Applications for this programme are closed until the 2019/20 academic year.

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 into 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.


This programme is an ideal stepping stone towards advanced study in cultural studies and any related field. This in itself could lead to an ongoing academic career, or a role in education. You may otherwise take the critical, analytical, interpretive and representational skills and apply them in almost any professional setting.

How to apply and entrance requirements

If you'd like to study on a postgraduate programme at Edinburgh College of Art, you must apply through EUCLID, our online application system. You can find out how to do this on the University of Edinburgh website, where you'll also be able to:

  • see detailed entrance requirements for each programme on the Degree Finder
  • get information on what to expect after you apply
  • find out about study modes, start dates and fees
  • find out if, and how, you need to submit a portfolio, showreel or research proposal
  • find out where to go for further advice and guidance

Take me to the University of Edinburgh website on how to apply for postgraduate study


Dr Ella Chmielewska

Senior Lecturer, Cultural Studies

Email: Ella.Chmielewska@ed.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)131 651 3736

Facilities and resources

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

Students at the University of Edinburgh have access to a range of library resources across the campus and online.


Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions

Email: cahss.pgadmissions@ed.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)131 650 4086