School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies
The Leeds name is most often associated with the intellectual developments which took place under the head-ship of T.J. Clark in the late seventies and early eighties, in which a politically and theoretically engaged social history of art challenged the hegemonic model of connoisseurial art history then prevalent in the academy. This work took place alongside the evolution of new formations in art practice, which in contrast to the then received wisdom recognised that art practice took place in history and in the presence of theory.
In the nineties the School built on its position as a space for avant-garde art history and theory-practice to open the study of the visual onto a wider set of theoretical developments taking shape around the inter-disciplinary inquiry into questions of culture. Since this time the Centre for Cultural Studies has made a profound contribution to the development of these debates. Cultural Studies here turns the axis away from a too-easy and exclusive attention to the popular, orienting its inquiry along a double braid of history and theory.
The unique set of intellectual relations which constitute the School was recognised as playing an important role in the development of visual and cultural studies with the receipt from the Arts and Humanities Research Council of the largest grant ever awarded to a single School in the Humanities in the UK to found the AHRB Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory and History.
What you study
Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, 'handson' experience of specific collections, and a supervised negotiated work placement. As a part of the degree students are encouraged to build a portfolio of project work to support future job applications. The programme has close links with a number of important institutions both in the city and the region. Course tutors include professional curators and educationalists. Previous students have completed placements at a wide variety of museums, art galleries and heritage organisations including Leeds City Art Gallery, Harewood House, the Henry Moore Institute, Bradford Museum of Photography, Film and Television, the National Railway Museum, York City Art Gallery, Impressions Gallery, Fairfax House, Lotherton Hall, Abbey House Museum and the Royal Armouries.