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

Undergraduate Course: Art History: Texts, Objects, Institutions, Part One (HIAR10159)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis is a compulsory course to be taken in the first semester of the third year by all single and combined honours students in History of Art, and all Fine Art students. It is designed to support your development of independent research skills and the writing of your independent Analytical Project(s). It is co-taught by a team of lecturers in History of Art, through a programme of regular one-hour lectures, supported by individual or small-group supervisions.
Course description Art History: Texts, Objects, Institutions, Part One offers an introduction to the study and analysis of the objects and institutions of art history. Lectures will focus on how to approach the analysis of different types of objects, including the analysis of form, materials and techniques, and how to investigate the social and historical meanings of objects. Lectures will also introduce the critical study of museums and galleries, the idea of 'institutional critique', and the study of curatorial strategies of display. A Part Two course in Semester Two (for single honours, some combined honours students and 4th year Fine Art students) will introduce the study of the writing of art history and art criticism.

The course allows you to frame your own area of investigation, this time through choosing a particular object, institution or display for close analysis. It is assessed by a 4,000 word Analytical Project, in which you will analyse your choice of EITHER:
An object (e.g. painting, sculpture, monument, illustrated manuscript or book, suite of prints or drawings, applied arts object, relic, etc.) from any period or geographical region (you are encouraged to think creatively about visual and material culture and what exactly constitutes an 'art object')
OR: A particular exhibition or museum display.

You should develop your project in consultation with an academic supervisor, who will meet with you in TWO supervisions of up to half an hour each and who will offer you feedback on your plan and bibliography. For those who need it, it will be possible to sign up for a THIRD supervision, towards the end of the semester, to discuss any problems or questions arising as you prepare to submit your project.

Throughout the course there is an emphasis on the development of individual research and study skills. You will be guided and advised by your supervisor to choose the focus for your Analytical Project, and supported by them in developing a list of key readings and resources. In this way, the course is designed to help you develop the independent study skills you need to prepare for your final-year dissertations.

For students taking this course whilst studying abroad (e.g., modern languages students), lectures are recorded and made available on-line, and supervisions are by email and/or Skype.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: History of Art 2 (HIAR08012)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements This course is only available to students on a History of Art Honours programme.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 History of Art courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College-level courses.
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 confidence and ability in developing your own independent research project through all stages from conception to completion.
  2. Acquire an informed and multi-faceted awareness of the element of institutional interpretation that necessarily informs viewers' encounters with works of art.
  3. Analyse art objects in ways that acknowledge divergent traditions of art-historical interpretation and the controversies that arise within these.
  4. Develop the scholarly and practical skills associated with more independent forms of study such as the undergraduate dissertation. This includes skills such as time management, compiling a bibliography, the effective use of library and online resources, as well as the process of selecting and evaluating sources.
Reading List
Donald Preziosi, The Art of Art History: A Critical Anthology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.
Grant Pooke and Diana Newall, Art History: The Basics. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2008.
Wilfried Van Damme et al, eds, World Art Studies: Exploring Concepts and Approaches. Zurich: Begriffe, 2011.
Hans Ulrich Obrist, A Brief History of Curating (Zurich: JRP/Ringer, 2008).
Anthony Gardner and Charles Green, Biennials, Triennials and Documenta: The Exhibitions that Created Contemporary Art (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016).
James Voorhies, Beyond Objecthood: The Exhibition as a Critical Form since 1968 (MIT, 2017).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Critical analysis
Independent research
Organisation and planning
KeywordsHistory of Art,Objects,Curating,Museums and galleries,Research,Independent study
Course organiserDr Tamara Trodd
Tel: (0131 6)51 3120
Course secretaryMrs Sue Cavanagh
Tel: (0131 6)51 1460
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