Community profile

Philippa Stephenson

Philippa Stephenson

Former student
MA in History of Arts

Bristol was an obvious choice for me due to its excellent reputation and accessible location. I had been considering broadening my art historical knowledge with an MA and after visiting the department I was sure that Bristol would be the perfect choice- the department staff were friendly, interested and informative, and the course offered interesting units and a varied teaching staff.

“As a part-time student I had concerns as to how I would juggle an involved position working at an art gallery in Exeter alongside painting and my MA. The faculty has been very understanding of the fact that I have other commitments, however, and I am finding time both for university and working, and am enjoying the balance. Studying for an MA part-time allows me to really study each unit in depth, choosing a program that works with my timetable and interests. I don't have to stress and rush things through, I can take the time to study something that I find fascinating, developing ideas as I go.

“Coming from a History and German BA at Exeter University, I chose to pursue an Art History Masters to give me a wider understanding of an area that I had begun to develop during my last year at university and while studying in Germany in my third year, which I found especially interesting. The MA at Bristol focuses on the theory and thinking behind key debates and issues of the discipline, as well as looking at curating and exhibitions, which give a contemporary edge to the course - providing skills and knowledge which seem important for a career in the arts. I hope to use this knowledge to move into arts writing, curating and gallery management.

“As I live outside of Bristol, I am somewhat removed from postgraduate activity outside of classes, however the core course unit which happens at the start of the MA allows for a lot of group-work, presentations and lengthy discussion, so that I feel well and truly part of the MA group.

“The units on offer are varied and offer the chance to carry out seminars in museums such as the Holburne Museum in Bath. Research seminars have offered some really interesting insights into the varied research projects of the department's academics, as well as of guest speakers.

“I would recommend a part-time Masters at Bristol for someone who wants to continue their interest in Art History at a postgraduate level, pursuing this interest alongside other commitments.”