In a fast-changing 24-hour multimedia landscape, where everyone with a camera phone is a photographer, our graduates stand out for their creativity, professionalism and critical understanding of the photographic medium.
Our continually evolving course is directly informed by input from the world’s leading photographers, editors and curators. Through a dynamic programme of study, we will work with you to develop your individual creative ability, technical skills, critical knowledge and professional experience, to establish a career using photography as a tool for creative expression and visual communication.
The course is designed to be highly motivating to students – the teaching and learning activities are conceived to have clear relevance to your future career. We will focus on the development of problem solving, reflective practice, critical thinking, technical and practical skills related to photographic practice.
From the outset, we will develop your technical skills and teach you to understand what it is to situate yourself within a professional photographic environment. We’ll introduce you to wider thematic questions and encourage critical thinking about the medium so you’re better equipped to think as an informed image-maker. You will develop your understanding of visual communications within the context of different industries, ranging from fashion photography through to fine art.
Together, we will question and explore all the latest developments in photography – recently this has included data mining, geotagging, gif making, glitching, distributed authorship, archives, hypertext navigation, collaborative photographic practices and much more.
Throughout the course, we invite the international photography community into our classroom, enabling you to engage directly with the industry. You’ll work on projects on location and in the studio, developing high levels of competence using industry-standard cameras, lenses, lighting equipment and editing software in the digital darkrooms.
Why choose this course?
Ranked 1st in the UK for Film Production and Photography in the Guardian University Guide 2019, our highly-esteemed Photography degree is designed to create ‘next generation’ photographers – independent, creative, critical, adaptable and professional.
We aim to equip you with a critical understanding of contemporary photographic practice in its wider cultural, historical and professional contexts. We will work with you to develop a high standard of technical and practical skills across a wide range of analogue and digital photography processes, and associated media equipment and platforms.
All of our staff are experienced practitioners, who work across the industries of photography. They draw upon their knowledge, expertise and experience of working with photography in a variety of professional contexts, as editorial photographers, curators, writers, researchers, picture editors, archivist, and educators for organisations such as the National Portrait Gallery, The Photographers’ Gallery, IC Visual Lab, Barbican Art Gallery, British Museum, Offprint, Photoworks, Artangel, Photofusion, Channel 4, Time Inc. and Conde Nast. The excellence of their work is internationally recognised through awards such as Conde Nast Vogue Award, Elle Portrait Award, Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize and the Association of Photographers Awards.
Using industry-standard equipment and software, you’ll be taught in open photography classes where you can take advantage of contributions from our network of photographic experts from across the globe. In the past, this has included workshops, lectures, collaborative projects and online international learning projects, for example, with the Universidad de Europa de Madrid, Spain and Universitatea Nationala De Arte, Bucharest. On UK and international industry fieldtrips, we’ll introduce you to publishers, agencies, studios, galleries and museums, such as Belfast Exposed Photography, Museo del Prado Madrid, Museum of Modern Art New York, Source, Rope Press, Self-Publish Be Happy, Museum of London, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Law Magazine, Aperture, Paris Photo, GRAIN and International Centre of Photography New York.
The focus of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities is on learning by doing, so you graduate with the skills to immediately start a successful career – 100% of our 2014/15 graduates were in work or further study after six months. Throughout your studies, we offer technical skill sessions and refreshers on anything from cyanotype darkroom printing to Adobe Photoshop.
International experience opportunities
Our sandwich degree option allows a full-year placement, which can be taken abroad. In the past, photography students have studied abroad at places such as International Centre of Photography, New York, USA; Universidad Europea de Madrid, Spain; Karlstad University, Sweden; Hanze University, Groningen, Netherlands; and Universidad Carlos III, Madrid, Spain. The University also runs a number of schemes to allow students short periods of overseas study, places include: China, USA, South America and parts of Europe.
Throughout the course, online international learning (OIL) projects are facilitated in collaboration with universities overseas, enhancing your global experience and international networks. Recent OIL projects have taken place with partners in the Universidad de Europa de Madrid, Spain, and Universitatea Nationala De Arte, Bucharest.
Like all of our creative courses, Photography is very much practice-led and informed by research and critical thinking. Throughout your course, you will be encouraged to develop projects that enable you to determine which fields you wish to specialise in, while at the same time building a portfolio of work which will stand out from the crowd.
We benefit from the department’s longstanding relationships with regional, national and international media producers, galleries and museums, including the BBC, Birmingham Open Media, GRAIN, The Photographers’ Gallery, The National Portrait Gallery, Photofusion, and Belfast Exposed Photography.
As well as having the option of a year-long work placement as part of a sandwich year, you also have an opportunity for shorter self-initiated placements. Coventry University BA Photography students have worked with photographers as far afield as New York, with such luminaries as Annie Leibovitz, GQ and Vogue photographer Chris Floyd, World Press Award winner Peter Dench, Simon Roberts and Martin Parr.
To celebrate the culmination of students’ studies with us, we produce a Degree Show every year, showcasing the best of their work. This is an important platform for graduates as professionals from across the industries of photography are invited to view the exhibition and receive copies of its accompanying catalogue. The Degree Show is also an important opportunity to host portfolio reviews with high profile industry experts, picture editors, curators, and commissioners. In the past, we have invited experts from a vast array of organisations, including: Magnum; Photofusion; 1000 Words; Victoria and Albert Museum; Photocaptionist; The New Statesman; The Sunday Times; The Photographers’ Gallery; GRAIN; and Photomonitor to review portfolios.
Our Creative Futures employment team is on hand to offer tailored career and enterprise support if you wish to gain employment or take advantage of professional practice opportunities within course specific industries. It provides specialist careers information, advice and guidance to all our students from their first year through to final year and beyond graduation, helping them achieve their desired career outcome. Our dedicated enterprise officers also offer valuable assistance on how to begin as a freelancer/entrepreneur.
Coventry University is committed to preparing you for your future career and giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market. The University’s Careers and Employability team provide a wide range of support services to help you plan and prepare for your career.