Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Art and Visual Culture (A)
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Seminar presentation (15%)  15%
Semester Assessment Illustrated essay (3000 words) (35%)  35%
Semester Assessment Illustrated essay (5000 words) (50%)  50%
Supplementary Assessment As above  100%

Brief description

Academic rationale This module introduces students to key theoretical and historical issues in the production of art in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century and to concepts that are essential for the understanding of the media, materials and practices of art. It considers some of the theoretical positions that offer modes of analysis and that have challenged traditional views of art and art history. The module is Core for MA Art History students who will be taught alongside students on the MA Fine Art. It aims to develop knowledge of essential concepts, texts, media, artists and works and to encourage discussion, argument and the clear communication of ideas and to afford an opportunity for art historians to interact with art practitioners. It presents an opportunity to develop an understanding of current theoretical positions in relation to more traditional art historical approaches particularly in relation to histories of European and American Modernism c.1900-1970 and invites reflection upon, and reference to, those histories.

Brief Description: The module offers a discussion and study forum for the first semester of the MA in Art History in the School of Art. It sets the practice of contemporary art and writing about art in the context of concepts of visual culture. It enables students to consider debates in cultural theory in relation to aspects of visual art. Key topics include the concepts of visual culture, material culture, personal and national identity, production and consumption, new technology, and contemporary exhibiting and institutional structures. Each student gives one presentation, of 20 minutes in length, on an agreed topic to the seminar group during the course. In addition Art History students have an opportunity for further discussion and presentation of ideas in tutorials which lead to further assessed work (set out in Section D:4, below)


The module aims to:
1 encourage an understanding of contemporary art in its wider cultural contexts
2 afford an opportunity to art history students to consider art history and theory in relation art practice
3 simulate research and reading in critical literature on contemporary art
4 stimulate informed discussion of art theory
5 encourage the development of oral presentation skills
6 encourage written discussion of visual art and theory


Module programme:
Introduction to methodological approaches: Provides an overview of a variety of theoretical positions that have challenged traditional views of art and art history and surveys the topics selected for seminar discussion and student presentaton.
Cultural Studies/Visual Culture/ Material Culture : Examines different concepts and meanings of ‘culture’ and in particular what might constitute visual culture, material culture and their relationship to art practice.
Institutions and Organisations: Discusses the role of educational institutions, governmental organisations, museum and galleries in structuring and supporting (or otherwise) art and visual culture.
Production and Consumption: Considers different ways of conceptualising the production and consumption of visual culture; cultural producers and artists, viewers and buyers, culture and commodity.
New Technology: Studies the role of technology in the expanding range of visual practices: video art, art on the internet, information overload, art marketing.
Postcolonial Culture: Discusses what is meant by the term ‘postcolonial,’ questions a Eurocentric viewpoint and considers the notion of World Art. Performing the Self: Looks at the artist’s use of body and biography/autobiography, real or imagined, as subject.
Interrogating the Gaze: Examines notions of aesthetic pleasure in visual culture, questioning the politics of the act of looking and raising issues of gender in relation to the gaze.
Rethinking the Canon: Considers the ways in which artists challenge conventions of taste, value and representation especially those that have been approved of by inherited or traditional, institutional standards and traditions.
Globalisation and Cultural Identity: Considers the impact of concepts of global culture and national identity upon international contemporary as well as upon art and artists in Wales.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Improving own Learning and Performance
Information Technology
Personal Development and Career planning
Problem solving
Research skills On completion of this module, students should be able to: 1 situate the practices of contemporary art in wider cultural contexts 2 consider art historical writings in relation to these contexts 3 discuss key ideas in an informed way through an acquaintance with recent and formative literature 4 present images and offer informed arguments and interpretations using Powerpoint and/or other presentational methods 5 formulate discussions about visual art and theory in written texts accompanied by suitable research apparatus
Subject Specific Skills
Team work


This module is at CQFW Level 7