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Art and Value


There are no classes currently available for registration.


This short course, Art and Value, is ideal if you are keen to reflect on your own appreciation of the arts and/or are working in the arts or creative industries.

Artists, writers and performers, and anyone who spends time enjoying the arts - whether in museums or galleries, concert halls or theatres, cinemas or reading groups - face questions about artistic value every day. Why hang this painting in a museum rather than that one? Why buy tickets to one music festival rather than another? What justifies the costs in time and money to keep different creative practices going?

Philosophers of art attempt to answer such questions by identifying what makes artworks valuable as art. On this Art and Value short course we consider whether and how different features of an artwork, such as its formal qualities, originality, content, and who created it, contribute to its value.

We take a narrative approach, starting with the eighteenth-century concept of ‘taste’ and tracing debates over value through to the present day. Our discussions of each topic will be illustrated with examples of artwork in different media and genres.

This short course is of interest to those wanting to study philosophy, to professionals working in the arts and creative industries, and to art appreciators who want to gain a better understanding of questions surrounding art and value.

We will explore some of the following themes during this course:

  • What is art? An introduction to major theories of art
  • The history of ‘taste’: traditional approaches to evaluating art
  • Art and emotion: Is the experience of art distinct from other emotions of life?
  • Art and artists: Do we need to know what an artist intends, to properly evaluate their artworks?
  • What’s wrong with a forgery? Understanding the role of originality and authenticity in art
  • But is it art? How to think about conceptual and experimental arts
  • Art and morality: Can art be evil? Can evil art still be good art?
  • Art and knowledge: Can art teach us? Should art be educational?
  • Criticising the tradition: Why have female and BAME artists been systematically under-valued?

This course is non-credit bearing, so carries no credit points.

  • Entry requirements

    Entry requirements

    Most of our short courses have no formal entry requirements and are open to all students.

    A background in philosophy is not necessary to take this postgraduate-level course, however, in order to engage fully, you should have some experience of higher education study to undergraduate level.

    As part of the enrolment process, you may be required to submit a copy of a suitable form of ID.

    International students who wish to come to the UK to study a short course can apply for a Visitor visa. Please note that it is not possible to obtain a Student visa to study a short course.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You register directly onto the classes you would like to take. 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 register 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.