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Art History

BA (Hons)
Art History
3 years (full-time)
UCAS 2W33

Artists have responded to the modern world in many imaginative ways that have changed how people view society. This course focuses on relationships between art and modern society through the study of artists, artworks and movements from the early 19th century to the present. You will be encouraged to engage in independent research and professional development using the many galleries of Manchester and the North West.

The programme addresses a diverse range of artists and movements in different places and times, as well as theoretical approaches to art history. The team delivering the course are research-active art historians, theorists and curators with expertise in art in the modern and contemporary period, curatorship and art practice. There are opportunities for national and international study trips, international Erasmus+ programme study abroad and the option to study a language.

Special Features

  • Delivered by research active art historians, theorists, and curators.
  • Opportunities to learn a foreign language and access the Erasmus international study programme.
  • Access to the regular Tuesday Talks of internationally acclaimed speakers organised by the Whitworth Art Gallery.
  • Opportunities for national and international study trips.
  • You will have the opportunity to take part in Unit X, an innovative unit offered to students across Manchester School of Art that encourages interdisciplinary study and collaboration on an external-facing project.

Course Content

BA (Hons) Art History focuses on the study of art between 1800 and the present day, framing developments in art practice during this period in terms of their social, cultural, and other contexts. The programme addresses a diverse range of artists and movements in different places and times as well as theoretical approaches to art history.

Year 1

In year 1 you will study the history of art during the modern period (1800-1950), by considering general relationships between art and society as well as specific movements and artists. You will also consider the meanings of images and objects and contexts for their use and display.

Art History and Visual Theory

The unit provides an introduction to approaches to art history and to visual theory through the exploration of art historical and as visual cultural examples.

Modern Art History: 1800-1950

The unit involves an introduction to modern art c.1800-1950, addressing  Romanticism, Realism, and Modernism in relation to modern life and modernity, and also considering different art historical approaches to art during this period. The unit aims to introduce students to the history of art during the modern period (c. 1800-1950) by considering general relationships between art and society as well as specific movements and artists.

Unit X

This unit  encourages collaborative, interdisciplinary practice and shared experience. There are lectures and talks from key research staff, students and external experts, tutorial group meetings, and presentations. The set projects will vary from year to year and will designed to be responsive to creative opportunities. The course encourages students to respond to contemporary media and as such, it is a live unit in which we discuss films, television, comics, games and the news relating to the media in any specific week.

Contextualising Practice 1

You are allocated to one of four pathways addressing programme-based clusters of cognate practice areas. Lectures, seminars, guest speakers, visits around cultural contexts and professional issues.

Contextualising Practice with Language 1

You are allocated to one of four pathways addressing programme-based clusters of cognate practice areas. The unit includes lectures, seminars, guest speakers, visits around cultural contexts and professional issues.

Year 2

In year 2 you will explore the development of art practice between 1950 and 2000, looking at the emergence and spread of new approaches to art and the development of new relationships between art and society during this period. You will also develop your interpretative skills by addressing approaches to the historical and critical interpretation of art and images.

Interpretations: Theories of Art History and Curating

The unit addresses key approaches, methods, and theories relevant to the interpretation of art and forms of visual culture. The unit will further introduce students to interpretative approaches, methods, and theories relevant to the study of art and visual forms, focusing primarily on the period 1950 to 2000. These approaches, methods, and theories will include: iconography and iconology, formalism, semiotics, phenomenology, Marxist approaches to cultural production, the social history of art, Foucauldian discourse analysis, Feminist approaches to art history,  picture theory, post-colonial theory, psychoanalysis and cultural geography.

Post War Art History: 1950-2000

The unit explores art c. 1950-2000 in different geographical locations, considering categories of art practice, artists and groups, political and social conditions, and art historical issues arising from the study of art during this period. Unit content will cover: the emergence of the United States as a key context for the international art world; relationships between art and the Cold War; the role of the avant-garde in the second half of the twentieth century; art and consumer society; the debate around art and Post-Modernism; the general proliferation of art practices from the 1960s onwards; relationship between art and politics, and relationships between art and the culture industry; issues around globalisation.

Unit X

This unit explores collaborative and interdisciplinary art and design practice.  You will have the opportunity to engage in a range of external-facing learning opportunities which will encourage collaborative, interdisciplinary practice and shared experience; this may take the form of spending time outside of the university and working within the creative community and the public domain.

Contextualising Practice 2

Delivery of critical, historical and professional issues to enhance your development within practice-based clusters. Delivery to clusters of cognate practice areas. Content consists of selected thematic options in critical and historical areas plus cluster-wide professional and employability issues, facilitating and enhancing the development of both studio-based work and identity as a practitioner.

