To offer a varied and flexible introductory postgraduate curriculum involving some study at undergraduate level across the field of Art History and Theory. To provide the opportunity for an in-depth understanding of aspects of art history from Pre-Columbian art and architecture to the present day, with knowledge informed by some advanced work in the field. To develop in students the research skills appropriate to the study of visual artefacts, and to art history as a field of study, and to provide the basis for them to develop the necessary levels of skill and knowledge required to progress to masters degree level. To develop understanding of interpretative methods and forms of questioning appropriate to visual artefacts To encourage both critical engagement with and enjoyment of the visual arts, particularly through first-hand observation. To provide the knowledge and skills (critical inquiry and argument, imaginative understanding, written, spoken and visual interpretation, communication and presentation) that will not only stand students in good stead for more specialised academic careers, but will also enhance their opportunities for employment in a wide range of other careers.
The Graduate Diploma in Art History and Theory offers students an introduction to postgraduate-level study in art history and theory, for students who do not have appropriate undergraduate preparation for embarking on an MA course, or for those whose training has been in a language other than English. Students will follow two undergraduate modules and two MA modules and complete the appropriate coursework. Successful students may then apply for admission to an MA scheme in the normal way.
Modules and Options
The lists of modules below represent the range of options available for each year of study. This may not be a complete list of the options you will study, and may be subject to change, so please contact the department for further details.
A MIRROR OF NATURE: ART IN THE NETHERLANDS FROM JAN VAN EYCK TO VERMEER
A PERFECT STATE? ART IN THE NETHERLANDS IN THE 17TH CENTURY
ARCHITECTURE IN PIECES: THE AESTHETICS OF DECAY AND DESTRUCTION
ART AND FILM: THE MOVING IMAGE
ART AND IDEAS
ART AND THEORY IN THE SPANISH GOLDEN AGE
ART IN THE UNITED STATES: FROM MODERNISM TO POSTMODERNISM
ART, ARCHITECTURE AND NATIONAL IDENTITY IN THE SPANISH GOLDEN AGE
ART, POLITICS AND ETHICS: FROM BEUYS TO BOURRIAUD
CONTEMPORARY ART: 1980 TO THE PRESENT
Core: GRADUATE DIPLOMA PROJECT
CUBISM: MATERIALISM AND METAPHYSICS
DECADENTS, IMPRESSIONISTS AND VORTICISTS: BRITISH ART 1870-1914
ENGENDERING DESIRE: SURREALISM, SEX AND ART
EXPERIMENTAL CINEMA IN THE DIGITAL AGE
FROM THE SUBLIME TO THE RIDICULOUS: NETHERLANDISH PAINTING FROM VAN EYCK TO BRUEGEL
HISTORY AND IDENTITY IN LATIN AMERICA
INDIGENOUS ART IN THE COLONIAL WORLD: MEXICO AND THE ANDES
INTRODUCTION TO MAYA HIEROGLYPHIC WRITING I
INTRODUCTION TO MAYA HIEROGLYPHIC WRITING II
LATIN AMERICAN ART AND ARCHITECTURE
LIFE AND DEATH IN PRE-COLUMBIAN AMERICA
MAGICAL LOOKING: THE MARVELLOUS AND THE MONSTROUS FROM THE RENAISSANCE INTO SURREALISM
PHOTOGRAPHY DEGREE ZERO: ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY 1960 TO THE PRESENT
PRE-COLUMBIAN ART AND ARCHITECTURE
REPRESENTING OTHERS IN 18TH CENTURY ART
ROMANTICS AND SUPERMEN: FRENCH PAINTING 1819-1851
SACRED LOOKING: PROPHECY, PENITENCE AND POLITICS IN RENAISSANCE ART
THE ART OF SUBVERSION: DADA AND SURREALISM
THE GOLDEN AGE OF SPANISH ART AND ARCHITECTURE
THE RENAISSANCE IN TUSCANY
THE TURN OF THE CENTURY: ART NOUVEAU TO ABSTRACTION
TRASHING TASTE I: THE POLITICS OF URBANISM AND DESIGN 1960-1970
Teaching and Assessment Methods
A: Knowledge and Understanding
A1 : A range of visual art from the Early Renaissance to the present day, including theoretical issues that have been central to the Western European tradition in visual art.
A2 : The relationships of works of visual art to the broader cultural context.
