What is the course about?
Writing about the arts requires a grasp of philosophical principles, aesthetic theory, and historical background, as well as an eye for detail and the ability to engage creatively with a range of different approaches. This class offer an introduction to all of these principles. The course will have both a theoretical and practical focus, offering students guidance on how to get to grips effectively and quickly with a new artistic or historical field and how to make the most of interviews with museum staff and experts.
We will look at different approaches by professional reviewers and creative writers, as well as practical writing tasks, such as composing a pitch, writing an effective opening, and structuring your piece. The aim will be for everyone to come away at the end of the session with an idea for a review, a structure, an angle, and how to go about developing it into a full article.
What will we cover?
- The elements of a good review: style and substance
- Theory and historical background: What is art criticism? How should we go about criticising or reviewing a work of art or an exhibition?
- The pitch: how to get your review proposal accepted for publication
- The review: structure, language, and the angle.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Understand some of the key principles of art criticism
- Reflect upon your own approach to review writing and your idea of what makes a good review
- Have the kernel of a topic which you can develop into a full review.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory course suited to learners with a range of experience wishing to learn more about writing critically about art and heritage. Students should be fluent in written and spoken English. No other experience is necessary.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You will be taught through a mixture of presentations, individual and group work, with practical exercises. You should be prepared to share your ideas and your writing with the rest of the class. During the course, students will pay a visit to a nearby museum or gallery.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Writing materials: pen, paper, tablet or laptop as appropriate to your learning needs. Your creative ideas!
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
City Lit offers a range of non-fiction writing courses including Writing reviews, Writing local history and Travel writing. For more information, please browse the writing section of our website.