Postgraduate Course

MA Avant-Gardes

MA Avant-Gardes

Overview

The details
Avant-Gardes
October 2019
Full-time
1 year
Colchester Campus

Discover the radical, the unorthodox and the innovative. The Avant-Garde is an artistic movement that has had an impact across various forms of art such as literature, theatre and film, which pushes the boundaries of creativity and challenges the status quo.

Explore the concept of the Avant-Garde and the influence that it had during the inter-war period, and how it continues to influence creative arts today. Our specialised course deepens your understanding and enhances your ability to critically evaluate the Avant-Garde in all its multiple manifestations, analysing creative work from the early 20th Century through to the present day. In addition, you explore theoretical and creative approaches to the Avant-Garde, which enables you to develop your own theoretical ideas and practice.

Our unique course offers a focused approach on this particular area of the arts, and gives you the opportunity to study multiple disciplines across literature, film, art history and creative writing. Typical topics to choose from include:

  • The avant-garde influence on literature
  • The impact of the avant-garde in documentary film-making
  • Psychogeography
  • The study of Oulipo
  • Poetry and performance art

This course is also available on a part-time basis.

Why we're great.
  • Our MA Avant-Gardes is unique within the UK
  • Join a diverse network of distinguished alumni including Nobel Prize and Booker Prize winners
  • Meet fellow readers at the student-run Literature Society and our Myth Reading Group

Our expert staff

At Essex, we have an impressive literary legacy. Our history comprises staff (and students) who have shaped writing as we know it. We are an interdisciplinary department and our staff are experts in literature, film theory and practice, drama and creative writing.

Key academic staff for this course include:

  • Professor Philip Terry, as Head of Department Philip is interested in both the theory and practice of creative writing, with a particular focus on the work of Oulipo.
  • Professor Sanja Bahun, author of The Avant-garde and the Margin: New Territories of Modernism and expert in international modernism
  • Dr Holly Pester, a poet pushing the boundaries of sound and performance and participating in practiced-based research.
  • Annecy Lax, is an avant-garde theatre-maker and expert on situationalist practices.

Specialist facilities

  • Meet fellow literature enthusiasts at our student-run Literature Society or at our department’s Myth Reading Group
  • Join our vibrant student-staff Modernism Reading Group
  • Gain experience through our Students’ Union media platform Rebel
  • View classic films at weekly film screenings in our dedicated 120-seat film theatre
  • Learn from leading writers and literature specialists at weekly research seminars
  • Our on-campus Lakeside Theatre has been established as a major venue for good drama, staging both productions by professional touring companies and a wealth of new work written, produced and directed by our own staff and students
  • Improve your playwriting and performance skills at our Lakeside Theatre Workshops
  • Our Research Laboratory allows you to collaborate with professionals, improvising and experimenting with new work which is being tried and tested

Your future

Our MA Avant-Gardes will allow you explore a breadth of subject areas and develop an array of both theoretical and practical skills to open many doors for a successful future career.

We offer supervision for PhD and MPhil in different areas of literature, film, theatre and creative writing, offering various approaches and covering most aspects of early modern and modern writing in English, plus a number of other languages.

Our University is one of only 11 AHRC-accredited Doctoral Training Centres in the UK. This means that we offer funded PhD studentships which also provide a range of research and training opportunities.

A number of our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies graduates have gone on to undertake successful careers as writers, and others are now established as scholars, university lecturers, teachers, publishers, editors, journalists, arts administrators, theatre artistic directors, drama advisers, and translators.

We work closely with our Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

We will consider applications with an overall grade of 2:2 and above, in a relevant discipline.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here.Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

IELTS 7.0 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5, except 6.5 in writing

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.

Structure

Example structure

Most of our courses combine compulsory and optional modules, giving you freedom to pursue your own interests. All of the modules listed below provide an example of what is on offer from the current academic year. Our Programme Specification provides further details of the course structure for the current academic year.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

Research Methods in Literary and Cultural Analysis

Are you ready for your dissertation? Examine a variety of research methods and methodologies, building the research skills and understanding needed to complete your postgraduate-level research project.

View Research Methods in Literary and Cultural Analysis on our Module Directory

Dissertation

Your dissertation is the culmination of your time at Essex. Focusing on one particular topic in great depth, you formulate an urgent research question to be subsequently addressed, either critically or creatively. Your dedicated supervisor will be on-hand to guide you through the process, and our pre-requisite module on research methods will ensure you are fully prepared for the task at hand.

View Dissertation on our Module Directory

Literature and Performance in the Modern City (optional)

Explore the cultural and political capitals of the twentieth and twenty-first century: New York, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Moscow and London. By considering these urban spaces, you actively explore the categories of modernism and postmodernism, as well as a range of theories of the modern/postmodern city. Emphasis is placed on taking an interdisciplinary approach – discussion of literary works (including plays) will be complemented by viewing/listening to performances, films, and readings. You also consider paintings and photographs, city maps, and even urban planning decisions.

View Literature and Performance in the Modern City (optional) on our Module Directory

Documentary and the Avant-garde: Film, Video, Digital (optional)

What do we mean by documentary? How does documentary feed into our ongoing fascination with reality? Examine non-fiction films and more recent hybrids, such as mockumentaries, reality TV and real-life programming. Examine avant-garde filmmaking approaches in relation to how we perceive and question reality and real-life stories.

View Documentary and the Avant-garde: Film, Video, Digital (optional) on our Module Directory

Memory Maps: Practices in Psychogeography (optional)

A new genre of literature has been emerging: moving between fiction, history, traveller's tales, and memoir, it explores the spirit of place. This tradition of “psychogeography” has been most vividly taken up and given a new contemporary twist by writers in the eastern stretches of England, in the work of writers such as Ronald Blythe, W.G. Sebald and Iain Sinclair. This module is concerned with writing on the landscape of this region – the ways the wilder reaches of Essex and Suffolk have been depicted – and allows you to develop your critical and creative writing about place. This module usually involves a walking tour around Colchester where we will have the chance to explore these literary landscapes and experience these worlds for ourselves. Students will incur travel costs of approximately £2.50 for this trip.

View Memory Maps: Practices in Psychogeography (optional) on our Module Directory

Art and Politics (optional)

In 2013, both Jeff Koons and Zaha Hadid designed yachts for obscenely wealthy collectors. At the same time, members of the activist art group, Pussy Riot languished in a Russian prison, charged with hooliganism over the artistic protests against the authoritarianism of the Putin government. How can we make sense of this moment in contemporary culture, where artistic means are directed to such diverse aesthetic, political, ethical, and social ends? Probe the relationship between art, politics and money in this series of weekly lectures.

View Art and Politics (optional) on our Module Directory

Teaching

  • Five modules are followed over the autumn and spring terms, and generally consist of ten two-hour seminars
  • Innovative, practical ways of engaging with texts include visits to theatres and archival research
  • Seminars may include introductions by your tutor, presentations by you, and discussion based on a programme of reading
  • Visiting scholars are invited to speak about their research

Assessment

  • Four essays of 4,000-5,000 words
  • There is normally considerable freedom for you to choose the topics of your essays
  • A reflective piece on research methods

Dissertation

  • You produce a dissertation (of approximately 12,000 words) written between April and September

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£7,940

International fee

£17,040

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next

Open Days

We hold Open Days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Applying

You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.

There is no application deadline but we recommend that you apply before 1 July for our taught courses starting in October. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

If you are applying to a masters course in the department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies you must provide a piece of critical academic writing (2,500 words) on a topic relevant to your application.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

Home to over 13,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.

 

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its course finder is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep prospective students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

Two women looking at a PC screen
Ask us a question

Want to quiz us about your course? Got a question that just needs answering? Get in touch and we’ll do our best to email you back shortly.