BA Art History and French / Course details
Year of entry: 2021
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Art History is known for its strong interdisciplinary character. Students explore subjects, objects and texts from different cultures and different historical periods. Students benefit from our strengths in Renaissance Studies, Romanticism, modern and contemporary art, as well the intersections of art and science. Teaching takes place in a variety of formats, and many course units benefit from unrivalled access to The John Rylands Library and The Whitworth, which contain world-famous works by Bacon, Blake, Gauguin, Munch, Picasso, Rembrandt, Turner, Van Gogh and other major artists. Teaching is supported by cutting-edge research and we have been recognised as one of the top Art History Departments in the UK thanks to our research community.
On the Modern Languages side of the degree, students will study compulsory French units (the number of credits will depend on whether students are ab-initio or post-A-Level and whether they are studying European or non-European languages) and the study of the culture and history of a specific region. Teaching in these latter areas is characterised particularly by the historically and politically contextualised study of culture and cultural practices, including in literature, visual culture and music, with thematic focus on such issues as the environment, popular culture, gender, immigration and transnationalisms, and religion. Crucial here is the understanding of language skills being informed by intercultural awareness and cultural knowledge being mediated by linguistic skills.
In the first, second and final year students will follow core compulsory and optional introductory modules on both sides of the degree. In their final year students will also have the option of taking a dissertation on either side of the degree alongside their core language units and other optional units. Students will be allocated a dissertation supervisor according to existing procedures for the respective subject areas. Students will also be able to take one free-choice unit at levels 2 and 3, though they will not be required to do so.
In the third year of the degree, students will undertake a period of residence abroad according to the School's established residence abroad requirements and provision. It is likely that many students on this degree combination will want to undertake work placements with relevant organisations where possible; but students will also be able to take up the offer of a study placement at one of the existing partner universities in the region of study, or work as a British Council English-language assistant.
You can¿ study and/or work for up to a year in a country or countries relevant to your chosen language¿to improve your communicative language skills in a native-speaker environment.
Collaborations and partnerships
The University has links with language and cultural institutions across the city, including:
- Confucius Institute - a hub for Chinese culture
- Instituto Cervantes - a centre for Spanish culture
- HOME - international and contemporary art, theatre and film
- AllianceFrancaise- home of French language and culture.
Join The Francophone Society and benefit from French classes, discussion groups, cheese and wine nights, film screenings, themed socials, and a yearly trip to Paris.
The University is home to over 30 international and language-related student societies offering a breadth of cultural activities and experiences.
The Manchester Art Group, curates events, talks, exhibitions and trips, and aims to link up with contemporary art practice in Manchester and across the North West.You could also join Arts Emergency, which aims to encourage the production of a new generation of thinkers by highlighting the reversal of decades of social and educational access to arts and humanities, or the Whitworth Young Contemporaries Student Society , which brings together students who have an interest in the arts, culture and creativity to make the Whitworth part of students' academic, cultural and social life.
Course content for year 1
This is a foundation year that introduces key art historical concepts and methods of analysis and interpretation as well as skills in academic writing. It includes a substantial amount of gallery-based teaching.
In Year 1, you follow 2 weekly hours of grammar classes (post-A-level) or 4-5 weekly hours (ab initio), complemented by oral classes for conversation and fluency. Regular independent practice is paramount in order to progress well and fast. A compulsory module on `Modern French Identity' introduces you to 300 years of French history, politics and culture, alongside extracts of literature, cinema and other art forms.
Course content for year 2
Take a mix of core and optional course units. The objective is to provide you with a deeper understanding of theories and approaches in the study of art history, and a broad-based knowledge of both pre-modern and modern art, architecture and visual culture.
Build on the grounding established in Year 1, while getting prepared for the challenges of the year abroad (dedicated sessions on writing CVs and cover letters, and mock interviews for jobs in French).¿
Other course units¿are optional and broadly falling under three categories: literature, history and popular culture, or linguistics and translation. Topics include French literature (17 th century to the present), colonisation and exoticism, Francophone cinema, theatre, philosophy and contemporary popular culture.
Course content for year 3
Course content for year 4
Take seminar courses that allow you in-depth contact with a wide range of subjects (many of which are the specialist areas of the members of teaching staff). These `Option' courses are focused on an area of study defined by genre, artistic identity, medium or approach. They are taught in small groups and encourage participation and active learning.
Continue with your core language course for increased accuracy and sophistication, with regular practice in essay writing, translation, oral debate and presentations. You also choose additional cultural units that build on Year 2 study and relate to the research interests of staff members (representation of race and conflict, performance, gender, national identity, linguistic creativity across theatre, literature, cinema, poetry, popular music...). You can also write a dissertation on an approved topic of your choice.
The Manchester Museum and the Whitworth Art Gallery offer unique access to the environment of the working museum and art gallery, as well as to important works of art. The Whitworth is a major resource, and its outstanding collections of paintings, prints, textiles and wallpapers are used extensively in our teaching.
You can also explore original art in the city's famous galleries, such as the Lowry, Manchester Art Gallery and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art.
The main library provision is the University Library, one of the UK's top university libraries with arguably the best access to electronic resources of any library in Europe. This is one of the largest academic libraries in Britain and houses a Special Collections Department on Deansgate which contains a superb and diverse collection of manuscripts, illustrated books and other material relevant to Art History.
Art History students also enjoy a discipline-specific library in the same building as our department. It provides a pleasant and quiet working environment for students, with access to the most commonly used publications. A convenient and comfortable study environment, it also houses a very large, well-organised slide, video and computer-based image collection.Learn more on the Facilities page.