Analysis and critical examination of images of popular culture: Visual Culture is a future topic

Today, visual media have a greater impact than ever before – they inspire, manipulate, generate emotions and spread faster than ever before. Visual skills are increasingly becoming a key qualification. Michaela Mak has chosen to study the master’s programme Visual Culture. In this interview, the art and culture enthusiast from Finkenstein tells us why she chose the programme and why Klagenfurt, in particular, is convincing.

Tell us something about you – where are you from, what do you study?

My name is Michaela Mak and I am in the master’s programme Visual Culture. I find enthusiasm in art, photography and travelling and I am always available for spontaneous road trips. I am from Finkenstein at the beautiful Faaker See.

Why did you decide to study at all? Was it clear from the beginning what you want to study?

After my bachelor’s degree in Applied Cultural Studies, I expressly wanted to deal more with media and above all art. Since the programme is very broadly based, I knew immediately that it was the right thing for me.

Tell us a memorable AAU anecdote!

I developed a deep friendship with a fellow student because we happened to be together in all of our seminars and, in addition, we worked together in group for a practice-oriented seminar. When we got the opportunity to go to a prestigious Carinthian museum, we seized the chance and our mutual journey began. Meanwhile it happens that we spend about 12 hours a day together, whether on a university project, excited at a fancy vernissage or relaxing with a Spritzer (white win + sparkling water) in the sun!

Which subjects do you like and why? What do you like most about your studies?

I like subjects that make you think and encourage you to think further. In this semester, I will take classes concerning art history. For me, it is important to be able to combine the theory I am learning and discussing in class with something from my everyday life or with practical experiences. For example, I was travelling in Ingolstadt and by chance, it happened that I could conduct an analysis of a picture in a museum, which I could connect to two university seminars, one about Michel Foucault and the other about the aesthetics and politics of utopias, i.e. also social power structures that can be made visible through art.

Has your view of the world changed through your studies?

Of course, you perceive the world differently – you pay attention to certain things that concern you at the moment. These things are changing from semester to semester because you are always working on a different pool of topics. Also, a lot of thoughts I take home from seminars and there I deal with them (often unconsciously).

How do you explain the contents of your studies to your family or friends?

I often take everyday routines and situations as examples of the complex contents of my studies to make it easier to explain. For example, I say: Culture is not only how we perceive art and travel to foreign countries, but also how we live and how we interpret the content of our everyday life. There are various models of discourse that can be used to break down these things, and this is a fragment of my studies.

Why did you choose Klagenfurt to study? What do you like about Klagenfurt?

I chose Klagenfurt because so far, my degree programme in this form has only existed here and the range of subjects and topics is very broad. What I particularly like about Klagenfurt is that it is a comparatively small university and that people are very friendly with each other. Here, you are “not only” a matriculation number, but actually an active member of the seminars, degree programmes and institutes. The good thing is that you get to know a lot of people over time and can always exchange ideas. The atmosphere is very pleasant and, of course, the Wörthersee right next door is also a plus!

Why should one study here?

Because, as I said, you are not just one number on an endless list of students, but an active participant.

What do you look forward to when you arrive at the university?

I look forward to the fellow students with whom you can share a coffee after the seminar or go to the cafeteria and to interesting courses, in which you are always actively involved, together.

What would be important advice for AAU freshers?

You should not be afraid of new things, be open-minded and enjoy facing new challenges, even if they may seem intimidating, especially at the beginning of your studies.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? In which field do you want to work?

I see myself as a happy, inquisitive person who is working towards her goals and is growing with them. Professionally, I see myself in the field of art and culture. Whether in a gallery, a museum, working on a research project or in a university, I leave myself open, since one often takes unforeseen paths, you were not aware of before.


  • My first day at UNI was… “bourdieu-heavy”.
  • My greatest lecture experience… a gender seminar on “Game of Thrones”.
  • My university is… colourful and diverse
  • My student life does not work without… my student friends
  • I am inspired by… enthusiasm in all forms
  • My studies in 3 words… creative, exciting, visual