The University of Manchester has real, and growing, strengths in the three areas which constitute this interdisciplinary MA.
The subject area of Art History within SAHC has recently been reconstituted as Art History and Visual Studies, in recognition of the importance of new critical methods of study and of the transformation of the contemporary scene of visual arts practice. Contemporary art practice increasingly blurs the boundaries between theatre/performance, art/visual culture, and cinema, and this MA is founded on the recognition of this historical development and cultural reality. It will have some similarities with cultural studies, visual studies, and performance studies programmes, but is unique - and trail-blazing - in its particular combination, as this interdisciplinary field of study is very new.
This pioneering MA reflects the increasing multidisciplinarity of creative practices across performance, screen-based, and visual arts practices. It is taught collaboratively across the Faculty of Humanities, involving a range of subject areas, notably Art History & Visual Studies, Drama, English, American Studies (School of Arts, Histories and Cultures); and German, Spanish, French and Russian (School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures).
The core course will provide a theoretical, methodological, and historiographic introduction to the study of performing, screen-based, and visual arts practices (with readings drawn from philosophy, drama, theatre studies, performance studies, dance, film history and theory, television and media studies, art history, and visual culture studies), as well as addressing the interconnected development of these disciplines and the arts they seek to study since the early modern period. The course will also encourage students to think critically about social, political, intellectual and historical contexts. Through the dissertation the student will work under the close supervision of an appropriate specialist and will have the opportunity to explore a chosen topic in depth.
Academic Staff currently involved in teaching the MA include: Dr. Rajinder Dudrah, Drama; Professor Vivian Gardner, Drama; Dr. Cathy Gelbin, German Studies; Professor Amelia Jones, Art History & Visual Studies; Professor Carol Mavor, Art History & Visual Studies; Professor Dee Reynolds, French; Professor Janet Wolff, Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in the Arts.
The course will consist of a core unit plus optional units (see below for details).
Typical optional course units include (subject to staff availability): The Surrealist Image; Psychoanalysis and the Image; Identity and Visual Representation; The Body in/and Representation, c1900 to the Present; Art and Ethnography, c.1900-1950; National Culture and the Idea of Public Art; Cultural Theory; Museums and Material Culture; Film Music; Bollywood Cinema Black on Screen; Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary French Cinema; Spanish Cinema since 1980; Dance, Performance and the Body; Representing the Holocaust; Post-War German Cinema; Soviet Cinema and Society; Holocaust Representations in Visual Culture; Television and Mass Media in post-Soviet Russia. See related subject area websites for more specific information on these options.
Course content for year 1
Core Unit: The core unit is tailored to introduce incoming MA students with varied backgrounds to the methods, theories, and historical context of the interrelated creative productions of the performing, screen-based, and visual arts, and to this end the seminars take a roughly chronological form. Each session will consist of:
-The course convenor giving a broad overview and a brief historiographic account of the ideas and theoretical models to be covered in the session.
-Relevant article presentations of text(s) relating to the session, by students, with the aim of contextualizing the text and raising points for discussion among the students.
-Discussion of the remaining texts assigned for the session.
-A brief wrap-up of the central ideas addressed in the session.
30% of the grade is derived from participation in class discussion, which includes an article presentation from each student, and a brief (5-10 minute) presentation of paper topic in week 7, which will include handing out a 2-3 page proposal consisting of abstract, brief plan, and bibliography. For the final 70% of the grade, students will complete a paper of approximately 5,000 words focusing on a particular methodological and/or historiographic issue in the study of performance, screen and visual cultures.
Optional Units: Optional units may be delivered by the disciplines of Drama/Screen Studies and Art History and Visual Studies within SAHC, or by French, Russian, Spanish, or German in SLLC. They are usually taught on a tutorial or seminar basis, with group sizes varying depending on the course unit. Tutorials give the opportunity for intensive scholarly work, with areas of concentration determined by the participants and their individual interests, which can be investigated in considerable depth. Seminars offer more opportunities for developing group work and presentation skills.