Ancient History

History of Art - MA

2019

The MA in History of Art with a term in Rome provides a structured introduction to postgraduate study of the history and philosophy of art.

2019

Overview

It includes a term in Rome where we run the MA with the American University of Rome. A range of themes and approaches are considered in this MA with a particular focus on medieval, Renaissance and Baroque art in Italy. The first term is taught in Canterbury.

During the term in Rome, this MA focuses on the art of Rome with a core course that spans almost two millennia and examines the changing face of the eternal city. This core spends more time on the period 1400-1700, which is also the period from which a second course is chosen from a range of topics. You will study the art of Rome first hand, visiting relevant sites and museums, with options to study the history of Rome and specific artists. Kent staff are present for part of the spring term in Rome to ensure continuity of academic guidance and pastoral support.

The programme is intended for graduates in art history and other arts subjects. It gives you the opportunity to pursue your interest in visual art at advanced level, to develop a high level of expertise in topics in history and philosophy of art and to prepare for doctoral research in history of art.

The American University of Rome was founded in 1969 and runs a wide-ranging series of programmes in the arts and in business administration, including history of art and cultural heritage. The campus is located in the Monteverde district of Rome, a picturesque district with a wide range of shops and amenities. From nearby Trastevere, it is a short bus-ride to the historic centre of Rome with its astonishing range of Roman sites, monuments, churches and museums.

About the Department of History of Art

The History of Art Department within the School of Arts, provides opportunities for graduate study with well-established researchers in the fields of art history, philosophy of art and aesthetics. Staff research covers contemporary art and aesthetics, modernism, theories of art, the historiography of art and the Cold War; biographical monographs, the photograph (in its historical, contemporary and critical contexts), and the historical interplay of image, theory and institutions from the Renaissance to the present (especially European and North American).

Developing areas of interest include the cultural and historical significance of the print, and the role of performance and new media in contemporary art practices, which draw upon our links with other subjects within the School of Arts and the Faculty of Humanities. In particular, postgraduates have the opportunity to participate in the activities of the multidisciplinary Aesthetics Research Centre and the Art History and Visual Cultures Research Centre. There is also a full programme of visiting speakers from across the constituent subject areas within the School of Arts, which includes Film and Drama.

National ratings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, Arts at Kent was ranked 1st for research power and in the top 20 in the UK for research quality.

An impressive 98% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.

Course structure

You take one core module and one optional module during your first term in Canterbury and your second term in Rome. Over the course of these two terms you discuss with the course director your ideas and plans for your 15,000-word dissertation. The writing of the dissertation takes place in the summer with completion in August.

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. 

Term 1 (Canterbury):

Compulsory modules:

One option from:

Term 2 (Rome):

Compulsory Module:

One option from:

Optional modules in Rome are taken through the American University in Rome and change each year.  Past options have included:

  • Michelangelo in Rome

This seminar on Michelangelo examines the work of the Renaissance master; his sculpture, painting, architecture and literary production. His works are investigated within their specific historical context, focusing on issues of commission, iconography, censorship, biography, historiography and aesthetics. An excursion to Florence is also planned. Beyond a complete comprehension of Michelangelo’s work, the course aims toward a mastery of art historical research skills, the evaluation of current scholarship and independent critical thought on art.

Term 3:

Teaching and Assessment

Assessment is by two assignments per module and the dissertation.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

  • provide you with a focused programme of taught postgraduate study in history and philosophy of art; enhanced through the opportunity to study for one term in Rome
  • provide you with a taught foundation for subsequent postgraduate research
  • enable you to acquire or deepen your knowledge and understanding of the historical and contemporary topics within the history of art and philosophy of art
  • enable you to develop your art historical and philosophical skills beyond that expected of an undergraduate; especially through study abroad and site visits
  • enable you to develop, articulate and defend art historical and philosophical ideas as they relate to art
  • provide access to enhanced intercultural awareness and understanding through the opportunity to study for one term in Rome
  • enable you to engage with historical and contemporary theoretical thought about the arts from art historical and philosophical perspectives
  • provide opportunities for the development of personal, communication and research skills and other key skills appropriate for graduate employment both in industry and in the public sector.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You will gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • aspects of the historical development of art, movements, styles and genres, especially from the Renaissance to the present day
  • the works of a range of significant artists of different periods and cultures
  • a range of different visual art forms and techniques, such as painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, installation and video
  • the cultural, social and historical contexts in which artworks are produced, used and understood
  • art historical methods and theories used to study art
  • substantive areas of current research in art history
  • the impact of philosophies of art and aesthetics on the visual arts
  • aspects of the history of aesthetics and the philosophy of art in the western tradition
  • aspects of contemporary aesthetic theory and issues in the philosophy of art
  • various positions taken on key issues in contemporary aesthetics and philosophy of art
  • the range of philosophical issues arising in relation to a particular medium of fine art
  • primary and secondary philosophical writings on art and aesthetics relevant to contemporary philosophy of art. 

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills in:

  • a high degree of independent thinking, particularly in relation to the ideas, issues and debates within art history and the philosophy of art
  • advanced research skills relevant to the preparation of essays, dissertations and seminar assignments.
  • an advanced ability to evaluate a range of both primary and secondary sources and conceptual frameworks appropriate to research in the history and philosophy of art
  • a highly developed ability to synthesise diverse materials and ideas to further a specific art historical or art philosophical position
  • an ability to analyse and interpret texts and arguments in a manner that demonstrates advanced skills of critical evaluation
  • an ability to critically reflect at an advanced level upon both one’s own ideas and positions.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • advanced skills of observation, analysis and interpretation of visual artworks, drawing on your knowledge of visual traditions and conventions
  • the use of concepts and methods specific to the history and theory of art
  • the capacity to locate and evaluate evidence from relevant visual and textual sources, and interpret it in relation to art historical enquiries
  • the ability to construct highly effective arguments to defend or challenge a position held by yourself or others
  • the ability to critically engage at an advanced level with some major thinkers and intellectual traditions within art history and the philosophy of art
  • advanced skills of constructive debate and defence of ideas
  • a high degree of critical reflectiveness upon assumptions and beliefs
  • advanced skills of oral presentation and defence of ideas and positions. 

Transferable skills

You will gain the following transferable skills:

  • the ability, at an advanced level, to organise information clearly, respond to written sources, present information orally, adapt style for different audiences, use images as a communication tool, present arguments cogently and effectively in written or spoken form
  • the ability, at an advanced level, to identify and access relevant materials and synthesise them into a broader piece of work
  • the ability to produce written documents, undertake online research, communicate using email and process information using databases
  • the ability to listen effectively and so to learn from and participate constructively in discussion
  • the ability to organise and manage supervised, self-directed work
  • the ability to work in flexible and independently minded ways, showing self-discipline and self-direction
  • problem-solving: the ability to identify and define problems, explore alternative solutions and discriminate between them
  • focus and attentiveness to detail: the ability to work diligently, to fulfil briefs and deadlines, and to take responsibility for your own work.
  • The ability to gather, organise and deploy ideas in order to formulate arguments cogently and express them effectively orally and in written form. 

Careers

Arts postgraduates have gone on to work in a range of professions, from museum positions and teaching roles to marketing and gallery assistants. Our graduates have found work with Tate Britain, the V&A, Museum of Childhood and other arts, culture and heritage-related organisations.

Study support

Postgraduate resources

There is a large and wide-ranging library holding for History & Philosophy of Art, covering the fields of painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, aesthetics and contemporary visual communications. There is a substantial stock of periodicals, online access to e-journals and a slide library with well over 100,000 images, covering areas such as contemporary art, visual cultures, garden history and the film still, as well as traditional media. Kent is ideally located for access to galleries in London and on the continent.

In 2010, we moved into the purpose-built, and RIBA award-winning, Jarman Building located at the centre of the Canterbury campus. The new building is home to the Studio 3 Gallery and a range of teaching and social spaces as well as a dedicated postgraduate centre.

Support

All postgraduate students are offered research skills training and the opportunity to take part in reading groups and research seminars at departmental, school and faculty level. Research students have the added opportunity for funded conference attendance. There is also a dedicated student support office at our Canterbury campus, which can offer support and guidance throughout your studies, in addition to an office in Paris.

In recent years, several members of the History & Philosophy of Art Department, both full-time and part-time, have been awarded University prizes for excellence in student support, curriculum innovation and research-based teaching – an ethos which we seek to extend to the postgraduate community.

Dynamic publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: British Journal of Aesthetics; Art History; History of Photography; Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism; Journal of Visual Arts Practice; and The Philosophical Quarterly.

