Visual Arts and Digital Media Writing - ART527

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
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6 30 (15) DR G Pooke







This final year, outward-facing module explores dimensions of arts and media writing and context relevant to visuals arts, heritage, gallery, museums and contemporary media sectors. Its structure and format introduces two complementary and interconnected components.
Lectures will explore and discuss selected art history and media-oriented historiographic texts, considering their legacy and relevance for print and online writing genres. Examples will start with the biographical legacy of Plato, Vasari and Bellori for traditions of ekphrasis and mimesis. Lectures will consider the connotations of materialism and embodiment associated with Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Worringer, Chasseguet-Smirgel, bel hooks and Julia Kristeva for avant-garde and late modern practice. The historiography of Roger Fry, Clive Bell, Clement Greenberg, Michael Fried and Rosalind Krauss will be considered in relation to the Modernist art-writing canon and associated historiography, followed by the post-war interventions of the Frankfurt School, Roland Barthes, Gilles Deleuze and Michel Foucault.
Differing conceptions of the visual arts, media and advertising industries will be counterposed through the perspectives of Edward Bernays, Vance Packard, Timothy Leary and the Situationist world-view of Guy Debord. The module will conclude by discussing post-colonial and late modern perspectives by Frantz Fanon, Stuart Hall, Gayatri Spivak and Slavoj Zizek. Consideration will be given to how these interventions have variously helped to situate sociological discourse underpinning dimensions of visual arts and media historiography more broadly.
Seminars will discuss some of the texts considered within the lectures in addition to introducing the key principles and conventions of visual arts and online writing: standing up and presenting copy proposals for commissioning; adapting copy to differing house-styles and genres; being responsive to audience and market; preparing for and undertaking interviews for writing briefs and useful sources of information for generating ideas for prospective writing and online or virtual media projects.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Contact Hours: 44 hours
Private Study Hours: 256
Total study hours will be 300.

Method of assessment

Exhibition Review, 500 words, to a chosen house style, worth 10%
Exhibition Review, 500 words, to a chosen house style, worth 10%
Total: 20%
Extended Profile for a Newspaper, Magazine or Online Platform (2000 words) (50%)
Personal Statement (1000 words) (20%)
Seminar Presentation (10%)

Indicative reading

How to Write About Contemporary Art, Gilda Williams, Thames & Hudson, 2014
Writing and Editing for Digital Audiences, Brian Carroll, Routledge, 2017
How to Write Art History, Anne D'Alleva, Laurence King, 2010
Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: A Reader, John Storey, Routledge, 2018

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of a range of art writing copy styles and genres associated with printed and online platforms;
2. Explore writing, organisational and presentational principles associated with arts-related journalism and the submission of copy for publication;
3. Consider the various forms, purposes and roles of non-academic art writing in communicating content to diverse discipline and readership communities;
4. Demonstrate a critical understanding of some of the basic techniques of preparing for, and conducting interviews in support of, arts-based feature and review writing, both in printed and online forms;
5. Explore relevant examples of art historiography and media theory, considering their contribution to visual arts writing practice and language more broadly;
6. Explore a range of writing styles, including the authoring of a personal statement, which have application to managing the transition beyond and from undergraduate study.

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