About the Programme
The MFA Programme in Photography at Valand Academy is an international education with a Fine Arts profile. It is aimed at you who want to deepen your photographic practice on a theorethical and technical level. The focus is on the possibilities of the photographic image to investigate and formulate contemporary aesthetic, philosophical and political issues. In a critical and generous dialogue with teachers and fellow students, you will be given the opportunity to develop your visual understanding and your own creativity.
Imagine a world without photography. It is as impossible as disregarding letters and words. The photographic image with its narrative, documenting and communicating ability underlies the two-year master’s program in photography at the Valand Academy.
The core of the programme is the student’s individual project work. Through group discussions and individual meetings with teachers, you develop your own practice and technical proficiency as well as deepen the understanding of the different social and artistic contexts of photography. These skills will help you formulate a personal approach to your practice and situate your work in both historical and contemporary perspectives. The program has a vivid and well-established interaction with the professional art field, and throughout the education you will meet photographers, artists, curators, critics and researchers who work both nationally and internationally.
Valand Academy has a well-developed working environment with analogue labs, studios, project spaces, digital workshops and equipment lending.
The education consists of sub-courses with varying durations and orientations. The courses are intersecting and the structure between practical creation and theoretical reflection creates an overall perspective on the subject. Theory class is based on joint discussions and interpretations of the texts included in the syllabus, but also how the theoretical perspectives are applied in the work of different photographers. The selection of course literature gives you both an in-depth knowledge of photo-theoretical key texts and an orientation in current questions about photography, art and visual culture.
A major part of the education takes place within the framework of Photography – Individual Work I-III, where the main elements are the individual projects and reflections on this. The form of instruction is individual tutorial, critical group discussion and a number of lectures. As a student, you are expected to be able to take responsibility for planning your work load, to balance the commitment between practical and theoretical work.
Within the courses Master Essay I and II you write an essay of an investigative and problematizing character, treat a relevant topic and meet the requirements of a scientific text with regard to notary and bibliography. The teaching takes place in the form of individual tutorials and critical group discussions, but also in text seminars.
One of the objectives of the education is to prepare you to work within the art and photography field in a conscious and strategic manner. This is addressed in the Professional Development sub-course where the content is closely linked to the examining moments in the other sub-courses. The form of examination varies depending on the context but most often takes place as a public presentation.
Photography is one of four subjects at Valand Academy, which also includes Fine art, Film and Literary composition. We work together in a dynamic and interdisciplinary artistic environment, where we develop our subjects, contribute to innovative working models and open up new artistic research fields. As a student, you will have the opportunity to participate in elective courses in other subjects at the institution. Examples of previous courses are “Introduction to pedagogy in artistic education”, “Essäfilm” and “Artist Book”.
The master’s program in photography is international and all instruction is in English. Since several of the teachers are also Swedish speaking, the individual tutorial can also be done in Swedish for anyone who wishes.
The fact that the Academy Valand is a complete educational environment – with undergraduate education, doctoral education and research – creates particularly good grounds for you to apply for doctoral studies in artistic research. An important part of the education’s research preparation profile is that the PhD students regularly teach the master’s program. Open doctoral seminars enable you to gain insight into the ongoing work of the PhD students, and to introduce the questions and methods that drive the research field forward.
The duration of the MFA programme is two years, based on full-time study at 30 higher education credits per semester, and leads to the degree of Master of Fine Arts in Photography (120 credits).
The programme prepares you for a career as a professional artist working with photography as your main medium of expression. An important aspect of professional artistic practice is exhibiting in art galleries and other dedicated institutions but there are other ways artists can gain exposure for their works. Various forms of publication have become an increasingly important forum for photographic artists. Photo books are published both by the artists themselves and in collaboration with publishing companies. There is a culture of festivals and expos associated with photo books. In addition to printed books, there are, of course, opportunities to work digital and use the Internet as a production platform and a distribution channel. Issues related to gaining exposure occupy a prominent place in the programme. There are two student galleries at Valand Academy, and in addition, the Academy regularly collaborates with external venues for exhibition. The school has a printing press at its disposal, making it possible for you to produce your own books and other printed matter.
In addition to the commercial market, there are support systems that provide grants and scholarships for professional artists. The programme provides examples of and preparation for operating within and creating – on your own or with others – alternative ways and contexts. For most, it is a question of creating alternative sources of income, and many choose to work as a teacher at art schools or within other educational programmes in media and photography. The programme’s orientation provides you with knowledge that can also be applied in contexts external to the art world, such as by working as an assignment photographer for magazines or within different types of institutions.
Information about admission can be found at:
Requirements and Selection
REQUIREMENTS: Degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography or Fine Arts, or other relevant degree of at least 180 credits (ECTS), or relevant working experience. Applicants must prove their knowledge of English: English 6/English B from Swedish Upper Secondary School.
SELECTION: An admission jury will assess applicants’ artistic abilities on the basis of their submitted portfolios. Some applicants may be expected to be called to an interview. Information on portfolio and admission can be found at www.akademinvaland.gu.se/english/education/programmes/masters-programme-in-photography/admission.
Application fee: 900 SEK
Full programme cost: 544 564 SEK
First payment: 136 141 SEK
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