School of History, Art History and Philosophy

Art History

Frida Kahlo

Welcome to Art History

The Department of Art History at Sussex is a dynamic, friendly group of students, faculty and support staff. We have a long-standing reputation for innovative and interdisciplinary research. We offer a range of courses that aim to challenge you, lead you to think critically, and engage you with works of art.

We believe that Art History matters because in studying the art of a culture, you study all the aspects of that place and time, from its social life and history to its technologies and skills, its economic system to its religious beliefs. Understanding how images work is central to understanding how the world is portrayed and perceived.

Research and teaching in the department ranges from the Classical to the Contemporary. We believe in concentrating on the work of art as the first focus of study, using theory to enrich and inform understanding. Our work encompasses a wide range of media, materials and art forms, spanning  painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, the decorative arts, and other aspects of visual and material culture.  

We are interested in inter-disciplinary approaches to Art History. We are concerned with how the study of works of art can inform, and be informed by, work in other subject areas, including Literature, Politics, History, Philosophy and Economics

We enjoy strong relationships with local and national museums and galleries. Modules in each year of the BA degree enable you to study works of art in situ and in gallery settings, often with the input of a museum professional.

The art history lab is the centre of the department. It provides a space for undergraduates and postgraduates to consult catalogues, scan images and work both together and individually on projects. We also have a lively group of doctoral students who work on a range of topics.

The Department has an international reputation for our research and our teaching. In the latest National Student Survey (NSS), our students rated our teaching first among the Russell and 94 Groups of universities. Art History at Sussex was rated in 3rd in the UK in the 2008 Research and Assessment Exercise (RAE). We ranked 2nd in the UK for 4* world-leading research.