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Photography Pathway

V&A/RCA History of Design MA

Photography is one of three pathways, alongside Design & Material Culture and Performance, that students follow on the V&A/RCA History of Design programme. All students develop specialist knowledge and techniques through pathway teaching, while also studying on a common core programme.

The Photography pathway employs collections-based teaching to consider photography as both an expressive medium and a social practice. As a student on this pathway you will have access to the V&A’s world-leading collection of historic and contemporary photographs, photographic artefacts, books, archives and camera-related equipment. The V&A’s new Photography Centre, which opened in October 2018, offers an exciting new public space for the display, study and appreciation of photography. At the same time, as students at the Royal College of Art, you will have the opportunity to engage with leading photographic practitioners.

This pathway encourages diverse methods for understanding photographs as variously artistic, scientific, technological and social artefacts. Photography is considered as a set of practices that often confounds contemporary categories of art and science, public and private, amateur and professional. Combining academic and curatorial expertise, the pathway brings together firsthand study of photographic material of various kinds – from stereoscopic views to lantern slides – with critical reading of scholarship on the history and theory of photography. In so doing you will be encouraged to explore the place of photographs – as both images and material culture – in a range of spheres, from travel and empire, to landscape and pictorialism, to fashion, advertising and documentary. 

To apply for the Photography pathway, please select 'History of Design: Photography' as your programme on the online applications system.