Material and Process in Art

Why do art materials matter? The aim of this Short Course is to make you aware of the ways in which different materials have been used at different periods and how different media have historically acquired specific meanings and connotations.

Starting in the medieval period and working through to the present day, the module will address the use and valuation of materials including stone, wood, glass, metal, textiles paint, print, found objects, the artists' body, and digital media. It will involve visits to museums, galleries, and places of art production, and for their assessment students will research specific objects that are currently on show in a London gallery.

Assessment is via 2 essays of 1000 words (non-examined) and 2000 words (100%), respectively.

The module aims to:

  • Contribute to a sound training in the discipline of history of art.
  • Enable you to develop your knowledge of materials and processes used in art from the medieval period to the present day.
  • Enhance your critical awareness of the social and cultural contexts of the production and reception of art, specifically the cultural significance of particular materials and how their values and meanings have changed through time.
  • Enhance the ability to observe, identify and analyse works of visual culture.
  • Offer opportunities to develop subject-specific skills and a range of transferable skills.
  • Provide intellectual stimulus and challenges for those studying for personal development.

This Short Course can be taken as a stand-alone course or it may be available as part of a Certificate of Higher Education.

Learning objectives

On successful completion of this module, students will be expected to have:

  • Acquired a detailed knowledge of materials and processes used in art from the medieval period to the present day.
  • Developed the ability to observe, identify and analyse works of visual culture.
  • Developed a critical awareness of the functions of such works within the social and cultural contexts of their production and reception.
  • Become familiar with current debates and approaches to the subject.
  • Developed their ability to analyse and interpret critically historical evidence.
  • Developed their ability to read critically and analyse the secondary literature.
  • Developed their ability to construct and present coherent arguments orally and in writing.
  • Been encouraged to develop effective skills of presentation and communication.
  • Been encouraged to develop skills in managing computer and audio-visual technology and resources.
  • Been encouraged to develop skills of constructive debate.
  • Increased responsibility for their own learning by undertaking independent research.

30 credits at level 4

  • Entry requirements

    Entry requirements

    Most of our short courses have no formal entry requirements and are open to all students. You may have to fulfil specific prerequisites for some intermediate-level or advanced-level courses, but these will be specified where relevant.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months’ duration.
    • Courses of less than six months’ duration.
    • Pre-sessional English language courses.

    International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our three-year evening study BA/BSc/LLB degrees, as these are classified as full-time study and qualify for student visa status. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck’s part-time evening study degrees.

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You enrol directly onto the classes you would like to take, using the Enrol Now link below. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis – so apply early. If you wish to take more than one short course, you can select each one separately and then enrol onto them together via our online application portal. There is usually no formal selection process, although some modules may have prerequisites and/or other requirements, which will be specified where relevant.

First class: Wed 04-Oct-17 7.30pm-9pm

Class location Central London
Class code ARVC207S4AAA

This class has already started. You can no longer enrol on this class.