African Verbal and Visual Arts: Languages, Literatures, Media and Art

The Master’s programme African Visual and Verbal Arts is a development from the former Master’s programme African Language Studies, which had an exclusive focus on African Linguistics and Swahili Studies. The new programme enables a broader and more interdisciplinary approach including Media, Arts and Curational Studies, Literatures in African – as well as European – Languages in Africa.

The programme is conceptualized as a continuation and immersion of the specialization fields offered in the Bachelor Programme African Visual and Verbal Arts (Languages, Literatures, Media and Art) at Bayreuth University. These are African Linguistics, Swahili Studies, Literatures in African Languages, and Media/Arts and Curational Studies in Africa.

In addition to gaining knowledge in African languages and linguistics, the programme now focuses on a deeper understanding of conditions and norms of language(s) in use; also in its mediated forms and social contexts. Hence, it is the primary goal of this programme to convey an enhanced comprehension of culturally encoded knowledge in its various applications and expressions in Africa.

Beside the focus on language, the programme also offers an intense engagement with theories and methodologies of literature, media, art and curatorial studies that further enriches the knowledge of various cultural verbal and visual expressions in Africa. 

Contents & Structure


In commencing the two year Master’s programme, which is organised in modules, students already bring profound interdisciplinary knowledge on Africa from a relevant Bachelor’s programme; e.g., African Verbal and Visual Arts (Languages, Literatures, Media and Art) (B.A., Bayreuth University).
During the second semester by the latest, students can choose to apply this knowledge in a field of specialization: 1 African Linguistics; 2 African Literatures; 3 Arts, Curational Studies and Media in Africa; 4 Swahili Studies; or 5 Multidisciplinary Studies (this option allows for an interdisciplinary immersion in several of these specialization fields).

Interdisciplinary modules compulsory to everyone include theories, methods, and courses in two African languages (Bambara, Hausa, Swahili or Arabic) that provide students with both academic and communicative skills.

Course Objectives

The Master’s programme enables students to develop and specialize in their knowledge and critical thinking in the fields of Linguistics, Literatures, Media, Arts and Curation in Africa. They further deepen their knowledge in academic work routines and current research trends. In a final Master’s thesis, they will work on an individually chosen research topic in a field of specialization and thus prove their professional and methodological competence.

Professional Perspectives

Graduates of this Master’s programme qualify for further studies on PhD level in African Language Studies, Literatures in African Languages, and Media and Curation Studies in Africa. Besides a university career, the programme also prepares for working in applied areas especially within intercultural cooperation’s and cultural work (e.g. Goethe Institutes, foundations, museums); in the media (journalism and PR), in developmental work and in Africa-related businesses.

The focus on teaching in English carries forward the internationalization strategy and enables productive links to the Research Hub in African Studies at Bayreuth University.

The AVVA MA programme can also be studied part-time. For details please contact: