BA Art History and English Literature

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
European Art History Fieldtrip

Unit code AHCP20701
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Art History and Cultural Practices
Available as a free choice unit? No


Engagement with the artwork (painting, sculpture, building, mosaic, textile etc.) is central to the study of art history.

The focus of this unit is a fieldtrip held during Week 5 (Reading Week) of Semester 1 to a major foreign cultural centre. The destination of the fieldtrip will vary from year to year (e.g. Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, Rome, Florence). Students will study the major collections in the city (e.g. the Louvre [Paris], the Vatican museums [Rome]) as well as, for example, the architecture of the city, monumental sculpture, and church decoration.

Weekly lectures and seminars will be held in the lead-up to the fieldtrip in order to prepare students. During the fieldtrip classes will be held on site. On return, students will work with their tutors on a long essay based on further research into an artwork, building, collection or other appropriate area/subject encountered during the fieldtrip.

The cost of travel and accommodation will be covered by the department but students will be responsible for subsistence costs and should budget accordingly. Detailed advice will be made available to students before the end of Level 1.


  • To continue to develop an engagement with the artwork (painting, sculpture, building, mosaic, textile etc.) through on site observation and analysis, and through appropriate contextual reading and research  
  • To consider the conditions which have shaped the artistic and cultural heritage of the fieldtrip destination city
  • To encourage critical reflection on the ways in which the artwork is experienced in situ


Lecture and seminars will focus on aspects of the fieldtrip destination city such as: the history of the city, major collections, visitors’ experiences of the city.

The following is based on the example of a fieldtrip to Florence:

  • Florence as a city state
  • Florence capitale
  • The art of the religious orders
  • Vasari and the art of Florence
  • Florence and the Grand Tour
  • Ruskin in Florence
  • Florentine museums and galleries (Uffizi, Bargello, Pitti Palace)

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching processes:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • A fieldtrip providing the structured and intensive study of a city: its collections and museums, cultural life, architecture and monuments

Learning processes:

  • Completing guided and independent reading
  • Taking note and recording information, ideas, experiences relevant to the course unit
  • Completing a journal reflecting on the in situ learning experience of the fieldtrip

Researching, writing, and presenting the long essay, with the support of the course tutor/s

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate an basic understanding of the artistic and cultural heritage of the fieldtrip city
  • Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of specific aspects of the artistic heritage of the fieldtrip city including, but not limited to, museum collections, architecture, sculpture

Intellectual skills

  • Show an awareness of the ways in which the display/ positioning/ geographical location of the artwork affects our understanding and response to it
  • Relate secondary sources (articles, books etc.) to the study of the actual object and reflect critically on the process of researching artworks

Practical skills

  • Produce a reflective journal
  • Carry out research, before and after the fieldtrip, towards the extended essay
  • Present assessed work, including the extended essay, professionally

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Work independently
  • Work collaboratively and supportively to prepare for the fieldtrip and during the fieldtrip
  • Manage their time effectively
  • Behave professionally in class and during the fieldtrip
  • Carry out research for the long essay with the support and guidance of the course tutor/s

Assessment methods

Reflective journal

No prescribed length. The reflections may include descriptions, observations, sketches. 40%

Presentation (or equivalent)

800 words based on an object encountered during the fieldtrip. 10%

Long Essay

4,000 words. 50%

Feedback methods

  • Written feedback on reflective journal
  • Formative feedback during the preparation for the long essay
  • Written summative feedback on the long essay
  • Additional one-to-one feedback (during the consultation hour or by making an appointment)

Recommended reading

Please note that reading will be assigned on the basis of the fieldtrip destination. The following list is based on a fieldtrip to Florence.

Black, Jeremy, The British Abroad: the Grand Tour in the Eighteenth Century, London, 1992.

Borsook, Eve, The Companion Guide to Florence, revised edition, London, 1988.

Hibbert, Christopher, Florence. The biography of a city, Harmondsworth, 1993.

Murray, Linda, Michelangelo, London, 1980.

Origo, Iris, The Merchant of Prato, London, 1957.

Patridge, Loren, Art of Renaissance Florence, 1400-1600, Berkeley, 2009.

Ruskin, John, Mornings in Florence: Being Simple Studies of Christian Art for English Travellers, Orpington, 1875-77.

Vasari, Giorgio, The Lives of the Artists, trans. Julia Conaway Bondanella and Peter Bondanella, Oxford, 1991.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Fieldwork 15
Lectures 15
Project supervision 5
Independent study hours
Independent study 165

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Anthony Gerbino Unit coordinator

Additional notes

The course Blackboard site will include recommended readings, PowerPoint presentations used in lectures and seminars, resources pertaining to the fieldtrip.

Semester 1

Lecture: Thursday 3pm to 5pm

Seminars: Wed 9am to 10am or Thursday 12 noon to 1pm or 1pm to 2pm.

You may not choose your seminar group.

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