Taught course

Applied Anthropology and Community Arts

Goldsmiths, University of London · Anthropology

Entry requirements

You should have an undergraduate degree of at least second class standard in the social sciences or another appropriate subject, with some experience of community and youth work. You should have at least four months of full-time, or part-time equivalent, work experience prior to starting the MA. If we make you an offer to study on this programme, we will ask you to complete an application for an Enhanced Disclosure Certificate from the DBS. You'll also need to meet fitness to train criteria to be considered for this programme.

Months of entry


Course content

Taught jointly by the Departments of Anthropology and Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies, the MA offers a stimulating synthesis of theory and practice. In short, it is at the heart of what Goldsmiths is all about.

The MA combines an academic programme of lectures, seminars and tutorial assignments with practical experience.

Modules are taken over one academic year if you are studying full-time, and two years if you are studying part-time (part-time study only available to home/EU students).

Full-time students attend on Tuesdays and Thursdays and spend the rest of the week on fieldwork placements and library studies.

Part-time students attend on Thursdays in one year and Tuesdays in the other.

The Department of Anthropology teaches two of the core components of your degree: Contemporary Social Issues and Anthropological Research Methods.

  • The Contemporary Social Issues module runs through the Autumn and Spring Term, with lectures and student-led seminars alternating on a weekly basis. In the autumn it explores key analytical concepts in anthropology and related social sciences relevant to community development and community arts, such as class, gender, race and culture. The Spring Term addresses more specific contemporary social issues affecting communities, such as transnationalism, mental health, gentrification and new media. The module is assessed by a take-home exam in May.
  • Anthropological Research Methods is taught in the Spring Term. Here, you will become familiar with ethnographic research and writing. Through literature and practical research exercises (five days of fieldwork are attached to this module), you will learn about different methods of data collection including surveys, in-depth interviews, participant observation and participatory research. It combines weekly lectures and seminar-based work with the completion of a small individual project in the second term. Assessment is by essay, combining project material with theoretical literature.

In addition we strongly encourage all students, in particular those without a background in anthropology, to sit in on other MA option courses offered by the anthropology department, such as Anthropological Theory, Anthropology of Development, Anthropology of Violence, Anthropology of Art and Anthropology and the Environment. We also encourage you to audit courses run by the Art, Music and Cultural Studies departments, and in general to make the most of all the wonderful political and arts events organised by Goldsmiths staff and students every week.

The Department of Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies runs the fieldwork placements modules, which are supported by seminars, lectures, workshops and tutorials. This MA pathway entails five days attached to Anthropological Research Methods module; five days observations and 40 days of placements with community arts organisations, consisting of two placements of 20 days each. The accompanying teaching is divided into three modules. The first two of these relate to your first placement, the third to your second placement:

  • Fieldwork 1: Perspectives and Approaches (first 10 days of first placement)

In this module you explore key themes, principles, values and competing perspectives underlying community arts. The value of experiential learning approaches and critical pedagogy in informal learning and community arts are explored alongside group work principles, processes and theories. You consider your own values and reflect on your practice perspective.

  • Fieldwork 2: Critical Practice (second 10 days of first placement)

In this module you critically analyse the changing context of community arts practice, develop as critically reflective practitioners and learn how to recognise and challenge discrimination and oppression. Key themes include ethical dilemmas faced in community arts practice, youth participation and methods of engaging communities with a view to facilitating ‘empowerment’.

  • Fieldwork 3: Management, Enterprise and Development (20 days second placement and 5 days observations)

This module advances critical understanding of the management of projects, staff and resources, the legal context of community and youth work, how to produce funding bids, prepare budgets and grapple with the issues and processes involved in developing a social enterprise as well as monitoring and evaluation.

All three modules are assessed by a fieldwork report written by the student and a report by the placement supervisor.

  • The dissertation presents the culmination of your work, in that it is here that you apply anthropological methods and theories to a specific issue relevant to community arts that you are interested in. It is taught jointly by both departments.

Please note that it is possible to exit with a postgraduate diploma if you do not wish to do a dissertation.

Information for international students

We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Please see the Goldsmiths website for more details.

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

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