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Unit information: Approaches to the Artist (Reflective Art History Unit) in 2023/24

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Approaches to the Artist (Reflective Art History Unit)
Unit code HART30007
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Shaw-Miller
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History of Art (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit will consider the idea of the artist as a part of the discussion of the culture and of the cultural products of any given historical era. What art historians think they know about ‘the artist’ as a category is open to constant scrutiny within the discipline, and new approaches to the idea of ‘the artist’ (or of any given artist) can substantially change the ways in which artists and their works are considered. As well as this, academic and popular views of particular individual artists, or groups of artists, can shift and change, producing further new interpretations and frameworks within which they and their works can be considered. This unit encourages students to examine the theoretical issues presented by studying artists – as a category or individually – and to consider the changing receptions in academic and popular culture of particular artists and groups of artists.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate a detailed knowledge and critical understanding of the development of the idea of the artist;
  2. evaluate the changing ways in which the works of an artist or group of artists may be viewed over time;
  3. analyse theoretical issues presented in studying artists
  4. identify, evaluate, and synthesise pertinent evidence/data in order to advance a cogent argument;
  5. present and frame their ideas in a fashion consistent with the conventions of reviews and proposals for non-academic audiences.

Teaching details

Classes will involve a combination of discussion, investigative activities, and practical activities. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis. This will be further supported with drop-in sessions and self-directed exercises with tutor and peer feedback.

Assessment Details

One 1000-word review or proposal for a non-academic audience (25%) [ILOs 1, 4, 5]

One timed assessment (75%) [1, 2, 3, 4]


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If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. HART30007).