Cultural Studies - MSc

Outline

Linking urban culture, creative research methodologies and critical thinking, our programme is focused on place, memory and visuality. It takes the city, and its complexity, as a hinge to creative, project-based, theoretical and methodological investigations of contemporary cultures. You will study in an environment uniquely spanning cultural criticism, architectural theory and design practice, critically engaging with the challenges and opportunities of studying the contemporary city, its visual cultures, narratives and discourses. Areas of particular interest include urban photography, graffiti and street art, curating and exhibition design, museum culture and public art, new forms of visual, spatial and textual practices, and critical approaches to image and writing.

What you will study

We will encourage and enable your investigations the city as a site of cultural production and contestation, places of memory and cultures of forgetting, questions of identity and representation and urban cultural and semiotic landscapes. Transdisciplinary and critical comparative approaches are key and we invite students from varied academic backgrounds and cultural traditions. Our approach is research-led and exploratory and we provide studio-style learning and critical reviews. 

You will gain critical, analytical, interpretative and representational skills that are transferable to both academic and other professional settings. You will have the chance to critically engage with current cultural debates that frame the understanding of visual and spatial practices, design and everyday cultures, and the relationships between text and image, place and representation. Throughout the programme, your learning will be supported by guest seminars and critical reviews, film screenings, exhibitions, workshops, field trips and events and directed towards events hosted by the University and other cultural institutions within the city.

Top five reasons to choose the programme

  • Innovative learning in which theoretically grounded courses are taught through studio-style learning and critical reviews.
  • Distinctive focus on the city and visuality, visual knowledges and critical attention to modalities and strategies of representation and display. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, we look at contemporary visual and spatial phenomena and forms of cultural production and critique. 
  • Curatorial projects and creative, collaborative experimentation with forms of critical writing and modes of presentation of research. We support exhibition projects and innovative events that involve non-academic participants and audiences.
  • Fieldwork is centred on exhibitions and art projects and a one week-long themed urban field trip that explores techniques of site investigation and research methodologies and experiments with modes of documentation, writing and presentation of research material.
  • Publishing as both a subject of critique and a mode of research dissemination. You will be encouraged to actively contribute to research culture and cultural criticism and seek ways of transforming your academic work into publications: collaborative book-projects, articles in academic and professional journals, exhibition reviews and magazine articles, online journals and blogs.

Staff

Dr Ella Chmielewska, Programme Director | View staff profile >

Facilities

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Resources for History of Art, Art, Architecture and Landscape Architecture students.

A fully operational, entirely student-run 90-seat theatre housed in a neo-gothic church.

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The Centre for Research Collections (CRC) is the main space for anyone using the University of Edinburgh’s historic collections.

Work spaces are available across the University. ECA's computers include software tailored to the disciplines studied here.

At the heart of the Evolution House Learning and Research Zone, the ECA Library provides an innovative environment for learning, teaching and research resources in art and design.

ECAfé provides a full catering service to all staff, students and visitors to Edinburgh College of Art.

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A Georgian garden that doubles as a venue for performances in the centre of the city.

The primary collection of books, periodicals, manuscripts, and research material.

This model workshop is equipped for constructing architectural models in a wide variety of materials.

By day, a café, bar and study space, and by night a club venue. Potterrow’s dome is also home to the Advice Place and the Potter Shop.

Includes a screen-printing room, relief room, lithography room, process room, intaglio room, and caseroom.

The neo-classical Sculpture Court in the ECA Main Building is home to the many pieces from the Edinburgh Cast Collection, and is regularly used for student exhibitions.

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Offering counselling services for students, workshops, consultation and training for staff.

Supporting students with dyslexia, mental health issues and students on the autistic spectrum, as well as those who have physical and sensory impairments.

Talbot Rice Gallery is the public art Gallery for the University of Edinburgh.

Home to six distinctive bars, Teviot is the oldest purpose built students' union in the world.

A hub for the University Societies and setting regular live music, comedy, spoken word and poetry nights.

A bar at the Lauriston Campus which hosts regular events including club nights and gigs.

Woodworking tools and machinery include laser cutters, a vacuum former, and a 3D scanner and printer.

Scholarships & bursaries

Scholarships available for one academic year of postgraduate study at Edinburgh College of Art. (£5,000)

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Contact

Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions

Phone: +44 (0)131 650 4086

Email: hsspg@ed.ac.uk