Skip to main content

Politics and the Arts (Level 5)


There are no classes currently available for registration.


This is a credit bearing course but can also be taken as a non-credit bearing course.

Discover the difference between our credit bearing and non-credit bearing courses.

This Politics and the Arts interactive short course introduces you to classic and contemporary works of political art, drawn from literature, drama, film and photography among other fields, and encourages you to think about what the study of politics can learn from the arts and what politics can teach us about the arts. It invites you to think about art as a mode of political expression and to look at London’s arts scene through a political lens. We will ask:

  • How do political scientists think about art?
  • How do artists think about politics?
  • Can art and artists influence politics?
  • Whose economic and political interests does art serve?
  • How does political art reconcile the tension between truth and artifice?
  • Is art always a force for good?
  • How does art address questions of representation, power and legitimacy?

We aim to cover the following content:

  • The Political Novel: George Orwell’s 1984 and Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man
  • Poetry and Politics: W.B. Yeats’ Easter, 1916 and Jay Bernard’s Surge
  • Photography 1: Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks and the ‘Golden Age’ of social documentary photography
  • Photography 2: Visual politics in an era of political change
  • British Politics on Screen: Armando Iannucci’s The Thick of It, Abbi Morgan’s The Iron Lady and Peter Morgan’s The Crown
  • Postcolonial Cinema: Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle for Algiers, Raol Peck’s Lumumba, Gurinder Chadha’s The Viceroy’s House and Ken Loach’s The Wind That Shakes the Barley
  • Political Playwrights: Carol Churchill, David Hare, Roy Williams and Clint Dyer
  • Sculpture: Earth Art, environmentalism, public sculpture and the Fourth Plinth
  • The Future of Politics and the Arts

Assessment is via a 1500-word essay (70%), 1000-word review of fieldwork (20%) and seminar participation (10%).

15 credits at level 5

  • Entry requirements

    Entry requirements

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

    The Politics and the Arts short course is taught at a level equivalent to Year 2/Year 3 of an undergraduate degree. In order to fully engage with the class, you should have some previous knowledge of the subject, for example, by having successfully completed an introductory class at Level 4 (such as the first year of an undergraduate degree or one of our Certificate of Higher Education modules) or by having professional experience in this area.

    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.