Art and Society

University of Westminster

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Art and Society

  • Host University

    University of Westminster

  • Location

    London, England

  • Area of Study

    Architecture, Art History, European Studies, Media Studies, Photography, Studio Art, Visual Arts

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • UK Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview


    Site: Central London
    Level: 4
    Assessment: 100% coursework

    This module is an introduction to the visual culture of London, including painting, architecture, photography and contemporary media. Students will visit the major art galleries to examine how art works and cultural practices can be understood within wider social and cultural contexts. The sessions also include a study of museum displays and historical sites, such as the British Museum and St Paul?s Cathedral. The classes will explore how these institutions reveal the complex cultural identity and history of London. The module develops students? skills in visual analysis and critical thinking about culture. [£40 required to cover the cost of special exhibitions.]

    The module is designed to:
    * Examine how London can be explored though its cultural resources
    * Examine some of the main periods and movements in the history of fine art that can be seen in London;
    * Examine how museums and galleries can explore the cultural, social and political contexts of London
    * Develop skills in the reading and analysis of visual texts;

    On successful completion of the module, the student will be able to:
    * Demonstrate ability to make a visual analysis of works of art
    * Demonstrate an understanding of some of the main movements in the history of the visual arts
    * Demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which historical displays and sites can be related to a political, social or cultural context
    * Discuss the role of London as a cultural centre.
    * Develop appropriate skills in academic presentation and writing.

    * Iconic buildings and national heritage: St Paul?s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey
    * Enlightenment and the birth of the museum collection: the British Museum and Sir John Soane Museum
    * Looking at master paintings: the National Gallery
    * Multi-cultural London: the representation of race, gender and sexuality in art and culture C17th ? C21st
    * Impressionism and Post-Impressionism: the Courtauld Gallery
    * Modernism and Post-Modernism in architecture and the fine arts.
    *Tate Modern: a contemporary art museum for the 21st century
    * How museums represent historical narratives: The Museum of London

    *The module is taught in an intensive mode over three weeks during the Summer School.
    * Class sessions include lectures, seminars, site visits and group work.
    The assessment is designed to give students the opportunity to develop skills in the reading of visual texts, to develop contextual arguments, and to relate primary and secondary material.
    * The group presentation aims to enable them to demonstrate their analytical and reflective skills within the context of teamwork.
    * The essay aims to enable them to produce a researched and academically developed piece of work.
    Detailed assessment criteria are given in the handbook.
    The assignments will be assessed on the ability of the students:
    * to discuss a range of material
    * to reflect upon their responses to individual works of art
    * to contextualise the examination of visual material to cultural and historical contexts
    * to develop coherent arguments

    Group presentation 25%
    Essay (2500 words) 75%

    Required Reading
    (Chapters will be selected from the following texts)
    Michael Archer Art Since 1960 London: Thames & Hudson, 2002
    David Britt Modern Art: Impressionism to Post-modernism, London: Thames and Hudson, 1999
    Ann Saunders The Art and Architecture of London London: Phaidon Press, 1994
    Andrew Wilton Five Centuries of British Painting London: Thames & Hudson, 2002
    Further Reading
    David S. Bindman Hogarth London: Thames & Hudson, 1985
    Roger Dixon & Stefan Muthesius Victorian Architecture London: Thames & Hudson, 1985
    Fiona Donovan Rubens and England New Haven CT: Yale University Press, 2004
    James Hall Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art London: John Murray, 1974 / Boulder Colorado: Westview Press, 2007
    Timothy Hilton The Pre-Raphaelites London: Thames & Hudson, 1993
    Richard Humphreys The Tate Britain Companion to British Art London: Tate Publications, 2002

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.


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