BA Art History and History / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
European Art History Fieldtrip

Course unit fact file
Unit code AHCP20701
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


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

The focus of this unit is a fieldtrip held during reading week in semester 1 (normally the first week of November) to a major foreign cultural centre. The destination of the fieldtrip will vary from year to year (e.g. Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, Rome, Florence). In the event of ongoing travel restrictions due to the pandemic, the destination will be a UK city (e.g. Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast). 

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 willwork with their tutors on an 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.


Available on which programme(s)? Single and Joint Honours Art History and Cultural Practices


  • To continue to develop an engagement with the artwork  and its history (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. If overseas travel is affected by restrictions due to public health concerns related to the pandemic, suitable alternative arrangements may be provided.

Learning processes:  

  • Completing guided and independent reading  
  • Taking notes and recording information, ideas, experiences relevant to the course unit  
  • Researching, writing, and presenting the essay, with the support of the course tutor/s  


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

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate a 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 and collection history, 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

  • 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

Assessment Task Formative or Summative Length Weighting within unit (if relevant)
Presentation with handout and annotated bibliography Summative Equivalent to 1500 words 40%
Plan for essay Formative 500 words 0%
Essay Summative 2500 words 60%

Feedback methods

  • Written feedback on summative assessments
  • Formative feedback during the preparation for the 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
Project supervision 5
Seminars 15
Independent study hours
Independent study 165

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Claire Reddleman Unit coordinator

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