What you will study
The first part of this module is structured around the following four blocks, each utilising clusters of texts, images, and sound and vision in a similar way to MA in Art History part 1 (A843). The second part involves proposing, researching and writing the dissertation.
Block 1: Putting Standpoints into Practice
This block draws together issues from across MA Art History part 1 (A843) by exploring some ‘real world’ implications, focusing on controversies within the field of professional practice and the intersection between academic art history and other areas with which art historians engage. It completes the turn from the investigation of art history through art-historical writing (explored in A843) towards debates around the everyday practices of art history. You'll gain an awareness of professional practices in the field of art history and begin to envisage the possible implications of this for your dissertation research as well as potential career or community-related development. You'll be encouraged to discuss relevant experiences through online forums and tutorial activities. During your study of the block, you'll work on set texts and other sources, such as interviews and public documents related to the main, inter-related themes addressed by the following three blocks.
Block 2: The Image and its Publics
This block will use Jürgen Habermas’s notion of the public sphere to explore both individually and mass-produced images. It will pay close attention to the contexts of image-making: how and why images are created and circulated and how they are viewed. These issues will be considered in various historical contexts and in contemporary culture. The block will focus on how technological advancements alter the ways viewers engage with the original work of art and its reproductions. While Section 1 will provide a historical introduction to the reception and circulation of images, the later sections will examine the controversies that arose around issues of reproducibility in the age of mechanical reproduction, the advent of photography, and the role images play today in the digital age.
Block 3: Inhabiting Space
This block is informed by ‘the spatial turn’ in the humanities and will provide you with an in-depth analysis of three-dimensional design through exploring landscapes, buildings and interiors. It will introduce you to ideas of ‘space’ both as abstract form and as lived, everyday experience providing the spatial context of society and culture at various periods. It leads on from the previous block in examining issues of public and private but will extend the discussion from the context of print into that of the designed environment. The theme of how space is perceived and occupied according to gender will be a particular focus.
Block 4: Research in the Visual Arts
Drawing on the variety of ‘contexts’ presented in the module, the final block will bring together previous strands to extend the discussion of art history as a discipline beyond its traditional scope. More recent approaches have explored categories of the visual and material that have demystified the role of the artist and challenged the notion of what is an art object and who can produce art. The results of such practices will allow you to view visual and material culture as a broad field in which the categories of art include new media, reconsidered objects and makers, and art well beyond the gallery context.