The relationship between fine art and colour has historically been ambivalent. Colour has habitually been devalued, dismissed and denigrated. Colour stands accused of being irrational, sensual, savage, feminine, vulgar and fraudulent. It has been said that ‘Colour is dangerous, or it is trivial, or it is both … colour is the corruption of culture.’ From Classical Antiquity, colour has routinely been seen as mere artifice, superficial make-up to the true beauty of line and the concerns of the intellect it represents. With the emergence of the avant-garde attitudes did change and with the birth of Minimalism, Pop Art and Postmodernism, colour is now everywhere, whether seen in paint, Perspex, photography or print, pure pigment, wax or video installations, bodily fluids or body art, colour can even be said to dominate. Or, does it? There yet lingers a suspicion that colour is not to be trusted. This course delves into the uses and meanings of colour, so why not join our colourful journey?

Course aim

The six-week course Colour provides an opportunity to explore the various uses and meanings of colour within the context of historical and contemporary visual culture.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • discuss a limited range of historical and contemporary socio-cultural issues and debates associated with the use of colour in visual culture, employing appropriate language and terminology
  • historically situate the origins and discourses surrounding the value of colour in art through the employment of suitable art terms and language
  • consider the contemporary use and meaning of colour from an informed historical perspective

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?

  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Writing materials will be required

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • A recommended reading list will be provided

What can I do next?

Download full course information sheet



As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • 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 2020
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact

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