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Course - Introduction to the Tate in London

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  • Course description
    What is the course about?

    When Tate Modern opened in 2000, Tate’s collection in London was divided between the new museum at Bankside and the original Tate Gallery at Millbank, then rechristened Tate Britain. Tate Modern was built to display the national collection of international modern and contemporary art, Tate Britain to concentrate on British art from the sixteenth century to the present day. This gallery-based course offers an introduction to both museums, focusing on different aspects of British, modern and contemporary art. The classes are designed around looking at and talking about specific works of art on display at the time the course is running.

    At Tate Britain meet at the Rotunda, by the information desks. At Tate Modern meet in the Turbine Hall, inside the main entrance.

    What topics will we cover?


    The course is divided equally between the two galleries. Weeks 1-5 are spent at Tate Britain looking at different types of British art. The tutor will select art from different parts of collection and introduce key concepts in the history of British art. Pictures by famous artists such as Turner, Constable and Hogarth will be included together with works by modern and contemporary British artists. We move to Tate Modern for Weeks 6-10. As at Tate Britain, we will focus on key works from the current display. Iconic examples of modern art by artists such as Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol will be included. This part of the course includes more time for the newer types of art - video and installation – common in the contemporary art scene. At both museums, we will also visit the current temporary exhibitions.

    By the end of this course you should be able to:

    • Recognise different styles and types of British art
    • Recognise different styles and types of modern and contemporary art
    • Describe works of art in Tate Modern and Tate Britain and express an informed personal response
    • Talk about British art with greater confidence
    • Talk about modern and contemporary art with greater confidence

    What level is the course?


    The course is open to all. No prior knowledge of the subject is required.

    How will I be taught?

    Each week the tutor will select a small number of works from the current displays. These will be presented to the group and information supplied about the works, the artists, and the relevant aspects of art history. Group discussion comprises the main part of each class. The tutor will lead the discussion and ensure that all the students have their say. Personal and individual responses will be valued. The tutor will supply written notes and photocopies of relevant reading material.

    Are there any other costs (e.g. certification, materials, equipment or books I need to buy)?

    The course fees do not include entry into the paying temporary exhibitions. You may wish to buy some of the books on the reading list.

    What feedback will I get?

    All students complete a statement of learning form at the beginning and end of the course to assess their achievement. The tutor will provide informal feedback during class discussion. You will receive regular feedback from your tutor throughout the course, as and when appropriate. At the end of the course you and your tutor are asked to assess the progress you have made.

    Will I have a chance to give my views on the course?

    Yes, please complete the evaluation form at the end of your course. These are monitored and help us to continually improve our courses.

    When I've finished, what course can I do next?

    Many of the other art history courses at City Lit may interest you.

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