This MA, taught at Kent’s Paris School of Arts and Culture, provides a structured introduction to the postgraduate study of the history and philosophy of art. It is the only History and Philosophy of Art MA offered by a British university in Paris and taught in English.
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, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Due to visa restrictions, international fee-paying students cannot study part-time unless undertaking a distance or blended-learning programme with no on-campus provision.
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.
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.
Duration: One year full-time, two years part-time
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.
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. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.
You take the compulsory modules and then choose from a list of optional modules. In order to allow you to explore other subject areas that interest you, you have the option to take one of the modules from other programmes that are on offer at the Paris campus.
This module will introduce you to key concepts that are central to understand fundamental debates in history and philosophy of art as well as art criticism. Some examples of key concepts are the notion of originality, influence, race, the aesthetic, fiction, beauty, gender and taste. The key concepts discussed in the seminars are subject to change.
The module will focus on Paris as a centre of artistic experimentation. The city served as the launch pad for key artistic movements from the mid-19th century through to the period after the Second World War (Impressionism, Cubism, Surrealism, etc.), and as a magnet for budding and established artists from all around the world. The module will take advantage of the great museum collections that encapsulate such developments (Musées d'Arte Moderne and d’Orsay, Rodin and Picasso Museums, Beaubourg, Quai Branly, etc.) and also of the major exhibitions on show in Paris in any given year.
This module, to be taught at the Paris School of Arts and Culture, looks at Paris as a centre for modern cultural diplomacy. The module will be taught primarily through a series of case studies, each of which is intended to offer the opportunity to view the enormous diversity of international activities that constitute cultural diplomacy. Where possible, examples that place Paris at the centre of the discourse will be chosen, although it is hoped that students will come to see modern cultural diplomacy as a global phenomenon. The range of case studies are deliberately wide so as to reflect the broad academic base of the students and their interests. Examples of case studies include: Human rights; sexuality and gender; cinema and the media; the UN, NATO and NGOs; cultural attaches; state visits; education and cultural exchanges and advertising as cultural diplomacy.
This module explores the dynamic relationship between the cult of relics and Gothic art. It will begin by retracing the aesthetics of devotion across Western Christendom, culminating in the creation of towering Gothic cathedrals. Throughout history, the design of cult images could reveal sacred presence, testify to miracle-working powers, and explicate the significance of a holy place using visual narratives. Through pilgrimage, gift-giving, and even theft, people acquired relics and 'invented' new cults. The success of a relic cult would benefit from the design of a magnificent reliquary, the depiction of pictorial programmes (in glass, sculpture, and painting), and the placement of the relic within a spectacular architectural setting. Together we will explore the development of Gothic art in light of changing devotional needs. Using a number of diverse case studies, students will acquire a wealth of historical information and develop a variety of intellectual approaches to function and significance of visual culture. Beginning with Paris and its surrounding cathedrals, we will extend our analysis to Gothic Canterbury, London, Castile, Prague, Siena, and Florence. Above all, this course will encourage students to think critically about the influence of art in the religious imagination.
This module is designed to introduce students to the range of evidence and approaches to that evidence available to investigate the pre-modern past. This objective will be achieved in the context of providing them with the opportunity to undertake in-depth investigation of the city in which they are studying: Paris. Paris was one of the great cities of the pre-modern world and long before the French Revolution, Paris was a crucible of cultural change throughout the Medieval and Early Modern period. Here, surrounding the banks of the Seine, the city witnessed the rise of the University, the creation of Parliament, the invention of Gothic art and architecture, and the formation of the Huguenots, leading to the spread of scholasticism, democracy, artistic development, and religious reformation across Europe and beyond.
A study of its history offers unparalleled opportunities for students to examine themes of European relevance, such as the beginning of urbanisation, the growth of Universities, or the outbreak of religious violence during the Protestant reformation, grounded in a particular historical, literary or artistic context. Likewise, the study of Paris in Paris will allow staff delivering the module to introduce students to a range of types of evidence and of scholarly approaches to that evidence, thus giving them the skills they need to proceed to the MA dissertation. This aspect of the course will include appropriate field trips, locations might include the royal palaces of Sainte-Chapelle and Versailles, leading museums such as the Musée national du Moyen Âge, or to world-class libraries, such as the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. The opportunity to study the history of Paris in situ using real artefacts will present a uniquely stimulating opportunity for students to develop their understanding of the period and of the use of evidence in research.
