Universiteit Leiden

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Film and Photographic Studies (MA)

About the programme

The Film and Photographic Studies programme will equip you with a broad and interdisciplinary knowledge of lens-based mediums.

Semester 1

The first semester focuses on various aspects of the study of film and photography through the two lecture series Media, Art and Theory and Topical Debates on Photography in Historical Perspective. You will also choose an elective, either Curating Film and Video or the Editorial and Curatorial Training Programme. The aim of these courses is to provide you with insights into the various practices surrounding film and photography, whether these be academic or professional.

Semester 2

The second semester focuses on current debates in the field of cinema, through the lecture series Contemporary Theories of Film, and the writing of your thesis.

You will write this thesis under the guidance of a supervisor. Students who are actively engaged in work as a photographer or documentary film-maker may submit a visual thesis as their final project.

During the programme you will be able to focus on the following areas of study.

  • Interdisciplinary methods in the study of photography, film and video;
  • Aesthetic, social and political theories of photography, film and video;
  • Avant-garde, documentary, independent, and mainstream practices of photography, film and video
  • The interconnections among photography, film and video, and other visual art practices;
  • The relationship between film, photography, video and other media arts to dominant media practices, such as television or Hollywood cinema;
  • Media archaeology;
  • The presentation forms of photography, film and video (exhibitions, internet, publications, reviews, etc.);
  • Photography, film and video as research practice;
  • Strategies in the field of collecting, conservation and arts administration;
  • Recent developments such as digital photography and new media.
  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Self-study
  • Discussions
  • Excursions
  • Internship options
  • Thesis
  • Exams
  • Peer feedback and assessment
  • Essays, reports and final thesis
  • Oral presentations

Detailed programme

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

Peter Verstraten

Researcher and University Lecturer

Peter Verstraten

“I consider myself both an academic scholar and a cinephile. Hopefully, students become 'infected' when I start to share my enthusiasm for cinema with them (from Hawks and Varda to Kieslowski and Martel). Trying to understand our film/cultural preferences helps us to figure out who we are and to understand our position in society.”

Meeting programmers and directors

"Many of the students start working (as volunteers) for the film festival circuit or for local cinemas. Getting acquainted with other film lovers helps them to build a network. Occasionally, we organise meetings with people from the practical domain, such as programmers and directors."

Good writing

"Critical thinking requires good writing: if you can pen down a proper argument, you have made an important step in convincing your readers. Writing papers is therefore a seminal part of your studies, but it would be futile, if students were not to get substantial feedback. So, we make sure that they get critical comments."

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