Universiteit Leiden

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Arts, Media and Society (BA)

About the programme

Artistic and (digital) media are increasingly shaping our culture and world. In the Bachelor in Arts, Media and Society you examine contemporary art practices in order to find new perspectives on global issues.

Q&A with the programme director

Programme overview

In the first year of the multidisciplinary Bachelor of Arts, Media and Society, you will study core courses that give you a strong foundation in the field of art history (beginning c. 1300), leading up to the contemporary period which is the main artistic focus of the programme. You will also gain general academic skills of research, writing, and presentation, and begin to exercise the essential scholarly practice of critical thinking.

In your second year you immerse yourself in the world of the cutting-edge developments in contemporary art and media, and their intersectional relationship with society. From traditional media to digital media, from activist art to poetic encounters, you will examine the impact of art and media on society. Social media will be examined as both platform and strategy for political and social action, e.g. during the ‘Arab Spring’.

In your third year you have plenty of freedom to customise the programme to your specific interests, including your ‘discretionary space’ semester in which you can choose to do an internship, to study abroad, or to follow a minor programme from another faculty. Academically you will advance your theoretical understanding at the intersection of art, media and society and develop your own critical analysis in the form of a final thesis. The dynamic exchange between artistic strategies and activist strategies will be a converging point in this year of the programme.

Detailed programme

For a detailed programme, please check the e-Prospectus. Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.

Rob Zwijnenberg

Professor in Arts, Media and Society

Rob Zwijnenberg

"It is a lot of fun to go into the lab together with an artist, where students hands-on explore and discuss cultural and ethical implications of biotechnology. Often my students have a strong opinion about these current issues. So while lecturing and debating, my students teach me a lot also, in the interaction with my students I develop my own opinion constantly. That’s no surprise because we have many international students from a lot of different countries, and they have lots of different opinions."

Educational methods

As an Arts, Media and Society student you can expect a full working week of about 40 hours. You will spend an average of 15 hours in-class, for example in lectures or tutorials, and the rest of the time in independent study. You will attend lectures focused upon a particular topic; the lectures are complemented by tutorials in which the material is discussed in greater depth and with more student input, for example in solo or group presentations.

Student support services

A mentor/tutor helps get you, along with a group of other first-years, on your path. In the mentoring group you practice academic skills, from correct literature references to writing a scientific argument.

The coordinator of studies of the programme advises students about their programme, arranges all kinds of practical things (such as the schedule) and help students in case of personal issues.

You have support beyond your programme too, from the dean of students or student psychologist. And if you experience chronic illness, physical or psychological disabilities or dyslexia you can contact Fenestra Disability Centre for personal advice before or early in your application process.