish to pursue a professional career in the field of cinema, photography and/or media arts. The programme also encourages applications by artists, photographers, and filmmakers who would like to expand their historical and theoretical base. See entry requirements for more details.
Areas of attention
- interdisciplinary methods in the study of photography, film and video;
- aesthetic, social and political theories of photography, film and video;
- avant-garde, documentary, independent, and mainstream practices of photography, film and video
- the interconnections among photography, film and video, and other visual art practices;
- the relationship of film, photography, video and other media arts to dominant media practices, such as television or Hollywood cinema;
- media archaeology;
- the presentation forms of photography, film and video (exhibitions, internet, publications, reviews, etc.);
- photography, film and video as research practice;
- strategies in the field of collecting, conservation and arts administration;
- recent developments such as digital photography and new media.