The MA Art & Ecology is a fifteen-month studio-based post-graduate programme for emerging artists who want to engage in meaningful and transformative ways with the most pressing ecological questions of our time.
This is a unique programme located in the urban environment of South East London that seeks to develop new ways in which contemporary art practice can make interventions in a wide range of ecological contexts and extend the ways in which ecology is understood. During this MA we support artists to develop art practices in diverse sites and scales dedicated to imagining and shaping liveable futures.
Akil Mazumder / Pexels
Link art, ecology and social justice
The MA invites artists to develop innovative art projects grounded in rigorous artistic research and a profound understanding of how ecological challenges such as climate breakdown, pollution, and biodiversity loss are inseparable from questions of social justice. Alongside media including painting, sculpture, printmaking, installation, performance, art writing, textiles, digital media and video, this course supports artists who engage with forms of practise such as food production, sustainable data, citizen and expert science, re-wilding, inter-species care and co-dependence, somatic work, and ritual.
This is one of the very few postgraduate degrees specialising in art and environment, or art and nature. We actively encourage applications from students interested in working in all manner of ecological contexts, from rural settings to ocean habitats, and from social movements and to scientific institutions. As this is a programme is taught in South East London, there is also a unique opportunity to focus on urban ecology.
Learn real-world skills, and develop practical abilities
Through the development of a year-long artistic project, students learn skills and build networks essential to pushing the boundaries of art’s engagement with ecology, for sustaining their artistic practice after graduation, for developing as educators, producers and leaders in a wide range of fields, or for pursuing doctoral research. While on the programme, students participate in an experimental laboratory, attend lectures and seminars in the history and theory of art and ecology, and learn best professional practice through talks and workshops.
You will also have access to workshops on how to develop your artistic practise after graduation, including on topics such as the ethical and legal dimensions of working in particular situations and environments, which will give you real-world insights into the kinds of negotiations and realisations that are part of having an expanded practice.
Study in a cutting-edge environment
Goldsmiths as an institution has a strong understanding of specific issues such as environmental racism, climate justice and indigenous sovereignty, and approaches such as ecofeminism, black studies, queer ecologies, anti- and postcolonial theory and science and technology studies. These are topics that can be really important for any artist engaging with ecological and climate activism and academia. You will be surrounded by and have access to a great body of theoretical knowledge and criticality, allowing you to better situate your work in a self-reflective and expanded way.
What you'll study
Over the 15 months, you will work on developing the project idea you have applied with. You will be supported to develop it, possibly in collaboration with external partners or particular ecological sites. You will learn key skills that will allow you to realise an ambitious body of work, and teach you how to work with different kinds of partners, sites, and communities, from community gardens to science laboratories.
The course will be taught through student-centred learning, where your practice is at the heart of the learning experience. Individual tutorials, group crits, the experimental laboratory, lectures, seminars, workshops and study visits provide lots of engagement from staff, tutors, and seminar leaders. The visiting tutor system we have on this programme will allow you to have contact with leading artists, curators, theorists, activists, and NGOs. This will enable you to develop self-reflection and criticality about your practice and introduce you to an expanded professional network and a wide range of approaches to addressing ecology.
Over the course of this programme, you will take the following core modules.
Methodologies of Art and Ecology
Histories and Theories of Art and Ecology
You will also complete an Artistic Project and Critical Studies dissertation, and participate in an Experimental Laboratory.
A year-long individual project in which you conduct artistic research within a defined field of inquiry that may involve sustained engagement with a particular site, institution, or community. The Artistic Project is supported through individual and group tutorials, degree show exhibition, and compilation of a project journal which will be published online.
Critical Studies dissertation
A 5,000-word dissertation with staff supervision that is intended to support the development of the artistic project.
This 4-week artist-led laboratory will involve practice-based research into a particular theme drawing on the artist’s field of research, in which students will be involved in producing a tangible output.
You will need to hold a BA in Fine Art or other relevant disciplines, or equivalent experience (e.g. photography, architecture, performance, creative writing, and environmental humanities and sciences), if there is sufficient evidence of a strong artistic practice.
Applicants will also be asked to propose a project. Admission is by interview only.
We accept a wide range of international qualifications.
If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 7.0 with a 7.0 in writing to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.