The Art of Describing - HOA00008C

« Back to module search

  • Department: History of Art
  • Module co-ordinator: Information currently unavailable
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module summary

The Art of Describing explores how art historians transform direct experience of artworks and architecture into verbal descriptions. Through a series of lectures, site visits and seminars, it develops your art-historical skills of visual investigation and oral presentation.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2019-20 to Spring Term 2019-20

Module aims

The Art of Describing explores how art historians transform direct experience of artworks and architecture into verbal descriptions. Through a series of lectures, site visits and seminars, it develops your art-historical skills of visual investigation and oral presentation.

Art History is a discipline with both historical and aesthetic interests and ambitions, and a discipline that also contains a very significant object-focussed and site-visit component. These various modes of understanding must be communicated through language, both written and oral. The Art of Describing therefore offers you a sustained, supervised experience of investigating works of art and architecture, as well as a variety of exhibition spaces, at first hand, so as to develop your skills in communicating how we see and interpret works of art and architecture in their current settings. The module also aims to give you an opportunity to develop potentially transferable cultural heritage skills by giving you sustained experience of giving audio-visual presentations on works of art and architecture, both singly and in small groups, in front of the objects and away from them; as well as the experience of reflecting upon and improving that experience.

Module learning outcomes

At the end of the course students should have acquired:

  • experience of a range of different works of art and architecture in local museums, galleries and public spaces
  • a fuller understanding of experiencing artworks at first hand vs discussing them at a distance
  • experience of giving audio-visual presentations, in small groups and individually, in front of and away from particular works of art and architecture
  • a fuller understanding of the particular challenges of turning direct experiences and interpretations of works of art into verbal prose

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
1500 word essay
N/A 90
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Oral contribution
N/A 10

Special assessment rules

None

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
1500 word essay
N/A 90

Module feedback

Feedback on summative assessment within 20 working days.

Indicative reading

  • Baxandall, Michael, Patterns of Intention: On the Historical Explanation of Pictures (1985).
  • Jordanova, Ludmilla, The Look of the Past: Visual and Material Evidence in Historical Practice (2012).
  • Nelson, Robert S. and Richard Shiff, Critical Terms for Art History (2nd ed., 2003).



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.