By providing research-driven teaching, access to source material through site-specific analysis, and facilitating pedagogical encounters with the history of the city in which they are studying, this core module presents an exceptional pathway for MEMS graduates. The curriculum design will enable MEMS students to enhance their historical, literary and artistic knowledge, cultivate their interdisciplinary skills, and acquire the necessary methodological tools to prepare for their dissertation. Above all, the study of pre-modern Paris in modern-day Paris will present MEMS students with an unparalleled opportunity to engage with the past in a dynamic learning environment.
From the French Revolution to the European Union, the term 'Europe' has long been a placeholder for a large number of utopian, internationalist aspirations. These aspirations are necessarily culturally and politically contingent; to trace the history of cultural constructions of Europe is to hold a mirror up to its changing intellectual faces. Focusing on a series of influential texts published at significant moments in the recent history of the continent, this module investigates how the changing ‘idea of Europe’ reflects the changing priorities of cultural discourse. In particular, it considers the key role – but also contested – played by Paris in particular as a European cultural capital, central to the idea of Europe and to the development of European culture. The texts studied on this module range across disciplines and genres, and include poems and pamphlets, essays and lectures, philosophy and politics. Through studying these texts in their socio-political contexts, the idea of Europe is triangulated through reference to a number of key categories (e.g. ‘prophecy’; ‘crisis’; ‘utopia’; Europe as ‘conservative’; Europe as ‘progressive’). The overall aim of this module is to explore what it means to be – in Friedrich Nietzsche’s words – a ‘good European’, and to consider the central role played by Paris in the emergence of modern European culture.
This module explores the idea of the city, and the major concepts related to urban life. It analyses and determines the conditions of their emergence within a broader cultural context. It traces how these concepts have changed through time, with the aim of enhancing our present understanding of cities and their regeneration. It follows the development of city planning and the establishment of planned, ideal cities as a political goal up to the foundation of new towns. In its dealing with historically modern cities, the module centres on case studies of cities representative of urbanism from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries, drawing lessons from the methods and types of documentation used in its development. The course also introduces the manner in which architecture has generated a number of spontaneous and critical responses to the demands of the city in the past four decades. The arguments are drawn from sources in architectural and urban theory, philosophy, art history, anthropology, literary sources and social sciences.
This module explores the range of interrelations and negotiations that take place between verbal and visual culture, in literature, art, film, philosophy and, psychogeography. It will cover a diverse range of thinkers and approaches such as; Foucault, Merleau-Ponty, Bersani, Derrida, Debord, and Marx. The module is intended to be interdisciplinary and it will include some Paris-based visits, activities and screenings as a necessary means of working across themes, theories and ideas. It will consider some or all of the following themes, such as: the politics of space, ekphrasis and the other, phenomenological wonder, the legacy of Marx, and Marxist and formalist perspectives on modernism and the visual arts.
On this module students will develop their skills as an independent writer, critic and thinker, understanding and building their own unique writing practice through readings of exemplary texts, open seminar discussion, writing exercises and creative workshops. Students will learn to identify and apply central concepts like plot, narrative, form and structure, theme, voice and character, in both reading and writing practice, Experimentation, ingenuity, ambition and originality in the student's approach to her/his own writing will be encouraged. Workshops will develop close reading and editorial skills and invite students to offer and receive constructive criticism of their peers’ work.
This module will prepare you for the production of your dissertation portfolio of fully realised, finished poems. You will read a wide range of exemplary, contemporary work and experiment with form and content.
In this module you will learn further techniques of writing fiction, including how to plot a full-length novel, work on deep characterisation and the construction of an intellectual framework within your fiction. You may be continuing to work on a project begun in Fiction 1, or starting something new. Rather than expecting you to try new techniques, voices and styles, your tutor will work with you to identify your strongest mode of writing and will encourage you to develop this.
The main focus of Poetry 2 is to further develop and refine your writing with the eventual aim of producing a successful dissertation portfolio of fully realised, finished poems. Poetry 2 differs from Poetry 1 in that you are encouraged to develop a sequence or series of wholly new poems.
In this module you will develop your practice of writing poetry through both the study of a range of contemporary examples and constructive feedback on your own work. Each week, you will be exposed to a wide range of exemplary, contemporary sequences. The approach to the exemplary texts will be technical rather than historical; at every point priority is given to your own particular development as poets.
The reading list does not represent a curriculum as such, but indicates the range of works and traditions we will draw upon to stimulate new thought about your own work. Decisions about reading will be taken in response to individual interests. Likewise, you will be directed toward work which will be of particular benefit to you.