Global Skills Award

All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.  

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree or better, usually in a relevant humanities subject. In certain circumstances, the School will consider candidates who have not followed a conventional education path or who may have relevant experience in the industry. These cases are assessed individually by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Your application should include a sample of your academic writing. Ideally this will be an essay, on a similar or related topic, that you have recently written as part of your undergraduate degree programme. Please upload this to your application portal.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, and professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country. 

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Need help with English?

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

Research areas

The Department has a collective interest in developing interdisciplinary projects, including projects informed by art history and philosophy of art or aesthetics. Shared areas of research interest include: photography, art theory from the Renaissance to recent times and contemporary art.

Aesthetics Research Centre

The Aesthetics Research Centre coordinates, enables and promotes research in philosophy of art and aesthetics at the University of Kent.

Art History and Visual Cultures

This Research Centre promotes and co-ordinates research amongst the growing community of staff and PG students active at Kent in the field of Art History. 

Other Research Centres within the School:

Centre for Film and Media Research

The Centre draws together scholars from across the University who use film and the moving image as an integral part of their research. We are open to ideas that extend the reach of the Centre and seek to support projects that promote collaboration between individuals and other research centres. Our aim is to produce a more proactive engagement with other disciplines, to open new lines of communication and to produce innovative knowledge formations through the activity of pioneering research projects.

European Theatre

Based at Kent, the UK’s European university, the European Theatre Research Network (ETRN) facilitates and fosters the exchange of theatre traditions, contemporary practices and academic discussion on theatre work from the European continent and also in the new European states. The MA Theatre Direction forms part of this expanding network, drawing for instance on our connection to the Schaubühne Berlin, the Grotowski Workcentre, and other European theatre institutions. For further information, please see www.europeantheatre.org.uk

Cognition, Kinesthetics and Performance

The Centre for Cognition, Kinesthetics and Performance brings together Drama staff and staff in Engineering and Digital Arts; Psychology; Anthropology; and the Tizard Centre to explore the possibilities of interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration between researchers and practitioners in the fields of cognitive neuroscience, interactive performance, digital media, disability studies, and applied performance. For further information, please see www.kent.ac.uk/ckp

Popular and Comic Performance

The Popular and Comic Performance (PCP) research centre brings together academics from a range of disciplines (e.g. Drama, Film, Social Anthropology, Philosophy). Their research investigates a real variety of related areas including: stand-up comedy; music hall and variety; 18th century popular theatre; melodrama; Greek Old and Middle comedy; community performance work; puppetry; TV and film production; and punk performance. For further information, please see www.kent.ac.uk/arts/research/centres/popularcomicperformance

Staff research interests

Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.

Dr Jonathan Friday: Senior Lecturer

Aesthetic theory and photographic studies; 18th-century British aesthetic theory; classical and contemporary photographic theory; photographic genre.

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Professor Martin Hammer: Professor

British art in the mid 20th-century (artists such as Naum Gabo, Francis Bacon, Graham Sutherland, Stanley Spencer); modern and contemporary international art; the modern portrait. 

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Professor Tom Henry: Professor

Specialist in Italian renaissance art, with a particular interest in Central Italian painters including Raphael, Piero della Francesca, Pietro Perugino and Luca Signorelli.

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Dr Hans Maes: Senior Lecturer

Philosophy of art and aesthetics including the role of intention in the interpretation of art; the relation between (erotic) art and pornography; the role of beauty in art and culture; the nature and value of aesthetic experience.

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Dr Michael Newall: Senior Lecturer; Director, MA Programme

Philosophy of painting; depiction; theories of the sublime; art school education; contemporary art.

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Dr Grant Pooke: Senior Lecturer; Head of Subject and Research

Contemporary British art; Marxist art historiography, the Cold War and aesthetics; developing teaching approaches to art history; art histories, boundaries and aspects of the postcolonial.

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Dr Ben Thomas: Senior Lecturer; Curator, Studio 3 Gallery

Renaissance art; Renaissance art theory; Renaissance and baroque prints; the history of collecting and museums; historiography of art, particularly the work of Edgar Wind and the Cold War.

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Fees

The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

History of Art - MA at Canterbury and Rome:
UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £8550 £15700

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact information@kent.ac.uk

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 

Funding

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