Art and Empire

Ref: C3741330

European imperialism has been an important feature of world history over the last 500 years. This course will explore the relationship between British imperialism and visual culture with particular emphasis on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. By drawing on a range of sources – including paintings, photographs and printed material – the course will explore how British artists, travellers and settlers across the Empire responded to the people and places they encountered, how their approach was influenced by their preconceptions, and what impact their work had back in Europe. Each session will be structured around a broad theme, and will involve the discussion of a range of relevant images and texts. Themes to be covered will include exploration, landscapes, the recording of historical events, imperial architecture, and depictions of colonised peoples and colonial societies.

Course aim

To consider a range of works of art associated with the British Empire in their social and historical contexts, investigating their role in recording and shaping contemporary attitudes and debates.

Who is the course for?

- No skills or experience needed

What topics will this course cover

- The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What will it be like?

WEA classes are friendly and supportive. You will be encouraged to work together with your fellow students and tutor. You will be asked to share your ideas and views in the class and work with the group to give and accept feedback in a supportive environment. The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you to be actively involved in your learning. You may be asked to undertake work to support your course outside of your class.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

How will I know I'm making progress?

- A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know, do or bring?

- Nothing else is needed

Reading and information sources

- No preparatory reading is required, but some suggestions for general reading include: Laurence James, The Rise and Fall of the British Empire (1995) P. J. Marshall (ed), The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire (1996)

What could the course lead to?

- Progress to another WEA course - Progress to a course with another provider

Download full course outline

Art and Empire Course Outline

Enrolment Conditions

You can enrol online if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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