Introduction

The University of Aberdeen is following Scottish Government Guidelines in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes adhering to physical distancing measures to support a safe environment for our staff and students. Therefore for programmes with a January 2021 start date the programme structure and delivery method may differ slightly from that listed on this page. Find out more about January 2021 study with us .

This programme will be available in 2021-22

Performance is a part of our everyday lives, and its role in the history of the visual arts and music is unique.

Study Information

Study Options

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MLitt
Duration
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
January or September
Location of Study
Aberdeen

The MLitt in Performance Studies develops your practical skills and theoretical and historical knowledge of performance art, offering hands-on, real-life experience to prepare you for future study or work in the world of performance.

Performance continues to dominate in the visual arts, and its interdisciplinarity and openness lends itself to being utilised by artists in music, dance and theatre.

Our MLitt in performance studies offers the opportunity for you to develop your performance portfolio, from within the disciplines of either the visual arts or music while developing your fluency in the theory and history of performance.

This degree programme provides a solid foundation in contemporary music, art and theory, and practice.

Available Programmes of Study

Performance Studies

Qualification Duration Learning Mode Study Mode Start Month Location  
MLitt 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time September Aberdeen View

Programme Information

Semester 1

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses
Performance Histories (FS5029)

30 Credit Points

This course will examine the history and development of live art genres, including happenings, performance art and socially engaged art. Students will be introduced to the various theoretical lenses for looking at and analyzing performance art, including debates regarding documentation and re-performance.

View detailed information about this course
Optional Courses
Research Methods in Film and Visual Culture (FS5022)

30 Credit Points

This course will introduce students to a range of methods of visual analysis and approaches to research in the fields of film and visual culture. We will example key theoretical concepts and paradigms, such as authorship, spectatorship, materiality, and employ them in rigorous analysis of film, material and visual culture.

View detailed information about this course
Contemporary Issues in Aesthetics (MU5016)

30 Credit Points

This course will introduce students to the work of key contemporary texts in aesthetics relating to music and the other arts. Texts will be studied, discussed and related to one another. While selected texts will vary from year to year, readings will be taken from writers such as Adorno, Badiou, Benjamin, Barthes, Bloch, Boulez, Deleuze (and Guattari), Dahlhaus, Derrida, Dufrenne, Eco, Gadamer, Habermas, Heidegger, Husserl, Jameson, Jencks, Lachenmann, Lyotard, Nancy, Nietzsche, Rancière, Rihm, Sartre, Schoenberg, Serres, Sloterdijk, Spivak, Stockhausen, Vattimo, Wittgenstein, Zizek.

Examples of issues and questions that may be covered include the nature of modernity, post-modernity more idiosyncratic variable theorisations of recent aesthetic history; the nature and purpose of the contemporary artwork; the beautiful and the sublime; relationships between the arts; the materiality of contemporary art forms; musique informelle.

View detailed information about this course
Approaching Literature (EL5092)

30 Credit Points

This course examines some critical approaches and theories that have shaped modern literary inquiry. An organising theme of the course is different notions of ‘text’, ranging from historicist definitions of the ‘material text’ to poststructuralist theories of intertextuality and the practice of modern textual editing. The relevance to literature of different types of context is also explored, as are the interpretative possibilities of various forms of ideological critique, including feminism and post-colonialism. Throughout the course students are exposed to a wide variety of primary and secondary texts.

View detailed information about this course
Semester 2

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses

You will undertake the following course:

  • Performance Practices
Optional Courses

from a selection of optional courses:

Projects in Film and Visual Culture (FS5527)

30 Credit Points

This course will involve students in a project related to film and visual culture, wherein methods in film and visual culture will be applied to practical experience. Students will take a leadership role in the project, being responsible for its completion from start to finish. Students will work with a local arts and cultural organization and develop a portfolio of material, depending on the project. A particular focus will be placed on public engagement with research, in other words, presenting the project to the public through blog posts, social media, film, or other for a. Workshops will prepare the students for the portfolio and assessed work, involve close analysis and discussion of specific examples.

View detailed information about this course
MLitt Special Study in Film and Visual Culture (FS5526)

30 Credit Points

This course is designed to allow the creation of a programme of individual study where other appropriate course options at masters level are not available. It will run at the discretion of the programme co-ordinator. In discussion with a designated supervisor students will be able to identify and design a programme of research and study, which may include the completion of an undergraduate course, with assessments appropriate to masters-level work, or which may be consist of a short programme of research conducted over one semester. This programme of study will be subject to approval by the convener of the relevant M.Litt programme. Where appropriate courses at masters level are available, this course will not run.

View detailed information about this course
Work - Based Placement in Film and Visual Culture (FS5525)

30 Credit Points

Students will gain practical experience in the film industry and/or visual culture organisations, providing real work experience in preparation for the next steps following their degree.

