Arts, Media and Society

Expression through art can tell us a lot about how people at different moments and places have understood and still understand the world. In our rapidly changing society we increasingly depend on a wide range of media to produce, disseminate, and communicate our creativity. As an English-taught track of the Art History programme, Arts, Media and Society is a BA programme in its own right. In this programme, you will explore contemporary art in many of its manifestations, including the visual arts, video art, installation art, bio-art, games and digital media art. All of these will be placed in the broader context of the global history of art. Our current society is dealing with many challenges such as global warming, globalisation and inequality.

As a student of this programme, you will study how contemporary art comments on and contributes to the debates concerning these issues in interaction with the media. During your studies you will gain in-depth knowledge about:

  • the latest developments in contemporary arts;
  • developments in modern-day media forms;
  • the related cultural roles of the arts and media in contemporary society.

As the programme progresses, several of its courses will combine theoretical knowledge with practice. You will analyse artistic and activist strategies and public manifestations, such as street art, designing an art exhibition and participating in practice-based research. Additionally, there will be interesting field trips and excursions to participate in.

Pag 39 int brochure Wakana Kaitani

Wakana Kaitani
Senior student

'Since I am not from Europe myself, I was a bit afraid my background wouldn’t be welcomed as much in my work, but the professors are always welcoming my story and my story as a Japanese student. We have students in the classroom from everywhere in the world, so I can learn a lot about different cultures and it helps me to become an international person. I think this is important because you can learn from the values in other places in the world and take some home.'

Curriculum: BA Art History: Arts, Media & Society Curriculum

Arts, Media and Society 2023 vs 4

Why study Arts, Media and Society in Leiden?

  • The programme offers you the opportunity to examine a wide range of art forms: from traditional artistic media to lens-based media and digital media.
  • This programme is unique in the Netherlands, connecting developments in the arts with developments in science and technology.
  • You will be part of an international classroom with students from all over the world.

Arts, Media and Society is delivered by Leiden University’s Centre for the Arts in Society which has close connections with local and international museums, archives and art academies, including:

  • Museums
  • Media labs such as Mediametic and De Waag in Amsterdam
  • Galleries and institutes such as Het Nieuwe Instituut Rotterdam, Fact Gallery, Liverpool and Galerie Kapelica in Ljubljana
  • Online art projects
  • Amsterdam Art Fair
  • RKD: Netherlands Institute for Art History
  • V2: interdisciplinary centre for art and media technology

Renowned artists

The Arts, Media and Society staff have a large national and international network of contemporary and internationally-recognised artists who will be regularly invited to lecture on their practice and state of the arts today, or to develop projects together with our students.

Some examples: Dutch artists Floris Kaayk and Arne Hendriks, international artists Kaisu Koski (Finland) Mike Thompson (UK), Susana Cámara Leret (ES), Jennifer Willet (Canada), Adam Zaretsky (US), Anna Dumitriu (UK) and Špela Petric (Slovenia).

Your choice

In the first semester of your third year, you can choose to study abroad, follow elective courses, take a minor or complete an internship. Leiden University has partnerships with over 600 universities around the world.

Your future career

  • Curator or programme developer for museums, festivals, media labs or other cultural institutions

  • (Art) journalist or columnist for newspapers and magazines

  • (Online) media editor or publisher

  • Policy adviser or consultant for governmental and non-governmental organisations

  • Organiser of educational or public engagement activities for the education sector, non-governmental organisations or companies

  • Art researcher

  • Cultural entrepreneur, setting up your own service or institution in the field of art and culture


Part of the admission and application procedure is participation in the matching module. Matching helps you determine whether the focus and level of the programme are for you. You receive advice in order to solidify your decision to start this programme.

P21 foto AMS

Location: Leiden


year programme, 180 ECTS


English-taught programme established




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