This new and unique Master importantly addresses black writing as a continuum. Its heritage in British culture is considered along with a trajectory marked by historical presences as connecting with migratory, indigenous and global perspectives.
Introducing the MA Black British Writing - “It’s a story that hasn’t really been told”
This MA is:
- World first. Nowhere else in the world can you study this field in such a richly, referenced way - in the actual country where the writing is produced.
- Cross-disciplinary in teaching, studies, research. Writing as perceived in its broadest form on and off the page and screen.
- Collaborative. It will be taught by Professor Joan Anim-Addo and Dr Deirdre Osborne, who share its vision and will co-teach the modules.
- Inclusive. We welcome applications from a broad spectrum of people – those seeking academic careers, professionals who are returning to learning, artists who wish to develop their analytic and critical thinking skills.
- Connected to local, national and international research streams. Both tutors have well-established research profiles with publications and track records in convening public events in the field.
Why is this an important degree?
"A Master’s degree programme that enables the serious study of the creative and artistic history and achievement of black British novelists, poets, short story writers, essayists, and playwrights.”
Professor R. Victoria Arana, Howard University, Washington DC
At the end of 2011 it was reported that of over 14,000 university professors in the UK, only 50 were black and overwhelmingly, outside the humanities disciplines. This was followed by confirmations that there are still no black managers in British premiership soccer (despite black footballers’ eminence in the sport), no sustained presence of black cricketers in the national team (despite the long-standing presence of the West Indies team in international competitions), and in turn, by findings that no sustained promotion trajectory exists for black police officers into the higher ranks of the police service, (while black males continue to be disproportionately stopped and searched by white police). In the light of such a broader social context, this MA is timely and necessary.
“It will produce path-breaking research and creative production based on this programme’s design, setting and leadership.”
Professor Lauri Ramey, California State University
Many established scholars of contemporary literature working in Britain, Europe, Africa, and Asia occasionally teach a module or two incorporating Black British writers, do research on Black British texts, and publish articles and books on these interests, However, this Goldsmiths MA in Black British Writing means the University of London will break new ground in preparing and empowering scholar-specialists in this growing and exciting field of study.
“I fully endorse this course because I believe in its intellectual and cultural necessity.”
Kwame Kwei-Armah, playwright and Artistic Director, Centerstage, Baltimore
If the humanities are to serve the indigenous multi-cultures of Britain, the building of a critical infrastructure that retrieves, assesses and articulates a fuller compass of inclusion is vital for intellectual and public awareness. In studying this MA, you will become part of this process.
“A landmark for Black culture.”
Hannah Pool, journalist
The MA provides opportunities to experience events featuring many of the writers and practitioners studied. It also gives you contact with contemporary Black British writing, drama and performance from within Britain. You will have access to the Black Plays Archive at the Royal National Theatre as part of fieldwork tasks and further research.
“From my hundreds of visits to schools, colleges and libraries in the last ten years or so, I know there is a hunger out there for black British writing. This course will add to the fabric of British literature.”
Alex Wheatle MBE, novelist
Modules & structure
The MA draws upon the expertise of literary, drama and theatre specialists from the Departments of Theatre and Performance and the Centre for Caribbean Studies.
The degree is made up of:
- two compulsory core modules
- a dissertation
- two option modules
Full-time students study both compulsory modules and two options and write their dissertation across one year of study.
Part-time students select one compulsory module and one option per year across two years and write their dissertation in their second year of study.
- Historicising the Field 30 credits
- Interculturality, Text, Poetics 30 credits
- MA in Black British Writing Dissertation 60 credits
You choose two options from those available in the Department of Theatre and Performance and the Department of English and Comparative Literature.
This could include:
- Genre and Aesthetics 30 credits
- Caribbean Women and Representation 30 credits
Intermediate exit points
It's possible to exit the programme early with a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate if specific learning outcomes have been achieved. These options can be discussed with the course convenor.
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
Skills & careers
You will develop transferable writing and oral skills at a high academic level, demonstrating the ability to think and work in an interdisciplinary manner using a range of methodologies. Your ability to work collaboratively and to facilitate and participate in group discussions will be enhanced. You will also develop skills in identifying the socio-cultural, historical, political and literary issues that shape and impact upon contemporary literary and performance texts.
We are oriented towards serving your individual goals and aspirations for self-development; it will generate an articulable body of transferable knowledge and skills.
Besides developing your knowledge of best current research methods and of facts and concepts specific to the featured field of study, the proposed programme will offer training in:
- discerning vital literary and dramatic roots,
- recognising how the dynamics of creative and cultural movements interrelate,
- exchanging information effectively within a variety of intellectual, creative arts, and local communities.
The MA’s design allows for a diverse range of applications of its contents to careers including education, counselling, community arts, art practice, social services, cultural organisations, or towards research degrees (MPhil; PhD).
Our courses consolidate the influential presence of contemporary Black British writing. It is recognised as both intrinsic to conceptions of British cultural heritage but also distinctive within the body of British writing.
You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in a relevant/related subject.
Students without BA-equivalent qualifications who have substantial work experience (eg. in literary journalism, creative writing, publishing, arts administration), which can be considered as equivalent to formal qualifications, may be admitted provided they demonstrate analytical and academic writing skills to the necessary level.
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.
English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.
For this programme we require:
IELTS 7.0 with a 7.0 in writing.
If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.
How to apply
You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system.
Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:
- Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments,
- The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference,
- A personal statement – this can either be uploaded to a Word Document or PDF or completed online,
- If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory).
You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.
When to apply
We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September.
We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification.
Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.
If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.
Admission to many programmes is by interview unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally, we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.
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