BA Art History and History

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Art Spaces

Course unit fact file
Unit code AHCP10051
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course considers the spaces that have mediated artworks from the early modern period to the present. We will examine institutions of production, distribution and reception,from the museum, the academy, the studio, the biennial, to textual or virtual spaces of print,broadcast and digital media.We will focus on the critical conditions in which institutions organise and replicate knowledge and relate their systems and practices to wider social forces and process.


This course aims to produce a close reading of the history of institutions where art has been made, collected or exhibited from the early modern period to the present day. This arrangement enablestudents tou nderstand how institutions participate in the production of the meaning and value of artworks in different cultural and historical contexts.


Lectures and seminars are divided into blocks where the following themes may be considered:  

The City  

Public Art  

The Studio  

The Exhibition  

Art Education  

Art Market  

Art Societies and Art Networks 

Knowledge and understanding

· Demonstrate a general knowledge of the institutions that have mediated artworks from the early modern period to the present day.

· Demonstrate a critical understanding of how institutions participate in the production of the meaning and value of artworks.

· Demonstrate an understanding of art spaces though engagement with relevant case studies.

Intellectual skills

· Critically consider the relation between artworks and their places of production, distribution and reception.

· Relate artistic developments of the period to broader patterns of historical and cultural change.

· Summarise what is distinctive about historical and critical materials.

· Think independently and imaginatively by reflecting on the nature of art history as a discipline.

Practical skills

  • Present research engagingly and coherently
  • Work collaboratively with peers and participate fully in class discussions
  • Seek and accept feedback from other students and the course tutor, and use this feedback to reflect on and improve one’s performance
  • Recall and rework  information and arguments in coursework

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Work alone or collaboratively
  • Meet deadlines and take responsibility for one’s own work
  • Express ideas clearly in written and spoken form
  • Use IT resources for research and communication

Assessment methods

Critical Report Plan  0%
Critical Report  40%
Essay 60%


Feedback methods

  • Written feedback on critical report plan, critical report, and essay
  • Additional one-to-one feedback (during consultation hour or by making an appointment)

Recommended reading

  • Altshuler, Bruce (ed.), Salon to Biennial, London, 2008
  • Bennett, Tony, The Birth of the Museum, London, 1995
  • Berger, John, Ways of Seeing, Harmondsworth, 1972.
  • Duncan, Carol, Civilizing Rituals: Inside Public Art Museums, London and New York, 1995
  • Goldstein, Carl, Teaching Art: Academies and Schools form Vasari to Albers, Cambridge, 1996
  • Mitchell, W. J. T. (ed.), Art and the Public Sphere, Chicago, 1990
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus, Academies of Art, Oxford, 1940
  • Preziosi, Donald, and Claire Farago (eds), Grasping the World: the idea of the museum, Aldershot, 2004
  • Siegel, Jonah, Desire and Excess, Princeton, 2000

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Seminars 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Charles Miller Unit coordinator

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