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School of Social Sciences

Jemma O'Brien

Visual Anthropology MA

Why did you choose Manchester?

I did my first degree in Social Anthropology at Manchester, graduating in 2012 and then continued to stick about for a few years until coming back to do the MA!

Why did you pick your course?

The combination of academic and practical work really interested me. I had a taster of the modules in my undergraduate degree and they subsequently influenced my dissertation topic. I have wanted to do this course for years.

What are the best things about your degree?

The MAVA is above all, fun! I look forward to each and every one of my lectures and having a course that you actually enjoy is so satisfying. For me, it doesn’t matter where I end up, the journey is excellent in itself. The lecturers are all so different, with their own styles and specialities that you can take inspiration from.

Your course mates too are people you can learn and bounce off, not all come from Anthropology and certainly not all from the UK so you are immersed in this group of wonderful like-minded humans that very quickly become good friends.

Are there any parts of the course you’ve particular enjoyed? What made them stand out?

Images, Text, Fieldwork has been a particular stand out module so far. From the one-day research project, to mobile walking lectures through to the assessment which was a platform to experiment with a research methods - it has been great to explore how to practically DO anthropological fieldwork.

What benefits do you think your course/the university will bring to you on graduation (eg skills for employability)?

You are very quickly immersed in very practical audio/visual skills, which I imagine I will be of great value to me.

Please can you give details of any extracurricular activities/societies you’ve been involved in?

Throughout the MA we are constantly invited to be involved in film festivals and projects outside the course which is great.

Why should a prospective applicant choose Manchester?

I love Manchester! At first the city seems daunting; fast and uncontrollable. Then you get to grips with it and you find that there is so much to throw yourself into, to experience and people to meet. In the seven years I have been here I have had the time of my life. If you’re willing to take them, the opportunities are countless and you’ll have a mad time that you should revel in whilst young!

University-wise, it’s incredible. I have had so much support, personally and academically, and as with anything, what you put in you get out.