Encountering the East: Orientalist Art

Ref: C2226779

Orientalism flowered in the nineteenth century as a direct result of colonial ambitions and long-distance travel which facilitated encounters with exotic peoples and places. This course will focus on European paintings, sculpture and literature that have been influenced by the arts and cultures of the East in order to identify and analyse Orientalism. During this course we will discover that the imagined East inspired European artists and artisans to create fantasies and visions that continue to shape cultural and political perceptions. As part of the course you will learn to identify Orientalist works of art and develop the analytical tools to interpret them. By the end of the course you will also be able to contextualise these art works and have a more informed understanding and nuanced appreciation of this genre of art and how it influences contemporary society.

Additional information about this course

Half term 17/02/2020

Course aim

This course will focus on art works that portray the Orient from a European perspective in order to understand how these fantasies and visions continue to influence our view of the East and shape our cultural and political relationships.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • accurately identify Orientalist art works
  • analyse an art work
  • critically engage with an art work
  • discuss art more confidently
  • express more clearly my thoughts and opinions on art by drawing on what I have learned

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?

  • 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
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information http://pearl.open.ac.uk/

Download full course information sheet

Encountering the East: Orientalist Art

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course has started and there are no online enrolment places available.


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 2019
  • 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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