School of Anthropology & Conservation

Excellence in diversity Global in reach



MA in Visual Anthropology

Unique opportunity to explore traditional and experimental means of using visual and audio-visual media.

This programme will not run in 2015-16.

Please contact the course convener Mike Poltorak ( to discuss how you can specialise in visual anthropology within the current MA in Social Anthropology we offer.

The MA in Visual Anthropology offers a unique opportunity to explore traditional and experimental means of using visual and audio-visual media to research, represent and produce anthropological knowledge. Our pioneering use of multimedia in anthropology is now complemented by an innovative interest in public and collaborative anthropology, critical engagement with policy and the use of audio-visual and internet based media in advocacy and activism.

Grounded in and committed to practice-led theory in social anthropology the course critically examines the relation of the visual to the other senses and the power of media to move people to action. It also seeks inspiration from outside of disciplinary boundaries for the purposes of engaging wider audiences.

The course is designed for those who wish to gain a strong grounding in Visual Anthropology while gaining practical skills and developing their own expertise and interests in new, productive and collaborative areas. Integration with linked modules in Social Anthropology ensures that the course widens career prospects and provides ideal preparation for further research.

Visit our blog to watch student videos, see photos from our recent events and watch talks. Our blog will give you a real feel for the exciting life of our programme.

Apply Now (see note on required deposit in the FAQ section below)




Why Kent?

As one of only four dedicated Visual Anthropology programmes  in the UK we distinguish ourselves in six main ways:


Integration with Social Anthropology

Integration with Social Anthropology supports the development of expansive, creative, ethnographically grounded and issues based interests. It also enables the widest possible career and research prospects after graduation.



Teaching by experts

Teaching and visits by inspirational experts and filmmakers with cutting edge knowledge and links to industry, NGOs and activist organisations. A wide range of visiting filmmakers and experts teach dedicated workshops and show their films during our Spring Film and Advocacy Series.


Experience based learning

Emphasis on experience based learning through local outreach and collaboration in local placements. This is part of a wider School and disciplinary push towards an engaged and publicly accessible anthropology. MA students have a unique opportunity to collaborate with local organisations and produce multimedia documents that make a significant contribution to their concerns and issues.


Small groups & excellent facilities

Small group and feedback based teaching using up to date digital video, sound recording, photographic equipment and web based platforms. Our single figure admission to the programme ensures maximum learning and feedback with fellow students and staff. You have 24/7 access to the six workstations in our dedicated visual anthropology lab throughout the period of the course. 

(click on image to see larger version)



Supportive, international & friendly atmosphere

Supportive, international and friendly atmosphere facilitating collaboration and learning within the school across regional and theoretical areas. We encourage you to build summer projects that link sub-disciplines of anthropology and cross disciplinary boundaries. Students are able to audit a wide range of postgraduate courses and draw inspiration and develop contacts from our wide networks.


Flexible and mixed AV/Text dissertation

The course is designed to help you negotiate the unique challenge of balancing your own creative interests, locating your work within the discipline of Anthropology and engaging productively with the needs of your collaborators. The dissertation is the culmination of this process which is why it is important that you decide what percentage (up to a maximum of 50%) of your dissertation is submitted as photographic, video or internet based media.


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The University of Kent's location close to Canterbury centre and Canterbury's relatively small size plays a key role in the success of our programme. Students gain a relatively quick appreciation of overarching local history and local issues through training that encourages a multisensory appreciation of the local physical and social environment.

The layout and location of our school also facilitates conviviality and collaboration. There are many places to meet and chat including the Create Café, the lawns outside the school, the Ethnobotanical Garden and a dedicated Visual Anthropology Room. Located in the centre of the school the Visual Anthropology Room has ergonomically designed work spaces and a small reading area. The surrounding corridors, as well as serving as exhibition space, are places for informal conversations and serve as backdrops for exercises in filming and movement.

Kent's School of Anthropology and Conservation is well known for good undergraduate and postgraduate morale and excellent rapport between staff and students. That morale is also reflected in the way students frequently draw on each other's previous expertise to compliment the core training. We find most years students bring with them a variety of complimentary skills.

Other buildings and the surrounding campus are also used for practical training. Some of our training is done in collaboration with the Drama Department in the brand new studio space of the prize winning Jarman Building.
Our long term collaboration with local organisations encourages a greater familiarity between students doing the course and between students and their collaborators, increasing the likelihood of 'shared anthropology' and relevance to public anthropology, particularly in terms of a participatory research process and its outputs.
We are three minutes walk from the Gulbenkian Cinema and Theatre with an excellent programme of alternative and challenging films and plays.

For those who miss the energy of London, Canterbury West is now only one hour by train from Kings Cross St Pancras on the new High Speed link, giving access to Film Festivals, British Library resources and other university seminars in London. Our students frequently attend key events in London, drawing inspiration that then can be developed and productively focussed in the more tranquil and convivial environment of Canterbury.


School of Anthropology and Conservation - © University of Kent

School of Anthropology and Conservation, Marlowe Building, The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NR, T: +44 (0)1227 827056

Last Updated: 12/06/2015