Writing Art History: Media, Society, Culture (V4155)

15 credits, Level 4

Spring teaching

Writing Art History examines the different ways in which works of art have been written about and discussed. It is not confined to the types of writing usually published in academic text books and journals. Instead, it considers how the discipline of Art History shapes, and is shaped by, numerous forms of written and visual communication, including television, exhibitions, journalism, film and aspects of digital culture.

The module is designed to develop your capacities to reflect critically on the multiple factors that inform art writing and to think about the ways in which different types of writing serve different purposes.

The module considers how key issues play out across different types of ‘text’: for example, how representations of artists vary across Hollywood film, monographic exhibitions and short articles published online; or the different ways in which the history of art has been represented through television series produced at different times or in different countries, and what they suggest about their broader cultural contexts.

Writing Art History takes in a broad range of issues, including: the discipline of Art History, artists' reputations, different types of historical narrative, value, ownership, museums and audiences.


100%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Essay, Professional log)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 128 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: