Information in the Degree Programme Tables may still be subject to change in response to Covid-19

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Art

Undergraduate Course: Materials and Techniques: Art History as Artistic Production (ARTX08081)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course offers students an introduction to Art History through materials, processes and techniques. The course will examine the relationship of a range of art practices and theories, in both delivery and content, as well as interdisciplinary links to Art History. Students will learn of the materiality of art, its physical qualities and the way artists have employed and developed methods and how these have helped define the histories of art practice.

The course will be delivered through practical workshops, studio crits and gallery visits focusing on particular techniques, processes, and materials. In this way the course will work to enhance both student's awareness of a range of art practices in the context of art history.
Course description The course considers the wide range of materials and techniques used in artistic practices. It invests this perspective of production as the basis for an introduction to Art History. Covering a wide time frame, from classical antiquity to the present day, and assuming a strongly cross-cultural approach, it shows students how the History of Art, and contemporary art practice, can be seen from the perspective of the materials and techniques that have constituted artistic production.

The course offers students a strong platform for intertwining theory and history with practice, and alongside lectures and seminars, there will be workshops, studio crits and gallery visits that focus on particular techniques, processes, and materials. In this way the course will work to enhance both student's awareness of art practice, in the context of art history, as well as awareness of the history of art through a perspective that continues to bear contemporary relevance.
Weekly classes will be structured around specific techniques and materials 'wood', 'etching', 'ink', 'chalk' and so on - rather than strict chronology or geographical framings. This will allow for a fluid academic experience, trans historical and cross-cultural - one that will appeal to students across the university as well as ensure a clear interface between the theoretical and the practical elements of the course.

Weekly breakdown (indicative).
The course will be delivered through a mix of lectures, seminars, gallery visits and practical workshops all led by a mix of staff from across different studio disciplines and History of Art.

1. Introductory lecture exploring the definitions and conceptual limits of the concept of 'materialism and the status of reflecting on material and technique in the context of contemporary art production.
2. Ink + workshop
3. Wax + workshop - in mold/cast room
4. Pigment + workshop - pigments/mixing pigments (painting)
5. Pastel/crayon/chalk + seminar/gallery visit
6. Formative assessment
7. Wood
8. Hand
9. Assemblage and found objects + experimental assemblage workshop
10. Performance and Sound + performance techniques
11. Some unorthodox materials in contemporary practice: milk, latex, plastic, cotton wool
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Students should expect to purchase approximately 20.00 worth of basic art materials.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate ability to contextualize contemporary art practice with respect to history of materials and techniques.
  2. Demonstrate familiarity with history of art and its chronology in terms of changing materials, and techniques.
  3. Articulate a critical position relative to current debates in contemporary art practice.
Reading List
Gerard Ward, Grove dictionary of materials and techniques in art, 2008
Nicholas Penny The Materials Of Sculpture, Yale, 1995
Meher McArthur Arts of Asia. Materials, techniques, styles, Thames and Hudson 2005
Henri Focillon The Life of Forms in Art Zone, 1989
Erma Hermans (ed) Looking through Paintings. Archetype Publications 1998
Charles Eastlake Methods and Materials of Painting.Dover Fine Art, March 2003
Rosalind Krauss A Voyage on the North Sea: Art in the Age of the Post-Medium Condition. London: Thames & Hudson, 2000
Glenn Adamson and Julia Bryan-Wilson Art in the making - artist and their materials Thames and Hudson 2016
Petra Lange-Berndt Materiality Whitechapel MIT 2015
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Research Skills, Organisational skills, Reflective and analytical skills, Knowledge of Art History and Production
KeywordsArt Materials,Artistic Production,Art History
Course organiserDr Kamini Vellodi
Tel: (0131 6)51 5800
Course secretaryMiss Clara Fraser
Tel: (0131 6)51 4164
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information