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The Arts: Perspectives and Possibilities


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 3
  • Convenor: Professor Joanne Leal
  • Assessment: a 750-word critical reflection (30%) and a creative response to any aspect of units 3 and 4 and a 750-word critical reflection (70%)

Module description

This module is divided into four units, each taking one approach to studying the arts and exploring how we might engage with objects of study from these different perspectives:

  • Reading
  • Looking
  • Experiencing
  • Translating

This enables you to understand the different disciplinary approaches used in the arts and to experience how objects can be understood in different ways, depending on the tools we use to interpret them.

Not only will the module give you a range of skills with which to analyse a variety of objects of study - novels, paintings, films, exhibitions and digital platforms, for instance - it will also encourage you to understand how working with ‘secondary literature’ - works of criticism about the objects you are studying - can help you to develop your own critical thinking, giving you new ways to engage with the arts and to understand how we represent and experience the world.

Each two-week unit will begin with a lecture to get you familiar with the topic, followed by a workshop in which you will engage with the subject more practically.

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • understand the range of objects studied within the arts
  • explain what is meant by a disciplinary perspective in the arts
  • interpret and work with a number of different disciplinary perspectives
  • demonstrate a range of skills in the interpretation of different kinds of objects of study
  • explain what we mean by critical thinking and practise it
  • compare and contrast distinctions between ‘primary’ objects of study and ‘secondary sources’
  • identify why and how to work with ‘secondary sources’
  • understand how to produce a critical reflection on an object of study.