Art and critical theory: rethinking 'nature'

Course Dates: 26/06/24 - 17/07/24
Time: 18:30 - 20:30
Location: Online
Explore the role of critical theory within the field of art history, and learn new ways of thinking about art by focusing on how recent authors have been rethinking our understanding of nature.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £64.00

Art and critical theory: rethinking 'nature'
  • Course Code: VB792
  • Dates: 26/06/24 - 17/07/24
  • Time: 18:30 - 20:30
  • Taught: Wed, Evening
  • Duration: 4 sessions (over 4 weeks)
  • Location: Online
  • Tutor: Irina Chkhaidze

Course Code: VB792

Wed, eve, 26 Jun - 17 Jul '24

Duration: 4 sessions (over 4 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?

What does ‘nature’ mean? If asked, each individual will likely have a different answer depending on their background and personal encounters with nature, as well as the context in which this question is posed. In this 4-week course we will ask: what does the term ‘nature’ mean today, when our planet is faced with the accelerating environmental crises? How does recent theoretical writings on the topic help humans rethink their relationship to the natural world whether in their everyday lives or in their art practice. In order to address the impact of these ideas on reception and production of art, we will focus on the following themes: Nature and Ecology, ‘Natureculture’, Thinking through Extinction, and Earth, Mushrooms and ‘Entangled life’.

The course can be taken either in conjunction with (1) Art and Critical Theory: Vision and Gaze, and (2) Art and Critical Theory: Feminism and Post-Colonialism or separately. Theoretical texts have a profound impact on how we think and write about visual art today, or even how we experience it, whether it would be a medieval panting or contemporary multi-media installation. In these four sessions, we will continue to explore the role that critical theory plays in the field of art history, and in how we look at and respond to art.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

• Introduction to critical texts rethinking our relationship to nature including the authors such as Donna Haraway, Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, Timothy Morton, Tim Ingold and Merlin Sheldrake.
• The impact of these theoretical explorations on art practice and criticism.
• The relevance of the addressed themes for thinking about and experiencing contemporary art.

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

By the end of this course you should be able to:
• Discuss relevant ideas of at least three authors.
• Demonstrate improved critical analysis skills and an ability to situate artworks in a broader theoretical context.
• Evaluate the role of theoretical texts for thinking about contemporary art.

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

This course is suitable for most levels. Entry-level knowledge of art history and/or philosophy will be an advantage; readiness to engage with theoretical texts is crucial.

You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations and instructions on the basic elements of Zoom software, like usage of microphone and camera.

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

You will be taught with slide presentations, group discussions and short group exercises. There will be assigned weekly reading. Reading materials will be available online/digitally for download via a Google Classroom. Log in information will be sent a week prior to the start of your course.

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

There are no other costs, but you are advised to bring a notebook to the classes.

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

You might also be interested in:
Art and Critical Theory: Vision and Gaze
Art and Critical Theory: Feminism and Post-Colonialism
Feminism in Modern and Contemporary Art
Animals in Art: From Medieval Art to Today.

Irina Chkhaidze

Irina Chkhaidze completed her PhD in Art History at University College London. Prior to this, she studied Liberal Arts and gained an MA in Humanities in Germany. Irina has published articles on contemporary art, theories of posthumanism and human-animal relations. She has taught gallery-based courses at UCL, covering 19th to 21st century art. Currently, Irina also lectures on philosophy and social theory at Leeds Beckett University, and teaches on Critical Studies programme at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London.

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.