Art in theory: politics and society

Course Dates: 11/01/24 - 15/02/24
Time: 18:30 - 20:30
Location: Online
Critical thinking course for creative practitioners exploring culture, society and politics drawing on a range of cultural theories and work by significant artists and designers to enhance and inspire creative thinking and practical work.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Book your place
In stock
Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £118.00

Course Code: VB647

Thu, eve, 11 Jan - 15 Feb '24

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

Through a critical engagement with theoretical texts, artistic and creative practices, and students' own work and conceptual thinking in regards to society and politics, this course provides an in-depth exploration of key ideas that inform and inspire contemporary creative and cultural practice. Designed to enhance the thinking that underpins work in the creative arts, this course is ideal for those wishing to think, research and make in relation to the world around them in the 21st century.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

This course explores the concepts of society and politics as central and inspiring aspects of historical and contemporary creative practice. The course looks at creative art’s position within a social and political context, and encourages students to think critically about the artist’s role(s) within the world and how their practice and work can contribute to, disturb, disrupt, enhance, or uphold social and political ideologies. Through exploring historical and contemporary theories and works that draw on identity politics, propaganda, activist, and interventionist practices, students will be encouraged to situate themselves within their own ideological, social, and political contexts and reflect on how their work impacts on and in the world. This course is ideal for those developing work that concerns social or political themes or aspirations.

The course will draw ideas from a range of subject areas including cultural and political theory, political philosophy, art history, sociology, media studies and communication theories. Case studies and examples include looking at historical and contemporary political art; media representations and political propaganda; artists and photographers who explore social status and class; creative social activism; institutional critique and participative and interactive arts.

This course concerns contemporary practice and debate. As such you can expect to be stimulated and challenged by some of the ideas and images discussed.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Read, understand and discuss a wide range of critical and theoretical ideas and texts
- Recognise and analyse creative practices in relation to theories of society and politics
- Draw on critical and theoretical ideas and texts to enhance your own creative and artistic practice
- Develop and present your own critical and creative thinking.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is for intermediate and advanced art students and creative practitioners. You should be enrolled on or have completed a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, the City Lit Fine Art Course, City Lit Sculpture Course, Developing Fine Art Practice or any equivalent higher level creative art or design courses. Alternatively, you will have relevant experience in art and design, and be actively involved in producing art independently with a desire to extend the theoretical basis of your work.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be taught through an eclectic mixture of lectures, artist presentations, paired and group discussions, debates and student presentations, reading and visual analysis exercises. Students will be expected to be developing their creative work outside of classes, and support their study through independent theoretical readings, gallery visits, and in responding to occasional creative tasks.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You are encouraged to bring a notebook and pen to record notes from talks and discussions. You may wish to buy some of the books or journals on any reading list given out in class. You will also need access to a computer, and will be expected to access or download readings from the City Lit virtual learning environment in preparation for classes.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

You may be interested in other Cultural Studies courses, looking in depth a key cultural and theoretical themes in the context of creative arts such as VB646 Space, Place and Site, VB645 Self and Identity, VB648 Communication and Perception, or VB653 Time and Memory. You may also be interested in art history courses, or certain courses within the humanities department.

Charles Chambers

Charles is an artist, designer and theorist with over twenty-five years experience; initially as a freelance illustrator working for major publishers and magazines, and for two decades as Creative Director of an award-winning west-end design agency. Greatly experienced himself as an adult learner, he was an art and design graduate first in the 1980’s but then returned to university – whist working full-time – to gain a First Class degree in architecture followed by a Master’s (with distinction) in architectural theory. He now divides his time between printmaking, small architectural projects and since 2011 teaching a range of subjects at CityLit: including cultural history and theory to creative practitioners, interior design and drawing. He says: “Teaching is the most rewarding experience I have had in a long career in the world of art and design. There is really nothing to compare with the complete engagement of a group of learners in full spate!” Summer also finds Charles afloat, teaching sailing and racing his own small boat. For more information go to and

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.