Change must come: art, politics and society

Course Dates: 13/01/21 - 10/03/21
Time: 14:00 - 16:00
Location: Online

Enjoy an exploration of art history, drawing on specific politically and socially significant periods, artists and works. We will conclude with an engagement with contemporary art and politics.

This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.


What is the course about?

Throughout history, art’s role within society has varied. 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.

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?

- An overview of particular types of Political Art and the periods in which they were created.
- The work of particular Political Artists and theorists including Picasso, Kandinsky, Duchamp and Walter Benjamin.
- 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 online with slide presentations and group discussions. Handouts will be provided by your tutor to support your learning on the course; these handouts will be available online/digitally for download, not printed out for you. 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.


Customer Reviews 6 item(s)

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Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

Very interesting subject matter which is taught by the tutor expertly.
Course Rating
Review by CKC / (Posted on 10/03/2020)
This course was challenging and so interesting. The tutor is a superb teacher.
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 09/03/2020)
Great course, inspiring and knowledgeable teacher, no previous knowledge required. Definitely expanded my understanding of politics and art.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 02/03/2020)
Thought provoking.. excellent tutor
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 01/03/2020)
Take it without hesitation
Course Rating
Review by Anne / (Posted on 27/02/2020)
It's interesting and you will improve your knowledge of how art is influenced by politics.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 26/02/2020)
Tutor Biographies
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.

This course has now started

Course Code: VB542

Full Wed, day, 13 Jan - 10 Mar '21

Duration: 8 sessions (over 9 weeks)

Full fee: £199.00
Senior fee: £159.00
Concession: £121.00

Call us to check if you can still join the course 020 7492 2652 (depart num)

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.