What Do Art Historians Do?

Ref: C3743033

Using practical examples, this course will introduce some traditional art historical approaches, such as connoisseurship and iconographic and biographical methods, and consider the impact of twentieth-century ideas such as formalism and structuralism, feminism and post-colonialism. How can these methodologies affect the way we look at works of art? It is intended that one session will consist of a gallery visit to London.

Course aim

To introduce students to some of the different approaches that have been used by art historians, and to explore what insights these different methodologies can offer into works of art.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

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

  • Think critically about the ways in which cultural artefacts are discussed and evaluate the impact of this.
  • Engage with a diverse range of approaches that have been used in the study of art and express an opinion on one of them.
  • Consider artworks in the context of a range of art historical methodologies and evaluate the significance of this on their impact.

How will I be taught?

  • 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 kind of feedback can I expect?

  • Verbally in response to questions and discussions in class.

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No preparatory reading is required. Some suggestions for general reading include: Marita Sturken and Lisa Cartwright, Practices of Looking (2001) Matthew Rampley (ed) Exploring Visual Culture (2005)

What can I do next?

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

Download full course information sheet

What Do Art Historians Do?


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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