Research Master’s Visual Arts, Media and Architecture at VU University Amsterdam

Bik Van der Pol, Accumulate, Collect, Show, 2011. Courtesy Frieze projects, London.

Research Master’s Visual Arts, Media and Architecture

VU University Amsterdam

Deadline for international applicants: 1 April 2013
(if applying for a VU Fellowship Programme grant: 1 March 2013)

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Arts and Culture: Visual Arts, Media and Architecture (VAMA) is an international two-year research Master’s programme at VU University Amsterdam. The interdisciplinary programme is aimed at sharpening student’s critical and academic skills in the fields of art history, architecture history, visual culture and media studies. VAMA focuses on recent developments in these fields from both theoretical and historical perspectives and examines the complex relationships between visual art, architecture and media.

A two-year full-time programme of 120 ECTS-credits, VAMA consists of a compulsory component of two general courses spanning all three fields of research—Imagining the Image and Critical Issues in the Cultural Industries—three field-specific research seminars and a seminar on research methodology, as well as an optional component consisting of electives and tutorials. The programme is concluded with a Master’s thesis. Throughout the two-year period the emphasis is on providing a stimulating environment in which students can garner experiences in researching, writing, and publishing. In regular meetings and tutorials, students are encouraged to develop their own research interests and integrate them into their curriculum, building up to their thesis.

Staff includes
Dr. Paul van den Akker (Art History; research on drawing in Renaissance art practice; art theory and historiography);
Dr. Ivo Blom (Comparative Arts and Media Studies; focuses on film and intermediality; working on a project on Visconti);
Prof. Dr. Koos Bosma (History of Architecture and Heritage Studies, currently leading a research project on the transformations of Schiphol airport);
Dr. Fredie Floré (Architecture; specializes in the history of and the discourse on housing and interior design);
Dr. Sven Lütticken, programme director (Art History, with a focus on art and media theory; current projects on the temporalities of moving images since the 1960s and on art and thingness);
Prof. Dr. Frits Scholten (Museum policies and curating);
Prof. Dr. Timo de Rijk (Design Cultures; specializes in design history and Dutch design);
Prof. Dr. Ginette Verstraete (Comparative Arts and Media Studies, with a focus on mobility, globalization, and geography).

Research seminars and guest lectures
Staff members share their current research interests in seminars, including the recurring ‘Imagining the Image’ and ‘Critical Issues in the Cultural Industry’ courses as well as in research seminars with annually changing topics. Recent research seminars include Kinaesthetic Movement and the Limits of Modern Architecture’ by Susan Holden, guest professor in the programme ‘Art at the End of the First Machine Age’, a project of Métamatic Research Initiative, hosted by VU University. In addition to hosting the Métamatic guest professors, VAMA regularly welcomes guest speakers who engage with students in discussions about their writings. Guest in the current academic year include T.J. Demos (University College, London), Tom Holert (critic and theorist, Berlin), Rem Koolhaas (architect, London/Rotterdam), André Rottmann (Freie Universität, Berlin); and Jonas Staal (artist, Rotterdam). 

VAMA does not conceive of research as an ivory-tower affair; research is itself a form of practice. In addition to participating in academic conferences, VAMA staff members collaborate with museums, curate exhibitions, edit journals and volumes, and play advisory roles in the field of heritage. VAMA students are involved in many of these activities, and play a crucial role in the academic community at the university. 

More information
For further information, visit the website and the VAMA blog. Also take a look at the admission requirements, and application procedure, or contact the International Office at

VU University also offers a number of other Master’s programmes, including Design Cultures and Comparative Arts and Media Studies.

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