The University is world-renowned for the study of Documentary Photography and this distinctive MA offers a contemporary and lively engagement with the subject, ranging from reportage to fine art. You will also engage with international visiting speakers and our cohort of scholars undertaking PhDs in photography as part of our photography research centre.
The MA Documentary Photography course challenges you to explore definitions of Documentary Photography by embracing a wide range of practices, while working through real world engagement with social and political issues.
You will be taught by world-leading photographers, writers and curators through a series of lectures, seminars and technical workshops which will encourage you to develop new ways of thinking about your practice.
What you will study
The MA in Documentary Photography has a long-sustained reputation for innovation and has established a highly distinctive approach towards its teaching, research and professional practice. The new programme will be the first course that offers an online programme alongside access to printing facilities, processing of film, scanning and access to our expert technicians.
The new two-year online programme, with optional on-campus and national and international masterclasses, will provide flexibility for students, depending on their requirements, ability to travel and proximity to the campus. The desire for remote learning is indicative of the way in which contemporary documentary photography students wish to study and engage with experts in the field. This philosophy supports the contemporary student and alleviates certain barriers around postgraduate study. The new programme will provide the highest education at a universally commensurate price point, beyond the boundaries of race, class, sexuality, gender or ability to travel.
The programme will reflect the shift in documentary practices with the incorporation of student engagement with networked media and post-digital cultures alongside, archival material, audio, and moving images. This will reflect the philosophy and interests of the teaching staff and support the production of portfolios that engage with complex narratives that utilise wide-ranging material and are disseminated utilising a broad range of online and material environments.
The new MA Documentary Photography course will continue to challenge students to explore definitions of Documentary Photography and to develop a strong, expansive, and sustainable documentary practice that unites a diverse range of imagery from multiple sources, alongside rigorous critical thinking and real-world engagement with social and political issues.
Study online. No need to relocate, take a career break or apply for a visa. Study alongside and network with other students from around the world. All assessments are taken and submitted online and assessed by our world-class academics.
Access to facilities optional course cost. This will be of benefit for ‘Home ‘students and will include access to the library facilities, printing facilities, processing of film, scanning and access to our expert technicians.
Biannual masterclasses. During the duration of the course, there will be optional opportunities at residential workshops with lecturers, fellow students and industry specialists, held either at Cardiff or other International locations. (subject to student numbers)
Reviewing Practice 20 credits. During this introductory module, students will explore distinct areas of documentary photography while reviewing and reflecting on their own and fellow students’ work in progress. The module will start with a series of online technical induction and equipment use tutorials. This will take place alongside a series of demonstrations and workshops by industry specialists working professionally within the field of documentary practices. In addition, there will be lectures and presentations that will address introductory themes of documentary practices.
Researching Practice 20 credits. This module seeks to explore, discuss, and debate ideas, issues and practices connected to the histories and theories of documentary practices and works alongside the Reviewing Practice Module. Students will also have a series of lectures by specialists introducing them to research methodologies. Completion of a literature review and development of a proposal for a major project.
Defining Practice 20 credits. During this second module students will start the process of defining their practice with a focus on collaborative practice and ethical community engagement. Understanding how to negotiate, propose, develop, contextualise, create and evaluate projects alongside the production of the beginnings of a body of work. Submission will be a development folder and a ‘work in progress’ portfolio.
Research Contexts 20 credits. An understanding of the history and theory of photography is pivotal to postgraduate studies as is the ability of students to contextualise their work. This module will facilitate that process by exposing the student to a broad range of material delivered by industry and academic experts from a diverse area of photographic and artistic environments. In addition, the module will encourage authority when evaluating and critically assessing others’ artifacts relevant to that practice and deepen the grasp of the intellectual concerns that propel their practice.
Positioning Practice 40 credits. During this module, students will continue with their major projects alongside learning the importance of positioning their practice. Students will be exposed to platforms utilized for the dissemination of projects and learn additional application skills with a focus on moving image and Web Doc production. In addition, students will consolidate their research through a presentation that will situate their work within the broad field of documentary practices.
Professional Contexts 20 credits. Students are required to develop an understanding of business practice pertinent to their own practice. A report of interviews and independent industry research will form the structure of the module focusing on networking and business practice, including interviews with and or case studies upon relevant practitioners, writers, or curators. In addition, students will present their findings.
Critical Text 20 credits. This module addresses the key issues and ideas raised by that practice. The final written text should articulate the student’s ideas with confidence and authority. The module requires students to identify a representative practice or practices (Case Studies) that connect with and inform their own core interests. Through identification and consideration of these practices, students will examine the central questions of site, audience, institution, and authorship.
The Realised Document 20 credits. A submission of specified material prepared by the student during the course that realises their projects. The module will concentrate on the realisation of an individual project/s for assessment at the end of the module and explore the potential outcome of practical work in relation to audience, site and distributional form.
Students will be taught via a range of university-taught modules.
Initially you will be assessed through the production of experimental work-in progress, with fully resolved work expected in later modules. Alongside your work you will be asked to develop a perspective through written texts placing your work in its photographic and social context.
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