‘Paris: The Residency’ contributes to the poetry and prose strands of the MA in Creative Writing and the Literature strand of the Paris Programmes. The objective of ‘Paris: The Residency’ is to give students as close an experience as possible of what it might be like to be a writer in residence or retreat, and to produce work inspired by a specific location for a specific period of time. The emphasis will be on producing a body of creative work for the main assessment. This module aims to enable students to develop their practice of writing through both the study of a range of contemporary examples and practices, and constructive feedback on their own work. Throughout their stay, students will be exposed to a wide range of instances of exemplary, contemporary work relating to Paris, or which was written by writers whilst staying, or living in Paris (as suggested by the indicative reading list). They will be encouraged to read as independent writers, to apply appropriate writing techniques to their own practice and to experiment with voice, form and content. The approach to the exemplary texts will be technical as well as historical. At every point in the module, priority will be given to students’ own development as writers. It is an assumption of the module that students will already have a basic competence in the writing of poetry or prose, including a grasp of essential craft and techniques. The purpose of this module will be to stimulate students towards further development of, and to hone their already emerging voices and styles through engaging with various literary texts, raising an awareness of place as the starting point for new writing, and how their work can develop with large chunks of time for independent study, reflection and exploration of a city like Paris.
'Modernism and Paris' provides students with an opportunity to study a selection of texts from the UK, USA and mainland Europe, all readily available in English and specifically relevant to both Paris and modernism. The texts are all either inspired by, set in, or refer significantly to Paris and most were written in the city. They seek new and experimental literary expressions for the experience of modern city life and demonstrate a range of literary forms, including the novel, poetry, manifestos, essays and biography. In exploring the cultural contexts as well as avant-garde politics and aesthetics of modernism, the module presents texts by major authors of different nationalities, chronologically ordered, allowing students to appreciate the beginnings and development of modernism from the late 19th century to the first decades of the 20th century. It recognises the importance of modernist cross-fertilisation between literature and the visual arts and encourages students to explore links between modernist literature and the development of, for example, cubism and surrealism. The primary materials are Paris-focused but are chosen to open an international perspective on literary culture and history.
Among the various paradigms from which diasporic writing should be distinguished is the literature of exile. Exile is often the consequence of political pressure or disaffection with a society rather than the result of the larger and often spatially and chronologically extended migratory movements which led to the emergence of diasporic communities. While both paradigms may intersect, the concerns and motivations of diasporic and exilic literatures usually differ.
A historically and culturally significant geographical, and frequently also imaginary, point of intersection between the diasporic and the exilic paradigms is the metropolis of Paris. In this module, our comparative focus will be on diasporic and exilic literatures and on the significance of the diasporic or exilic space of the French metropolis, both as production context and as informing literary production. Writers to consider include: American expatriates in 1920 (like Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, Henry Miller, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Djuna Barnes), in the Post World War II era (like Richard Wright and James Baldwin), and other writers who chose exile in Paris (like Heinrich Heine, Oscar Wilde, Rainer Maria Rilke, Samuel Beckett)
This module covers the multifarious struggles of the last ten years as manifested, enacted and expressed in literary texts from the US, the UK, Ireland, Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere. Students will consider the ways in which contemporary literature is informed by, reflects upon, and intervenes in the political struggles unfolding in our historical moment. Anchoring the discussion in contemporary struggle in Paris, the module will then broaden out geographically and conceptually to elaborate the interconnections between immediate sites of resistance and more global phenomena.
The curriculum includes a selection of texts from various countries, all readily available in English and all specifically relevant to the modern history, evolving population and changing appearance of Paris and to how these aspects of the city has been perceived and represented in literary prose.
The set texts are by writers from different periods and of various nationalities and they are all set in and inspired by Paris. The texts are chosen for their high literary quality, but also because they represent essential aspects of the city's evolution and exemplify various narrative strategies and ways of engaging with the realities of life in the city, always shaped by personal preoccupations and sensibilities. This varied selection within the genre of prose fiction allows study of Zola's naturalism and his presentation of the political and aesthetic implications of baron Haussman’s plans for urban renewal and control; Edith Wharton’s perspective as an American incomer; André Breton’s combination of oneiric urban encounters with photographic illustrations of the city, inserted into the text; Jean Rhys’s clearly gendered experience of the city in the 1920s and 1930s; the identity of the city as a site for postwar liberation and literary dynamism in the work of expatriates from the Beat generation; and the representation of today’s city as a centre for immigrant communities and cultural diversity. The primary texts are thus all Paris-focussed but are chosen to open an international perspective on the literary representation of an increasingly cosmopolitan city.
The dissertation module gives students the opportunity to write a dissertation of around 12,000-15,000 words on a topic of their choosing relating to history of art or philosophy of art and aesthetics. The process of developing a topic and writing the dissertation is closely supported through classes during term 3, and individual meetings with the student's dissertation supervisor. Supervision is usually by staff with direct research expertise in the student’s chosen topic.
