MA in Art History & Visual Culture
London is arguably the hub of the art world. World class arts and creative institutions, internationally positioned auction houses, dealers and critics, combine to make-up the unique London art scene.
The Richmond MA in Art History and Visual Culture is an exciting, challenging and cutting-edge academic program, completed over one year in a central London location.
I am delighted to be able to introduce Richmond’s MA in Art History and Visual Culture. The programme builds on the success of Richmond’s MA in Art History which, over more than a decade, established an international reputation for its innovative, intercultural curriculum and successful record of student placement in world-class museums, galleries and PhD programs. The MA in Art History and Visual Culture takes Richmond’s approach to art history, theory and practice to a new, global and contemporary level.
Successful professionals in the arts and creative industries of the 2010s and beyond will be as fluent with the burgeoning art markets in the Middle East, East Asia and the Indian Subcontinent, as those established in the West. Cosmopolitan students, trained to think globally and interdependently, will become the next generation of scholars and arts professionals: Richmond’s MA in Art History and Visual Culture equips students with the knowledge and skills required to critically engage with global visual cultures of the twenty-first century and become leaders in their fields. Our international, research active faculty, including three new appointments this academic year, are committed to this mission.
I welcome your application to the program. Please take the time to work on your Professional Statement and think about the way in which the individual character of this MA can enhance your career – and how you can contribute to the program during your year with us. We encourage you to visit our Kensington campus and if you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Robert J. Wallis, BA, MA, PhD, FSA, FRAI
Professor of Visual Culture
Associate Dean of MA Programmes
Convenor of the MA in Art History and Visual Culture
School of Communications, Arts and Social Sciences
Richmond’s graduate campus in Kensington places students well within reach of some of the most important art institutions in the world. Encouraged to take advantage of the invaluable resources at our disposal, we are constantly exposed to the archives, artifacts and people driving the discipline forward.
Since my arrival, I’ve collaborated with Dr Wallis on a blog for ‘Aesthetica: The Art & Culture Magazine’, and taken on a position with the Research Department at the Victoria and Albert Museum where I assist curators in preparation for the major Fall 2011 exhibition on Postmodernism.
I feel very fortunate to have been part of the Richmond community. The relationships I developed with my professors, who were always willing to go the extra mile, were invaluable to me as a student. The small, intimate classes meant that we were able to ask questions and engage in vigorous debate.
The individually tailored research projects advanced my understanding of the global art scene and helped me to explore and expand my own interests. The program enabled me to build relationships with art practitioners and professionals which I have
been able to nurture and use to my advantage. After my MA, I worked as Exhibitions Assistant in photography at the National Portrait Gallery and then moved to the architecture department at the Victoria and Albert Museum. I am currently working as Artist and Client Registrar, White Cube, London.
I greatly enjoyed my time at Richmond. The Kensington campus is ideally located in the heart of London within reach of some of the world’s finest museums and art galleries, as well as one-of-a-kind cultural experiences and opportunities for fun and entertainment. The MA is both rigorous and academically stimulating with its emphasis on intercultural and marginalized perspectives, as well as global contemporary visual culture. The focus on key methodologies and current, relevant scholarship on cultural sensitivity and multiplicity of perspectives provides excellent groundwork for further research at the postgraduate level, and has challenged me to think about art in ways I never have before.
As students in London my classmates and I had access to some of the world’s finest research institutions, like the British Library and the National Library of Art, which I believe, allowed me take my research to a whole new level and helped me move successfully through this challenging program.
My dissertation analysed Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel Persepolis through the lens of postcolonial theory, specifically the concept of the veil in the context of growing up during the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. I argued that Satrapi’s graphic memoir demonstrates that the stereotypes and images of Muslim women and the veil in Iran created by both non-Islamic cultures and the Islamic Republic of Iran deny the real agency and resistance of women’s existence after the revolution. Because of the Richmond MA’s focus on intercultural perspectives and contemporary visual culture, I have been able to research a topic that is current and exciting, and this illustrates how this program is unique in its field. The Richmond MA is an extremely enriching experience that teaches students how to think critically, and prepares them for relevant work in diverse fields, all in one year! It’s an experience that’s really quite hard to beat.
The MA program was instrumental to my education as an art historian. The concentrated course of study at Richmond made it possible for professors to really challenge students to approach art in new ways.
The program emphasis on intercultural art is particularly relevant to its location in London, which allows first-hand interaction with art and international perspectives. At the same time, the classroom focus on methodologies helped students with a wide variety of interests develop the tools necessary to conduct sophisticated research and an individual style. Kensington is centrally located to major museums and cutting-edge galleries, as well as incredible research libraries, all of which enriched classroom studies and provided opportunities to interact with curators and other professionals. The emphasis on practical applications of studies, multi-cultural approaches, and modern/contemporary art really puts students at the forefront of current developments in the field of art history.
I often say that my year at Richmond the American International University in London was the best year of my life so far. Studying art history at Richmond tied into so many different subject areas, such as philosophy, religion, psychology, history and art. After only one year of study, we had become great researchers, writers and experts on different areas within the history of art. Living and going to school in the heart of Kensington made it so easy to get involved in London culture. Although we worked hard, there was plenty of time for music, museums, shopping, cultural events and socializing. I made wonderful friends at Richmond, I became intimately familiar with one of the greatest cities in the world and I obtained a master’s degree, all in one year. My degree gave me expertise within my own personal body of knowledge, while also giving me access to work at some of the greatest museums in New York, such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and the New-York Historical Society. I am now the Coordinator of Elementary School programs at the New-York Historical Society where I teach school children about New York history, through object-based learning.
The MA Program at Richmond University, in my experience, has many things going for it. The classes are in London – an incredible resource and one of the real hot spots of contemporary art. Also, the MA is a one year program with small classes which allowed for intimate seminar sessions with professors and adequate time with my thesis advisor. I left the program excited about the world of contemporary art and feeling much stronger in my understanding of areas such as theory and history. I am now Capital Projects Co-ordinator at Seattle Art Museum where I am working on two exciting projects involving the Expansion of our Downtown Branch and the building of an outdoor sculpture park in the city. Without the MA and experience as an intern at the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) in London (organised by Richmond), I don’t think I would have ever begun the climb through the job ladder here at SAM.
Richmond was initially appealing to me as I sought an international atmosphere and a small classroom setting where I could express and exchange ideas and collaborate with both students and professors on an advanced intellectual level. The MA program immersed its students in a rigorous academic scheme as well as permitted us to take advantage of the city of London – its collections, museums, exhibits and culture.
As my prior experience was in the New York art world in Christie’s Twentieth Century art department, it was a wonderful experience to be able to engage with works of art on a first hand basis with the knowledge of our professors at hand and experience a new city. The professors were thoughtful, supportive and creative with our classes and provided us with a solid and broad understanding of the arts that left us prepared to enter into our desired field. Following my MA, I worked as a specialist in Impressionist and Modern Art, and then Contemporary Art, at Sotheby’s Auction Houses in New York and London. I now direct my own art advisory and consulting company which has involved valuing the art collections for a number of major hotel chains in the USA.
Faculty who teach on this programme: