Pathway: MA in the History of Art (British Art)
Why did you choose this programme/pathway to study?
During my undergraduate studies, I focused strongly on the subject of British art and explored connections between British literature, especially within the Victorian era, and British art of the same period. Unfortunately, British art was not a popular field at the university where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree. Hence, I decided to apply for an M.A. in History of Art at the University of York due to its unique pathway degree in British Art. Moreover, the chance to work with experts in this field, whose work was a significant influence during the preparation of my undergraduate thesis, was another reason for my decision.
Why History of Art, and why York?
Coming from a non-academic and working-class background, I was not allowed to do A-Levels to be more or less financially independent from my single mother and started working right after my GCSEs. However, the desire for further education accompanied my entire youth and I developed an insatiable interest for History of Art. The exploration of historical, literary, philosophical, social, economic, and political connections of different eras via art fascinated me since my first art history lesson. Studying art history allows me to work interdisciplinarily and explore various other fields of study. I finally dared to step back from work to become a full-time student. While applying for a postgraduate course, I was first intimidated by the University of York’s (and particularly the department’s) high reputation. However, the institution offered me a place and it was the best academic decision I have ever made. The members of staff are kind and supportive. My supervisor always encouraged me to strive for my goals and provided excellent feedback and references. Due to the various partnerships the university holds with outstanding institutions, I was able to be a presenter at a conference at the National Gallery and meet scholars of international reputation. I am entirely grateful for these opportunities and I encourage everybody with a similar background to choose the University of York, where students can dive into their studies in a stimulating and supportive environment.
What skills have your postgraduate studies allowed you to develop?
During the M.A. course, I recognised a real boost in confidence with regards to my research and academic writing skills. Studying independently and developing my own research ideas were particularly helpful and motivating. The way I used secondary as well as primary resources for essays and the final thesis taught me how to approach more extensive projects, which is a highly valuable skill with regards to a potential academic career.
How do you plan to use your History of Art MA and the skills you've learned in the future?
Graduating with a distinction from York not only opens the door to new and enriching academic opportunities but also enabled me to find a part-time job as an editor for a planned book publication at the Center for Reconciliation Studies at the Department of Theology while I finish a second postgraduate course. The M.A. in History of Art from York encouraged me to strive for an academic career in British Art despite my working-class background and I am looking forward to developing ideas and concepts for a PhD.