Change must come: art, politics and society

Course Dates: 03/05/22 - 28/06/22
Time: 18:00 - 20:00
Location: KS - Keeley Street
An exploration of art history that draws on specific political and social movements in modern history and how artists contribute to and/or influence the dialogue. We will conclude with an engagement with contemporary art and politics.
This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
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Full fee £199.00 Senior fee £199.00 Concession £121.00

Course Code: VB212

Available start dates 

Tue, eve, 03 May - 28 Jun '22

Duration: 8 sessions (over 9 weeks)

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

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?

Art is a social product that has political implications. Whether deliberately political or indirectly politicised, art has frequently been used to express and question political and social ideas. Many artists have used their work to participate in, or critique, the societies in which they live, and plenty of art works have been used to manipulate viewers in the form of propaganda. This art history course will explore art’s often uneasy relationship with politics, and asks whether art has a role to play within this area. We ask (and hopefully answer) the question: how does art impact social values, impact cultural perception and make change?

What will we cover?

- An overview of particular types of Political Art and the periods in which they were created.
- The work of particular Political Artists including Jacques-Louis David, Frida Kahlo, David Wojnarowicz, Dorothea Lange, Gustave Courbet and theorists like Walter Benjamin, Linda Nochlin and Gayatri Spivak.
- The future of Political Art and its relation to other disciplines, e.g. Film and Photography.
- Key theoretical approaches in the History of Art that emphasise political views
- The socio-economic and cultural context relevant to particular periods of Political Art.
- The relationship between the content of Political Art and its form.

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

- Identify some key points in the history of Political Art.
- Engage with works of Political Art from both a theoretical and practical perspective.
- Demonstrate an awareness of how certain traditions in the History of Art inform how certain works of Political Art are produced and read.
- State the influence of the historical context on examples of political art.
- Engage with questions about the future of Political Art.

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

Some familiarity with art and its history is recommended but beginners would be welcome. Short reading materials will be provided.
You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, hand-outs and health and safety information, and will be invited to take part in group discussion.

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

You will be taught with lecture, slide presentations and group discussions. Handouts will be provided by your tutor to support your learning on the course. Recommended reading lists and lecture notes will be provided in relation to each topic. You might wish to visit galleries and exhibitions between classes to view works first hand.

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

You might wish to buy some of the books on the reading list given out in class.

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

You might also be interested in:
VB639 - Focus on: the Body in 20th century art
VB864 - Feminism in art: political use of the body.

Sarah Jaffray

Sarah Jaffray received her BA and MA in Art History with an emphasis in French Modernism and a minor in the Italian Renaissance. She holds a second MA in Cultural Studies from Goldsmiths, University of London. Sarah was a lecturer for several colleges and universities in the Los Angeles area before relocating to London to be with her family. For the past three years she has worked as an educator in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum and at Wellcome Collection. Her interests include Modernism, drawing, artistic process, collaboration, cultural theory, and the intersection of art and technology. She is currently researching the relationship of language and drawing.

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.