View detailed information about this course
Public Engagement for Arts (EL5596)

30 Credit Points

Art and culture are integral to our daily lives, and the ways in which these are experienced are continually changing. Whether it is in a street performance, a public gallery, an academic festival, a webcast, a documentary or in social media, the relationship between the creative artist and those who consume it, is complex and can itself be a creative process. This course explores the many ways in which creative materials can be brought to public view, and how different forms of communication, aural, verbal and visual, can enhance public engagement with aesthetic experiences and the discourses around these.

View detailed information about this course
The Museum Idea (AT5526)

30 Credit Points

Why do human beings collect and what is the purpose of museums? ‘The Museum Idea’ examines these questions by focusing on the history and philosophy of museums and relating these to contemporary museum practice. The course will examine the role of museums in society through case studies of exhibitions and other museum projects in a variety of settings, including art, history and ethnographic museums.

View detailed information about this course
Semester 3

Semester 3

Dissertation in Performance Studies


Programme Fees

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU / RUK Students £9,000
Tuition Fees for 2020/21 Academic Year
International Students £19,000
Tuition Fees for 2020/21 Academic Year
MLitt 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time January Aberdeen View

Programme Information

Semester 1

Semester 1

Those starting the degree in January should be advised that they will complete the dissertation over the summer and finish the programme with the Semester 3 selection of courses. Taught courses do not run in the summer. Students wishing to do their dissertation at the end of the programme should consider starting their study from September.


Compulsory Courses
  • Performance Practices

Optional Courses
Projects in Film and Visual Culture (FS5527)

30 Credit Points

This course will involve students in a project related to film and visual culture, wherein methods in film and visual culture will be applied to practical experience. Students will take a leadership role in the project, being responsible for its completion from start to finish. Students will work with a local arts and cultural organization and develop a portfolio of material, depending on the project. A particular focus will be placed on public engagement with research, in other words, presenting the project to the public through blog posts, social media, film, or other for a. Workshops will prepare the students for the portfolio and assessed work, involve close analysis and discussion of specific examples.

View detailed information about this course
Public Engagement for Arts (EL5596)

30 Credit Points

Art and culture are integral to our daily lives, and the ways in which these are experienced are continually changing. Whether it is in a street performance, a public gallery, an academic festival, a webcast, a documentary or in social media, the relationship between the creative artist and those who consume it, is complex and can itself be a creative process. This course explores the many ways in which creative materials can be brought to public view, and how different forms of communication, aural, verbal and visual, can enhance public engagement with aesthetic experiences and the discourses around these.

View detailed information about this course
Locations and Dislocations: the Role of Place in Literature (EL5590)

30 Credit Points

This course examines the social, political and cultural construction of place in literary texts. The imaginative co-ordinates of places such as ‘Scotland’, or ‘England’ exist in a constant state of flux, refusing to yield an essential, authentic image. Using core texts from the early modern period paired with more recent literary responses we explore the idea of place in its various forms. Key themes and issues to be discussed will include the rural and urban divide; literature and nationhood; the nature of community; the significance of emigration, and displacement; walking texts, metropolitan literature, and ideas of the “new world”

View detailed information about this course
The Museum Idea (AT5526)

30 Credit Points

Why do human beings collect and what is the purpose of museums? ‘The Museum Idea’ examines these questions by focusing on the history and philosophy of museums and relating these to contemporary museum practice. The course will examine the role of museums in society through case studies of exhibitions and other museum projects in a variety of settings, including art, history and ethnographic museums.

View detailed information about this course
Semester 2

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses
  • Dissertation in Performance Studies (60 credits)
Semester 3

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses
Performance Histories (FS5029)

30 Credit Points

This course will examine the history and development of live art genres, including happenings, performance art and socially engaged art. Students will be introduced to the various theoretical lenses for looking at and analyzing performance art, including debates regarding documentation and re-performance.

View detailed information about this course
Optional Courses
Contemporary Issues in Aesthetics (MU5016)

30 Credit Points

This course will introduce students to the work of key contemporary texts in aesthetics relating to music and the other arts. Texts will be studied, discussed and related to one another. While selected texts will vary from year to year, readings will be taken from writers such as Adorno, Badiou, Benjamin, Barthes, Bloch, Boulez, Deleuze (and Guattari), Dahlhaus, Derrida, Dufrenne, Eco, Gadamer, Habermas, Heidegger, Husserl, Jameson, Jencks, Lachenmann, Lyotard, Nancy, Nietzsche, Rancière, Rihm, Sartre, Schoenberg, Serres, Sloterdijk, Spivak, Stockhausen, Vattimo, Wittgenstein, Zizek.

Examples of issues and questions that may be covered include the nature of modernity, post-modernity more idiosyncratic variable theorisations of recent aesthetic history; the nature and purpose of the contemporary artwork; the beautiful and the sublime; relationships between the arts; the materiality of contemporary art forms; musique informelle.

View detailed information about this course
Approaching Literature (EL5092)

30 Credit Points

This course examines some critical approaches and theories that have shaped modern literary inquiry. An organising theme of the course is different notions of ‘text’, ranging from historicist definitions of the ‘material text’ to poststructuralist theories of intertextuality and the practice of modern textual editing. The relevance to literature of different types of context is also explored, as are the interpretative possibilities of various forms of ideological critique, including feminism and post-colonialism. Throughout the course students are exposed to a wide variety of primary and secondary texts.

