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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : History of Art

Undergraduate Course: The Aesthetics and Politics of Contemporary Art (HIAR10065)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryWhat are the narratives that define contemporary art? The course will seek to answer this two-part question by examining five specific issues of exemplary relevance to the many and complex practices comprising the field of contemporary art. These five issues are: 1. The Rise and Fall of Postmodernism. 2. The End of Art? 3. The Turn to the Moving Image. 4. The Aesthetics and Politics of the Everyday. 5. Globalisation and the Critical Interpretation of the Contemporary. We will devote one to two weeks to each of these issues and consider in particular the intersection of (art) practice and theory alongside the relationship of aesthetics and politics. In general, the course does not attempt to prioritise specific media but is structured around concepts and ideas that play an important role in defining or challenging our understanding of contemporary practice. In the course of examining these concepts and ideas, we shall have the opportunity to reflect on a range of topical issues such as artistic labour, the post-medium condition, technology, documentation, feminism, socially engaged practice, economy and art etc.

For Week 1 you are asked to think of an artist (or artist collective) whose work exemplifies, in your view, Contemporary Art Practice. The questions you should begin thinking about are:
a) what is it that makes this work Contemporary
b) given your knowledge of art history so far, if and how Contemporary Art Practice relates to practices of the past. Prior to starting the course, you are strongly advised to read:

Julian Stallabrass, Contemporary Art: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press 2006.

The chapter by S. Edwards and G. Day, Global Dissensus: Art and Contemporary Capitalism in S. Edwards and P. Wood, eds, Art & Visual Culture 1850-2010: Modernity to Globalisation, Tate 2013.
Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: History of Art 2 (HIAR08012) OR Architectural History 2A (ARHI08002) AND Architectural History 2B (ARHI08003)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  20
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Formative Assessment Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1 x 24 hour online examination paper (50%) and 1 extended essay of 2,500 words(50%).
Feedback For this course there is one piece of formative assessment. All students are asked to write a short (500 words) critical response to one of the course¿s set texts (essential, recommended or further). This need not be academically referenced. This should be submitted via the Formative Feedback folder on Learn by 5pm, Monday of Week 5.

Feedback will be offered both via TurnItIn and during an optional 10-minute one-to-one feedback session during Week 6. A sign-up sheet for this will be circulated in Week 5.

Formative Assessment does not count to your final grade/mark but is used to support your learning. Feedback on formative assessment is designed to help you learn more effectively by giving you feedback on your performance and on how it can be improved and/or maintained.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)24 hour online examination paper0:05
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Have acquired knowledge of a body of work, key concepts and themes as well as theoretical approaches relating to contemporary art.
  2. Have an understanding of contemporary art as a complex field articulated across both theory and practice, and not free from contradictions that historians and artists are tasked with identifying and reflect on critically.
  3. Be familiar with art history of the contemporary as a field defined by informed debate pertaining to social issues and the critical examination of which often requires an exchange with other disciplines.
  4. Have an understanding of how issues of periodisation pertain to the construction of ¿the contemporary¿ in art.
  5. Have knowledge of a corpus of images and texts of relevance to the field of contemporary art and have acquired the skills to engage in the critical analysis of texts and images both orally, through participation in seminars, and in writing.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Angela Dimitrakaki
Course secretaryMrs Sue Cavanagh
Tel: (0131 6)51 1460
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