Contextualising Practice with Language 2

Delivery of critical and historical issues to enhance the student's development within practice-based clusters.  Content consists of selected thematic options in critical and historical areas facilitating and enhancing the development of both studio-based work and identity as a practitioner. Modes of delivery include lectures, seminars, tutorials, guest speakers, visits and placements.

Year 3

In year 3 you will examine range of art practices that have been developed between 2000 and the present-day, considering old and new mediums and both traditional and new ways of displaying contemporary art. You will also reflect upon the contexts within which art (both historical and contemporary) is produced, seen, interpreted and circulated.

Contemporary Art: 2000-the Present

The unit looks at a range of art practices that have been developed between 2000 and the present-day, considering old and new mediums and both traditional and new contexts for the display and circulation of contemporary art. The unit will consider contemporary art practice (c. 2000-present) in relation to the areas of painting, sculpture, public art, installation and site-specific work, lens-based practices, digital art, participation, relational aesthetics, and activist art. The aim of the unit is to explore the technical and aesthetic forms of these practices as well as their discursive, institutional, professional, political, global, and ethical contexts and ramifications.

Framings: the Contexts of Art

The unit will examine a range of institutional contexts and discourses related to the production, circulation, interpretation, and valuing of art between the early nineteenth century and the present, with a particular focus on institutional structures relevant to contemporary art since the late twentieth century. These will include the nineteenth century academies, the art market, the art museum, avant-garde formations and alternative display sites, the art magazine, and digital cultures. These different subjects will be addressed in terms of relationships between discourses, sites, practices, and agents. The unit will encourage critical reflection upon the place of art within socio-cultural structures and upon the roles of art institutions and art professionals.

Independent Research Project

The unit enables you to develop a research methodology and theoretical framework through which to identify, organise, and interpret primary research material related to a number of cases studies.

Unit X

On the third year Unit X, there is a student authored final project leading to a showcase of finished work. The unit includes a brief generated by the student, which leads to the presentation of a significant body of final work. Collaborative and interdisciplinary work can be incorporated into the project in relation to the professional context and ambition of the student.

Assessment Methods

End of unit course work assessments including: projects, essays, blogs, and group work. Ongoing formative assessment and feedback.

Assessment Weightings & Contact Hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A three year degree qualification typically comprises 360 credits (120 credits per year). The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be—

Study
  • Year 1 20% lectures, seminars or similar; 80% independent study
  • Year 2 20% lectures, seminars or similar; 80% independent study
  • Year 3 20% lectures, seminars or similar; 80% independent study
Assessment
  • Year 1 100% coursework
  • Year 2 100% coursework
  • Year 3 80% coursework; 20% practical

You can find further details about the curriculum in the Programme Specification Document

Staff


Dr Simon Faulkner and Israeli artist David Reeb collaborate to produce innovative new book

Art History lecturer publishes book on Rural Modernity, Everyday Life and Visual Culture

Graduates

This course is appropriate for careers in a range of cultural roles e.g. art historian, curator, art writer/journalist, arts manager, teacher, archivist, as well as being appropriate for postgraduate study.

Making an Application

How to Apply

Apply through UCAS.

You will be notified of our decision through UCAS.

Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff Points/Grades Required112-120.

Minimum 112 - 120 at A2 or equivalent (which can include Foundation Diploma in Art & Design). A Level General Studies is not accepted.

Specific GCSE Requirements

GCSE English Language at grade C or grade 4. Equivalent qualifications (eg. Functional Skills) may be considered

Non Tariffed Qualifications

112-122 UCAS Tariff Points from Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject with at least 45 credits at Level 3

International Baccalaureate26 Points

International Students

A minimum IELTS score of 6.0 with no element below 5.5 is required.

Check our MMU International site for further information if you are applying with non-UK qualifications.

Tuition Fees 2017 Entry

UK, EU and Channel Island students

UK, EU and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £9,250 per year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government approval, and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy.

Non-EU international students

Non-EU international students: Full-time fee: £14,100 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A degree typically comprises 360 credits, a DipHE 240 credits, a CertHE 120 credits, and an integrated Masters 480 credits.

See Money Matters for further information and advice.

Additional Costs

Specialist Costs

Optional £500* Students often choose to buy their own laptop in their first year. However there are computer facilities on campus. £200-£800

Trips and Placement Costs

Optional £1,140* Educational visits to European centres during each year. These are optional and if related to a unit of study, local alternatives are identified.

Professional Costs

There are no additional professional membership fees required for full qualification.

Other Costs

£150*  plus optional £300* Books and digitised readings are available from the library. However you will be required to purchase a small number of core books. There will also be some costs associated with printing (core and optional).

* All amounts shown are estimates.

Find out more about our Art School Credit scheme that you can use to help pay for materials needed on the course.