A3 : (in greater depth) one or more artists, exhibitions, places, theoretical texts and/or forms of European visual art, or of Pre-Columbian Art and Latin America
A4 : Some substantive areas of current research in Art History and Theory
A5 : The methods of critical analysis and argument appropriate to visual artefacts
A6 : The concepts, values and debates that inform study and practice in the field
A.1-6 are acquired through lectures, classes and module seminars and related coursework (with regular feedback, both oral and written, from tutors).
Students are expected to extend and enhance the knowledge and understanding they acquire from seminars by regularly consulting library or archival materials related to the course, or in order to provide wider context. This independent research is consolidated in essay work.
Assessment of students' knowledge and understanding takes place through coursework essays (three 2-3000 word essays per undergraduate course, and one 4-5000 word essay or equivalent for the postgraduate modules). Learning outcomes A3-6 are also assessed through the graduate diploma project of 4-5000 words.
B: Intellectual/Cognitive Skills
B1 : Analyse a given body of material, breaking it down into component points or parts and highlighting the most significant among them.
B2 : Synthesise evidence, arguments or ideas from different sources productively
B3 : Reason critically and offer judgements based on argument
B4 : Think independently and with an open-mind, sometimes making connections between familiar and new ideas or material
Intellectual and cognitive skills are practised in classes and module seminars, either in responding to or giving presentations on agreed topics. The seminar work encourages critical discussion arising from the analysis and interpretation of texts or visual artefacts with an emphasis on being able to reason cogently, argue coherently, present one's own viewpoint persuasively, and learn from others. The classes and seminars are intended as practice sessions for cognitive skills.
Students translate the skills acquired collectively into individually assessed essays.
C: Practical Skills
C1 : Visual Skills; including observation (including recognition of materials and techniques but also other aspects of works of visual art such as formal organisation or narrative structure), description (using ordinary as well as specialised language) and interpretation (recognising necesary differences between different forms of art, between language and visual art, making appropriate use of personal responses, relating works of visual art to historical and contemporary cultural context)
C2 : Research Skills: including use of appropriate methods to locate primary and secondary sources, and works of visual art
C3 : Critical Skills: including selection of relevant material, and appraisal of other people's arguments on the basis of familiarity with source materials and current literature
C4 : Writing Skills: including use of proper academic conventions, creating logical and structured narratives, and effective use of language to convey particular and general responses of readers or viewers to works of visual art, and to articulate conceptual issues
Undergraduate classes are structured around the study of particular texts or works, and sometimes involve student presentations using visual material. Discussion aims to cultivate in students awareness of the importance of C1 and C3. All postgraduate module teaching takes the form of seminars directed by a member of staff, but often developed in consultation with the students according to specific research interests in the group. Personal supervision is available to students in order to allow them to develop the topic for the essay in the relevant module. Considerable autonomy is encouraged in researching essays, the staff member aiming to assist in the formulation of research questions and in developing a strategy for answering them. All students are encouraged to attend the weekly Staff-Student Research Seminar, and to participate in debate on the topic presented.
All four skills will be assessed by essays and C2 is also assessed through the Graduate Diploma Project.
D: Key Skills
D1 : The ability to communicate information, arguments and ideas cogently and effectively in a range of different contexts using a range of different aids or resources; special ability to deploy visual material in a variety of media in the context of presentations or written work.
D2 : Students should be able to make use of IT for research purposes (including searchable databases such as library catalogues and internet sources). Word-processing is essential.
D3 : N/A
D4 : Students should be able to apply knowledge and understanding in order to make judgements and offer solutions in a range of contexts.
D5 : N/A
D6 : Students should have the ability to: work to briefs and deadlines; take responsibility for their own work; reflect on their own learning and performance and make constructive use of feedback; develop their work independently of guidance for extended periods.
Communication is developed through class and seminar discussion. Visual media skills are developed through personal instruction to students using slide projectors or DVDs/VCRs in class, and through drawing attention to the media whereby visual images are presented to us, both in terms of informing students but also developing a critical appreciation of the relationship between image and context in any medium. Students are expected to acquire IT skills based on some initial guidance. Students will be given the opportunity to work constructively and productively in groups, and be able to participate effectively in seminars. Most module seminars require students to present theories or historical material to the group, and to answer questions on the topic.
These skills are assessed through the essays, and D6 is also assessed through the Graduate Diploma Project.