Visual Arts, Media and Architecture (Research)

Why study at VU University Amsterdam

The faculty members associated with the Department of Arts and Culture are top-quality researchers with a strong national and international profile. They have a background in art history and art theory, in the history of architecture, urban planning and landscape architecture, and in comparative arts and media studies. Their fields of expertise are in the following areas

  • Reflection on the historical role and contemporary transformations of the modern art world into a conglomerate of sites and institutions of diverging private and public constitution for the production, distribution and reception of art: the artist’s studio, the gallery and the museum, the temporary exhibition, the alternative art space, the auction room, the art academy as well as the virtual ‘spaces’ of discourse, theory, criticism and the internet.
  • Technologies, concepts, design processes and style variations in architecture, urban planning and landscape architecture on different levels – from palace gardens to polder landscape, from villa to airport, from the domestic interiors to urban infrastructure. Special focus is put on (the relationship between) ‘space’ and ‘image’.
  • The study of film, television and digital media, in particular the synergy between art and the media and between the diverse media themselves, commonly known as ‘intermediality.’
  • Reflection on the role of the creative industries – art, entertainment, advertising, architecture and design – in processes of innovation, urban development, free market systems and globalization.


During the study the student will determine his or her own course path, in consultation with researchers and teachers at the VU. Several of them are attached to the Interdisciplinary Research Institute CLUE (Research Institute for the Heritage and History of the Cultural Landscape and Urban Environment) of the VU University Amsterdam.

Professors and assistant professors

VAMA - Waarom aan de VU

Profile of the Research Master's

The focus of the Research Master's at the VU University is the changing role of art and culture in our ‘mediatised’ and commercialized western society. The emphasis lies on the increasing interaction between the arts, the media and the public and private space, seen from a historical angle. Art and culture have turned into interdisciplinary domains closely related to realms from which  they have traditionally – at least since the modern age - maintained a distance: politics, economy, and social reality.

Now that the digital medium – the preferred platform for economic exchange and convergence between culture and entertainment – has become a major means for the documentation, presentation, conservation (archiving) as well as the modernisation of art and culture, we are faced with the urgent question of how these border-crossing developments, at the junction of retention and innovation, can be evaluated, conceptualised and put in a historical perspective.

The sights are not only set on current events and the future. The phenomenon of ‘mediatisation’ will be put into a comprehensive historical framework and studied in depth in the light of broad theoretical discourses and specific examples from both the past and the present.

Accreditation and degree

The quality of this Master’s programme has been positively assessed by the Accreditation Organization of The Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) – the official, independent body that monitors and guards the quality assurance system of the VU University Amsterdam. This means that upon successful completion of the programme students will receive a legally accredited Master’s degree in Visual Arts, Media and Architecture and the title Master of Arts (MA).

Through systematic and periodic comparison and evaluation, VU University Amsterdam ensures that its educational programmes on both the Bachelor’s and Master’s level, and the organization thereof, meet national and international standards. Peer reviews and evaluations are at the core of the university’s system of quality assurance, in which students, academic staff, alumni and (future) employers of graduates are closely involved.

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