Contemporary Art, Design and New Media
Art Histories (MA)
The MA program in Contemporary Art, Design and New Media Art Histories critically explores current creativity and cultural production.
This program offers students a compelling array of perspectives to investigate and assess the ever-shifting worlds of contemporary art, design and new media art. Moderate class sizes, top-notch faculty and exceptional access to resources combine to create an enriching and stimulating intellectual environment dedicated to learning. The program readies students for rewarding careers in academia and the cultural community.
OCAD University is one of only a few institutions in North America that concentrates solely on contemporary artists and issues, and is the first program in Ontario to offer a specialization in design history at the graduate level.
The approach to learning at OCAD University is creative and flexible, borrowing from the often unconventional and hybrid strategies used by 21st century artists and designers, which challenge traditional forms of analysis. OCAD University’s program in contemporary cultural production supports, through rigorous scholarly and cross-disciplinary methods, the production of pioneering research into newly emerging art and design practices.
Our unique, innovative academic program offers students three areas of specialization:
- Contemporary Art History
- Design History
- New Media Art History
Drawing on the long established discipline of art history and sharing analytical techniques, theory and terminology, these three areas of study are complementary. However, these areas of investigation and specialization bear and retain their own distinctiveness, which is emphasized in field-specific seminars and independent study. While students may take courses in any one of the three specializations, one field will be selected as the focus for the degree.
The MA in Contemporary Art, Design and New Media Art Histories is a full-time, 45-credit program normally completed within two years (five semesters). With the Program Director’s approval, some part-time students may be admitted with a more flexible completion schedule.
The program comprises the following:
- Two core graduate courses
- Field-specific graduate seminars
- Two electives
- Individual reading and research
- Major Research Paper (MRP) / Thesis writing workshop
- MRP or Thesis
Students entering the program will have an honours-equivalent, four-year bachelor’s degree in art history, visual culture or related discipline. Students will seek to augment their existing knowledge through a program of study that facilitates exploration and analysis of contemporary art, design or new media art.
- To cultivate original research into the analysis of contemporary art, design and new media art
- To provide students with advanced writing and research skills for historical, critical and theoretical investigations
- To prepare students for employment by galleries, museums and other art institutions
- To ready students for continuing research in PhD programs
- Contemporary Art History at OCAD University is one of only a few programs that concentrate solely on contemporary artists and issues attending current and recent cultural production.
- OCAD University is the first university in Ontario, and second in Canada, to offer a specialization in design history at the graduate level.
- New Media Art History is a pioneering specialization since most graduate programs focusing on new media are practice-based or housed in communication studies. OCAD University's New Media Art History joins a select handful in the world examining technological work in an art historical context.
- With an extensive core faculty, this program offers students an impressive array of perspectives from which to explore the ever-shifting worlds of contemporary art, design and new media art. Faculty not only specialize in the histories of these areas of production, but they also engage in a range of critical and interdisciplinary theories.
- The moderate size of the program (approximately 16 students per year) ensures that each student receives personalized attention.
- OCAD University's community of student programs provide an active hub of experimentation in all types of media and design. Students are situated in a context of ongoing artistic activity, a vibrant research culture, and an expanding slate of graduate programs.
- Located in downtown Toronto, students are immersed in an energetic centre of production, exhibition, collection and research. Major institutions such as the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Power Plant, and the Design Exchange, as well as numerous independent galleries and artist-run spaces, showcase an abundant variety of contemporary art. Other public institutions, such as the Royal Ontario Museum, the Gardiner Museum, and the Textile Museum contain libraries, archives and collections that expand the possibilities for research.