MA Art & Material Histories

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Our MA Art & Material Histories has a distinctive focus on the links between art and its material, critical and historical contexts, and focuses on your own research questions related to Art and its materials.

The course is taught online with several face-to-face periods at the Art School’s facilities in central London, making it accessible no matter where you are based.

You will be learning alongside the other students on the course, with regular opportunities for online discussion and feedback as well as several face-to-face meet ups throughout the programme. Students engage in live, online group seminars, tutorials and symposia. The in-person periods of study at the Art School comprise 1 week at the start of the course, 1 week in the spring and a further 3-week period leading up to the final exhibition, during which students will take part in a series of hands-on workshops, material enquiry, and site visits to a selection of London’s significant galleries and museums. You’ll also have the opportunity to engage with students on our other specialist courses during shared online lectures and seminars.

To fit around your existing commitments, we offer the course on a full-time basis over one year or part-time over two years. Both full-time and part-time programmes are centred around an inspiring, live online programme.


With a focus on critical thinking around the ‘material turn’ and how the material and ‘immaterial’ world of objects, things, and the stuff they are made from, can relate to philosophical, theoretical, technological, social and political contexts, you will examine key ideas and themes through case studies of objects, artworks and museum collections.

Alongside others on your course, you will scrutinise the use of materials in a range of historical and contemporary artworks and material objects. We’ll encourage you to interrogate layers of cultural and material histories first-hand in London and further afield depending on where you are based.


Your own research is the core element of the course and you will identify and pursue your own research area, exploring art history’s intimate relationship with tools, materials and processes.

As well as textual sources and case studies, your research may also be supported by practical hands-on enquiry in your own space. We’ll encourage you to use the course as a basis to question accepted notions and processes. You’ll evolve working strategies, including primary research such as testing material properties; interviewing artists and craft specialists; curating displays of work; and directly analysing material artefacts alongside other research.

The course culminates in the presentation of your research, such as a curated exhibition, symposia, publication, short documentary or podcast in the Art School as part of our MA Show.

The MA Art & Material Histories is validated by our partner institution Ravensbourne University London.

You may also be interested in our Summer School programme which includes a range of short courses focusing on the specialist craft skills offered at the Art School.


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