Understanding contemporary art: ideas and origins

Course Dates: 02/10/23 - 06/11/23
Time: 18:30 - 20:30
Location: Online
Ever wondered what's going on in the mind of contemporary artists? This course explores the ideas and historical background behind some of today’s most intriguing works, from Conceptualism and Video to Body Art and Installation.
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 £149.00 Senior fee £149.00 Concession £97.00

Course Code: VB849

Mon, eve, 02 Oct - 06 Nov '23

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?

Contemporary Art sometimes seems a little disorientating; this course aims to provide some background, helping you form a clearer picture of the key historical ideas and practices behind some of today’s most interesting and controversial artworks.

Giving coherent shape to Contemporary Art’s often baffling variety, we’ll examine important practices and demystify some of its more confusing jargon. Putting its development into historical context, this course will enable you to describe and interpret what you see in galleries in an increasingly constructive and engaged fashion.

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?

The history and development of key concepts within Contemporary Art, including:
- Conceptualism
- Appropriation
- Performance and Body Art
- Site-Specificity and Installation
- Video Art
- Just what is Contemporary Art? – introducing some theoretical approaches.

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

- List a number of important 20th Century art movements that have significantly influenced Contemporary Art
- Question what makes Contemporary Art distinct from what came before it
- Analyse key works and participate in discussions about them
- Identify and describe some of the important characteristics and pieces of terminology associated with Contemporary Art.

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

This course is suitable for all levels.

You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, hand-outs and health and safety information as well as basic functions of Zoom, specifically microphone and camera.

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. You will be invited to join the Google Classroom within a week of your course start date.

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

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

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

You might also be interested in:
Contemporary art in London
Cabinets to White Cubes: a history of collecting art in the UK.

Christopher Collier

Christopher Collier trained as an artist, before gaining an MA in Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths and a PhD in Art History and Theory from the University of Essex. He has taught at institutions including the University of Essex, Cambridge School of Art, and Winchester School of Art, as well as presenting internationally at a range of workshops and conferences, including at the ICA, London and CCA, Glasgow. His broad range of interests includes the intersections of art and the more-than-human world, along with art's relations to wider political economy and cultural theory. He is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

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.