The Visual Arts, Media and Architecture research master is a two-year, full-time programme of 120 credits. It consists of a compulsory component of two general courses spanning all three fields of research – Imagining the Image and Critical Issues in the Cultural Industries -, three field-specific research seminars and a seminar on research methodology, as well as an optional component consisting of electives and tutorials. The programme is concluded with a Master’s thesis.
This website gives a short introduction to the different courses taught in the VAMA research master’s programme. For more information and yearly schedules, please visit http://www.let.vu.nl/nl/opleidingen/masteropleidingen/vama/zo-zit-je-opleiding-in-elkaar/index.asp
Imagining the Image (9 credits)
In this course various definitions of ‘image and imagination’ are traced in close connection with historical and contemporary developments in visual culture. Key texts by modern and contemporary authors on visual culture are critically read and discussed, followed by in-depth analyses of the principles and methods of historiography. The course is taught every two years to both first- and second-year students, yearly alternating with Critical Issues in the Cultural Industries.
Critical Issues in the Cultural Industries (9 credits)
This course focuses on the face, role and influence of present-day popular culture, referred to as ‘cultural industry’ by Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer in the mid-20th century. At the dawn of the 21st century, does the culture of the masses still present a threat to High Art, as Adorno and Horkheimer then feared? Has art finally become a lucrative business in the modern economy, a mere component of the entertainment sector, or can it still operate autonomously and critically? Students approach, examine and question controversial and critical issues in the culture industries. The course is taught every two years to both first- and second-year students, yearly alternating with Imagining the Image.
(Click here to see the results of the Critical Issues course of 2009-2010 and here for those of 2011-2012.)
Research Seminars (2 x 9 credits)
Each student is to complete at least two research seminars focusing on either media, architecture or visual arts. The seminars for Media and Architecture are set – Introduction: Reading Concepts of Intermediality and Creative City, respectively – but that on Visual Arts changes yearly, based on the staff’s ongoing research. All three seminars are taught in the first year of the programme.
(Click here to discover the topics of the Visual Arts focus seminars for 2012-2013.)
Research Design (2 x 6 credits)
All Research Master students at the Faculty of Arts are obliged to attend the Research Design seminar in both their first and second year. The seminar brings together students from different disciplines and lets them discuss each other’s research. By way of practical assignments and guest lecturers, the course aims to introduce students to the workings of organizations funding scientific research such as NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) and to prepare them for the application and selection process.
The remaining 42 credits are to be filled with electives and tutorials, spread over the course of two years. Electives can be chosen from the curriculum of the Art History, Architecture History or Media Master’s programs and are subject to approval. During their first year, students can also participate in an international excursion (6 credits). Students are strongly recommended to also set up some tutorials. These tutorials offer students the opportunity to propose research projects within one or several of the faculty’s research areas and to work closely with one or more of the staff members. Tutorials can eventually lead to bigger research projects or other opportunities.
The Master’s thesis (30 credits) is the conclusion of the two-year programme and is to show the student’s ability to conduct independent and innovating academic research. It is to focus on topical research areas and issues related to research being conducted within the faculty.