School of History, Art History and Philosophy

Art History

School of History, Art History and Philosophy internal website

Information for current staff and students

Welcome to Art History

We believe that the study of Art History can open up unique ways to learn about past cultures, society, and the highest achievements of human endeavour. 

Understanding works of art requires diverse skills and knowledge. Art Historians consider how works of art are produced, viewed and owned, how art acquires meanings, and how ideas and beliefs are visually communicated. They also explore works of art in relation to broader topics ranging from religion and philosophy to politics and economics.

We have an international reputation for our pioneering work and radical approach to Art History. For fifty years, we have been at the forefront of the discussion and analysis of works of art and their wider cultural contexts. Undergraduate teaching draws on our world-leading research, ensuring our students are the first to be exposed to ideas that will change understandings of Art History in the future. 

Our teaching spans from the classical to the contemporary, and explores works of art produced in a wide variety of media. We have particular strengths in Renaissance Art and Society, Byzantine Art, Eighteenth-Century Art and Culture; Modern and Contemporary Visual Culture, Feminist Art History, Photography, and Curating. 

Our international reputation plays out through our rankings: we are currently placed third in the UK for research and received 100% for overall satisfaction and teaching in the most recent National Student Survey.

Our students benefit from the department’s exceptional links with museums, galleries and collections. We run an annual staff exchange with the V&A, and our research regularly informs exhibitions at institutions such as Tate, the Barbican, and the Science Museum. The undergraduate and postgraduate degrees make full use of these links with regular trips and visits playing an important part in the learning experience. 

Sussex students have regular and direct contact with a wide range of artists, curators and academics. Every week, leading figures give talks, screenings and master-classes, providing our students with vital opportunities to stay in close touch with events and discussions unfolding in the art world. You will also benefit from Brighton’s distinctive and world-renowned arts culture.

Our courses are both intellectually rigorous and geared towards preparing students for future employment. Sussex ranks fourth in the country for employability. 90% of our students go into work or further study six months after finishing their degree.