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Sweden's First Artistic Master's Programme Focusing on Archives

News: Jan 14, 2014

Archives are the focus for a new Master's programme in photography in the autumn of 2014 at Valand Academy. This is a unique new programme in Sweden bringing together mix of artistic interpretation and the most advanced theoretical perspectives.

Contemporary art is characterised by an intense preoccupation with the archive and archival practices. The artistic interpretation and re-negotiation of archives can yield critical insights and challenges to the construction of social, national, political, cultural and other identities.



Hans Hedberg, the subject representative for photography at Valand Academy, is one of the team of academics and artists developing this exciting new Master's programme:
We want to emphasise a very important role of art in society – to criticise and deconstruct, suggest alternative perspectives and contribute to change by means of creative and artistic interpretation and intervention.

The new Master’s programme in photography with a specialisation in archives will integrate theory and practice. The theoretical aspects of the programme will make the student fully qualified for work within archives or other collections. In the practical part, students produce artistic interpretations of historic materials and re-negotiate the conventions of archival organisation, display and mediation.

After two years, the students will have gained a thorough knowledge of various artistic methods and strategies to activate, illuminate, criticise, deconstruct, interpret and reinterpret the archive.

The Need for Specialisation

The development of contemporary photographic culture is based on a re-thinking of the specificity of photographic seeing/thinking and not simply a matter of a technical apparatus or medium. Hedberg feels that clearly defined boundaries are necessary to be able to gather, convey and develop new knowledge:
Without well-defined boundaries, we are nothing and everything, not discernable, not relevant. The new programme wants to break away from this by emphasising and conveying a deeper knowledge within a clearly defined field, to facilitate a shared frame of reference and a dynamic discussion.The new Master's programme is carried out in connection with a world-leading arts university – University of the Arts London. A key motivation for this cooperation is the role that acclaimed museums in the U.K. have played as forerunners in engaging artists to re-interpret and re-imagine historical archives and collections of material culture.
At the same time as Valand Academy is starting the new programme, CCW (the Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges of Arts) at the University of Arts London is also launching a new Master's programme with a specialisation in archives. This will open up for exciting student and teacher exchange opportunities within our ongoing co-operation.

Education with a Broad Student Profile

The University of Gothenburg has previously offered courses at Master’s level focusing on archives in 2010-2011. The courses were led by internationally respected researcher Dr. Tyrone Martinsson. The visual artist Fröydi Laszlo, a former Master’s student, says that these discussions of archival practices, between teachers and students, were always very inspiring and have had a clear effect in developing her own photographic practice:
I’m a visual artist and had never thought much about working with archived material, but realised that it fits perfectly with my type of work.The new Master's programme is based on developmental work over several years. In order to reach a broad target group, for example museum, collection and archive workers who want to develop their competence, the programme can be partly distance-based if the student so desires. This option will include recurring meetings in Gothenburg with lectures, seminars and individual supervision. Dialogue around various problem formulations is a key part of the programme, for example to prepare the students for the many ethical issues they may have to face when working with archives.

Completion of the programme will open opportunities and create eligibility for jobs as an artist, archivist, antiquarian, curator, exhibition producer, museum education officer and consultant in historical and heritage-based projects. The also provides a good basis for an academic career and can lead to the development of doctoral level studies in this broad subject area.

Master's programme in archive
Application period: 17 March – 15 April 2014
Start: Autumn 2014
Language: English

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Originally published on: akademinvaland.gu.se

Page Manager: Pia Ahnlund|Last update: 4/6/2016
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