Master of Contemporary Art Theory

Master of Art

Application Deadline: January 15

The University of Ottawa's Department of Visual Arts offers a Master of Contemporary Art Theory (MA)

The program is bilingual and is intended to develop research capability in various fields of contemporary art history and focus on graduating academics specializing in the areas of contemporary art, contemporary visual culture (cinema, television, internet) and visual theory. Students may choose to complete the program in either English or French.The program is one year in length and is offered on a full-time basis only.  The students can opt for the one-year MA, Course option or the one-year MA Major Research Paper option

The program is for students wishing to study full-time only.

Generous bursaries and teaching assistantships are provided for students with appropriate academic and professional achievements.

Program Information

One-Year MA Program

This is a unique program in Canada because of its ability to offer: courses in both official languages; interaction with the collections and exhibitions of major cultural institutions (both federal and municipal); direct dialogue between art history graduate students and their MFA peers; interdisciplinarity (with gender studies, cinema, French studies, and digital humanities); student involvement in faculty research projects (as RAs for SSHRC-funded and other projects); and global perspectives (involving Environmental studies; World Cinema; and Middle East and Global South Studies).

Course Option

The one-year MA program (Course Option) is a unique program in Canada, offering a postgraduate degree to professionals in the culture/heritage industry since the Ottawa-Gatineau region has seven major national museums, several smaller museums and dozens of galleries. This option is well suited to professionals who seek career advancement through a graduate degree by completing an MA within twelve months (or even eight months if all courses are taken in the fall and winter semesters).

Major Research Paper

The one-year MA program with Major Research Paper (MRP Option) offers students critical and theoretical studies in contemporary art and visual culture (international visual art, museums, digital humanities, cinema studies, and new media). The program seeks to bring the methodologies of art history, visual culture, film studies and critical theory into dialogue with the contemporary world of images and representations, as well as digital visual humanities (online art networks, publications, collections, and archives). This option will be taken by students seeking to pursue their studies at the PhD level.

Research Excellence

The MA in Contemporary Art Theory is innovative and unique by relying on the strengths in contemporary art history of its three art history professors and one art history and studio professor: internationalism, digital humanities and the bridging of artistic theory and practice. Though all four art history professors have an international breadth to their research, Andrea Fitzpatrick’s research in Middle-Eastern art, methodologies, global perspectives, visual studies, and human rights, demonstrates an urgent current topicality. Her expertise in theories of gender and her affiliation with the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies at the University of Ottawa demonstrate the inter-disciplinarity of the Imagine 2030 Plan. She also curated an important exhibition at artist-run centres in Ottawa and Toronto which brought together prestigious Iranian artists. Celina Jeffery’s SSHRC funded interdisciplinary work on art and environmental humanities has an international reach (India, UK, USA, Australia, Mexico and Mauritius) and her approach of the subject through curatorial research and exhibition making is in tune with the global trend towards an expansive development of museum exhibitions as experience. She is also the co-founder and lead editor of an online journal of art criticism and theory and frequently uses digital humanities as a platform for her curatorial projects. Jakub Zdebik’s philosophical research into the concept of the diagram provides a basis for the current development of digital humanities in academia. From the perspective of the aesthetic of the diagram, he explores digital, network and internet art. His current research in the relation between art and information has yielded a curated exhibition in the United States, a colloquium of national breadth as well as a forthcoming edited journal issue. Penny Cousineau-Levine, who holds a position as both a studio and art history professor has expertise in Contemporary Canadian art theory and practice, will be a bridge between MA and MFA graduate students, providing teaching and supervisory support on both. She has also written on and continues to work on international work and held an Australian fellowship.

Interested candidates are invited to contact Professor Jakub Zdebik, Chair of the Visual Arts Department,

Application Deadline: January 15

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