As competing models for the study of art history proliferate, the MA History of Art at Leeds pursues interrogations into the formation of art history as an academic discipline. We aim to ensure that students encounter first-hand the texts and debates that reveal art history’s complex legacies, that they understand how art history has found itself increasingly figured
within a wider field of competing claims and knowledge formations, and that they are able to trace how contemporary problems (intellectual, political and institutional) bear on the ways art history is currently practised. The MA History of Art enables its students to understand how issues of practice, subjectivity, history, global politics, and memory have been constantly reframed, and provides opportunities for developing areas of special interest in greater depth.
12 months full-time; 24 months part-time
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
History of Art core course plus 3 options from the school's wide array. The dissertation, supported by formal research training, enables students to devise, research and write on a subject developed during the course of their study. The MA in the History of Art at Leeds prepares its students to undertake innovative, selfdirected research at both taught graduate and doctoral level. Leeds is well suited to students who are arriving at a more complex understanding of art and its histories, and who are seeking to develop their critical abilities within the stimulating context of a large community of active researchers and an exciting and challenging research culture.