Assessment is by coursework only.
This programme aims to:
You will gain knowledge and understanding of:
You develop the following intellectual skills:
You gain subject-specific skills in:
You will gain the following transferable skills:
The 2020/21 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
History and Philosophy of Art (90 ECTS) - MA at Paris
History and Philosophy of Art (120 ECTS) - MA at Paris
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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 email@example.com
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In The Complete University Guide 2020, the University of Kent was ranked in the top 10 for research intensity. This is a measure of the proportion of staff involved in high-quality research in the university.
Please see the University League Tables 2020 for more information.
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.
The Department has a collective interest in developing interdisciplinary projects, including projects informed by art history, curation and the philosophy of art or aesthetics. Shared areas of research interest include: photography, art theory from the Renaissance onwards; modernism and contemporary art.
The Aesthetics Research Centre coordinates, enables and promotes research in philosophy of art and aesthetics at the University of Kent. Its focus is on the dynamic and growing field of philosophy of art and aesthetics in the analytic tradition, and it is deeply committed to making connections and exploring synergies between that tradition and other approaches to thinking about art and culture, including those from other philosophical traditions, the humanities more broadly, the sciences, and all forms of art making and cultural production. ARC comprises a vibrant community of staff and postgraduate students across the School of Arts and Philosophy, and its activities include an annual programme of research seminars, workshops, symposia and conferences.
The Histories Research Group promotes and co-ordinates research amongst the growing community of staff and PG students active at Kent in the field of Visual and Cultural Histories. The Histories research culture brings together staff and post-graduate students from across the School of Arts whose research involves a cultural historical approach to their field. Whether it is in theatre, film or art history, the Histories group promotes and enables cultural historical research by holding a regular research seminar and supporting student-led initiatives, such as organizing conferences. For the range of world-leading research carried out by members of the Histories research group - from Raphael to Doris Day.
Other Research Centres within the School:
The Performance and Theatre Research Group’s mission is to create a warm and dynamic research community, welcoming everybody from fresher to professor. We are a delightfully broad church, with well-established expertise in a very broad range of subjects, including theatre history, performance and health, theatre and cognition, physical acting, applied theatre, performance and philosophy, performance and politics, European theatre, Greek theatre, Modernist theatre (especially the Bauhaus), theatre and adaptation, audience studies, cultural industries, variety theatre, puppetry, dance theatre, popular performance and stand-up comedy. As well as traditional academic research, we have led the field in creative practice-based research – and continue to do so.
The Group’s main objective is to support and produce cutting-edge research in the areas of film, media and culture. A broad and welcoming church for the manifold approaches to our subject, we specialise in research that is collaborative, of high impact, international and interdisciplinary in scope. We recognise film, media and cultural activity is best understood comprehensively in terms of aesthetic shapes, social roles, discursive formations, cultural meanings, psychological effects and/or economic realities, and best explained through attention to both institutional imperatives and individual agencies. Drawing together scholars from across the University – including Arts, European Culture and Languages, Digital Arts and Engineering, History, English and American Studies, Law, Sociology and beyond – the Group furnishes a lively, member-led research culture that serves as a forum for Kent-based researchers and as a beacon for the international community. Through our journal Film Studies and pioneering research projects and outputs we actively seek to shape the field, open lines of communication with the local community and engage with colleagues worldwide.
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Aesthetic theory and photographic studies; 18th-century British aesthetic theory; classical and contemporary photographic theory; photographic genre.View Profile
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.View Profile
Specialist in Italian renaissance art, with a particular interest in Central Italian painters including Raphael, Piero della Francesca, Pietro Perugino and Luca Signorelli.View Profile
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.View Profile
Philosophy of painting; depiction; theories of the sublime; art school education; contemporary art.View Profile
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.View Profile
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.View Profile
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.
In Paris you are encouraged to make full use of the city’s cultural resources and to integrate that experience into your studies. The Louvre, Centre Pompidou, Musée d’Orsay, Musée d’Arte Moderne, Grand Palais and other world-class museums and exhibition spaces are on your doorstep. You have access to screenings of modern and classic films and to the research facilities at the National Cinémathèque and Museum of Cinema and at the Forum des Images. You also have access to the libraries of University of Paris III (Sorbonne Nouvelle) and University of Paris VII. Other Paris libraries with extensive relevant holdings include the French National Library, the Centre Georges Pompidou Public Library and the American Library in Paris, to which you are given access and a guided visit.
All postgraduate students are offered research skills training and the opportunity to take part in reading groups and research seminars.
In recent years, several members of the History 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.
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.
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.
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