BA Creative Arts: Discover one of SOAS’ newest programmes


BA Creative Arts is one of SOAS’ newest degree programmes – only in its second year. Students study the visual arts, music, literature and cinema of Africa, Asia and the Middle East in one programme. With a contemporary focus, it enables both broad inter-regional understanding and specialisation on a specific area. There are a wide variety of  modules, ranging from Curating Global Arts and Visual Culture of Early Modern Japan to the music of Atlantic Africa and literature of Empire and Postcolonialism, as well as language options such as Swahili, Thai or Arabic throughout the programme. How many other institutions and degree programmes could offer you that much choice?

Choosing your undergraduate programme can be daunting as it sets you on course for any future career you wish to pursue. BA Creative Arts is the perfect degree programme for those who aren’t sure on what direction to head in – yet have a passion for the Arts. Throughout the course – convened by Polly Savage – you can immerse yourself into Arts, Music, Visual Arts, Literature and Film, interconnecting between them to later home in on one specialism during final year. There isn’t a similar programme in the country, and no arts course which offers the same diversity in the UK. Providing students with an opportunity to explore the expressive arts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East – areas which SOAS academics specialise in – the programme gives them a chance to engage with different perspectives and strengthen their global outlook. 

BA Creative Arts doesn’t just offer its students a theoretical approach to the arts and cultural industries, but is a practice-based course working with industry professionals. Classes allow students to develop their skills in radio, curating, film festivals and musical performance both within taught modules and assignments. 

To supplement this, lectures are curated with guest speakers and professionals and previously students have gone on external visits to sites such as BBC Broadcasting House, The Serpentine Gallery, The British Museum, the Royal Academy of Arts and Tate Modern to meet industry leaders and view behind the scenes*. As the job market becomes increasingly more difficult for new graduates, relevant work experiences and networking with professionals become even more crucial. 

SOAS students at BBC Broadcasting House

BA Creative Arts at SOAS offers more flexibility than your average degree programme, providing students with the opportunity to learn about non-Western cultures and shape their degree, tailoring it to suit themselves. As the programme is in its infancy, the current students will develop a strong theoretical foundation for pursuing a career in the cultural industries, such as, curating an exhibition or designing radio programmes or even continuing with further study, like our MA Global Creatives and Cultural Industries programme. Finally, with only 14 students on the programme, the cohort benefit from exceptional access to tutors, and scope to collaborate with peers. They can take what they learn from this rigorous and interdisciplinary programme, to act as inspiration in industry-oriented or academia positions and pave the way for students in years to come.   

*Please note that visits and work placements are contingent on Covid-19 restrictions.

Thanks to Polly Savage for taking the time to chat with us.

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