View detailed information about this course
MLitt Special Study in Film and Visual Culture (FS5026)

30 Credit Points

This course is designed to allow the creation of a programme of individual study where other appropriate course options at masters level are not available. It will run at the discretion of the programme co-ordinator. In discussion with a designated supervisor students will be able to identify and design a programme of research and study, which may include the completion of an undergraduate course, with assessments appropriate to masters-level work, or which may be consist of a short programme of research conducted over one semester. This programme of study will be subject to approval by the convener of the relevant M.Litt programme. Where appropriate courses at masters level are available, this course will not run.

View detailed information about this course
Work - Based Placement in Film and Visual Culture (FS5525)

30 Credit Points

Students will gain practical experience in the film industry and/or visual culture organisations, providing real work experience in preparation for the next steps following their degree.

View detailed information about this course

Programme Fees

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU / RUK Students £9,000
Tuition Fees for 2020/21 Academic Year
International Students £19,000
Tuition Fees for 2020/21 Academic Year

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

The programme is delivered by means of seminars and workshops that are tutor- and student-led as appropriate. Students will complete independent and group work, and lead their own projects with the guidance and support of the course tutors. Assessment methods include essays, portfolios, practical projects and other coursework.

Assessment Methods

Assessment methods include essays, reflections, critiques, and practical work such as portfolios, and video and film documentation of work.

The MLitt also requires a 12,000-word dissertation (which can also include practical components), while the PG diploma and PG certificate consist of coursework alone.

Why Study Performance Studies?

  • It is unique in its combining of theory and practice, from the disciplines of visual culture and music, to develop your command of the language of contemporary performance
  • Study with leading performance practitioners and theorists
  • Opportunities to develop a portfolio of performance work
  • Opportunities to develop a strong command of the history, theory and criticism of performance art
  • Two core courses provide a strong foundation in theoretical and practical skills, paving the way for further postgraduate study or a career in the arts
  • Optional modules offer the possibility to focus further on either music or visual culture strands, as well as public engagement with the arts
  • The programme will be of interest to you if you have a background in Visual Arts, Music, Sonic Arts, Cultural Studies, Art Criticism and Art History. It will also be of interest to you if you have a professional background in the visual arts or music
  • Members of the School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture play a leading role in several specialised research centres and arts groups at the University and in Aberdeen. The centres bring together groups of scholars from a range of academic disciplines, and foster links with other universities.
  • Tutors on the course have founded visual arts and music festivals, such as the VIEW Visual Arts and Culture Programme at the University of Aberdeen, and sonADA, the Sonic Arts Music Festival. They are also contributors to the SOUND Festival of new music and TIPA, This is Performance Art, along with other local festivals such as the May Festival, Spectra, the Festival of Light, the Being Human Festival, Explorathon and the Festival of Social Science. Students will also have the opportunity to contribute to these events
  • The city of Aberdeen offers a wide range of visual culture such as museums, art galleries and contemporary art centres, with notable and well known artists, live music covering all tastes, and theatre.
  • The School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture is at King's Campus, dating from 1495. The campus is a major tourist attraction and is part of 'Old Aberdeen,' providing spectacular examples of architecture, dating back to its inauguration to the present day

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

Students are normally required to have a good 2.1 degree (or its equivalent) in a subject relevant to Visual Art, Visual Culture or Music, such as:

  • Anthropology
  • Art History
  • English
  • Film Studies
  • Media Studies
  • Modern Languages
  • Sociology
  • Theatre Studies,

OR

An undergraduate degree plus relevant professional experience in the arts and humanities industry

Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 51; Reading - 51; Speaking - 51; Writing - 54

Cambridge English Advanced & Proficiency:

OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fee Information

Additional Fee Information

  • Fees for individual programmes can be viewed in the Programmes section above.
  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Scholarships

Eligible self-funded international Masters students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Visit our Funding Database to find out more and see our full range of scholarships.

Careers

In addition to providing research training to enable students to go on to pursue an academic career, this programme will also be of interest to those wishing to follow a career in performance art, music performance, arts education, or art criticism.

Career Opportunities

  • Art Critic
  • Artist
  • Arts Manager
  • Community Arts Work
  • Festival Organisation
  • Musician
  • Public Engagement

Develop your portfolio work

The MLitt in Performance Studies develops your practical skills and theoretical and historical knowledge of performance art.

Our Experts

Professor Amy Bryzgel

Professor Amy Bryzgel is the author of Performance Art in Eastern Europe since 1960, the first academic monograph to explore the history and development of performance art in the former communist countries of Eastern Europe.

Dr Suk-Jun Kim

Dr Suk-Jun Kim is an award-winning composer whose main output is electroacoustic music. He is the author of Humming, a book that offers an interdisciplinary perspective on this seemingly everyday activity.

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture
University of Aberdeen
King's College
Aberdeen
AB24 3UB