Print Collecting and Curating - HA573

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Spring 6 30 (15) DR B Thomas checkmark-circle


The module provides a practice-based approach to art history to complement the academic approach of other modules in the History of Art programmes. By focusing on prints it will aim to provide students with an "apprenticeship" in two practical areas of art history, namely collecting and curating. The module will involve students in the full cycle of these two interrelated processes: from identifying and acquiring a print, to cataloguing and curating it, to making sense of it to a wider public by placing it in the context of a themed exhibition. In the first assessment task each student will submit an “exhibition bid” proposing an idea for an exhibition based on the existing collection and suggesting new acquisitions (and possibly loans) to realise the idea. The concepts for exhibitions could derive from the subject matter or techniques of prints in the collection, or they could involve focussing on a particular artist or period. The best conceived bid will then be adopted by the group who will work collectively to put on the exhibition. At this stage students will visit dealers and auction houses and carry out object-based research in order to secure new acquisitions. A study diary will be kept by each student to record this process and will be submitted at the end of the module as part of the overall assessment. As prints are acquired they will be catalogued to a professional standard format and these entries will form the basis of a catalogue to accompany the exhibition that will be the culmination of the module. Putting on the exhibition will require practical team-work to frame and hang the prints, to write and produce labels and illustrative material, and to staff and publicise the exhibition.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

Total contact hours: 48
Private study hours: 252
Total study hours: 300

Method of assessment

Exhibition Bid (2500 – 4000 words) (30%)
Log Book (4000 – 6000 words) (40%)
Exhibition (20%)
Project Performance (10%)

Indicative reading

Gascoigne, B. (1986), How to Identify Prints, London: Thames and Hudson.
Griffiths, A. (1996) Prints and Printmaking. An introduction to the history and techniques, London: British Museum.
Hyatt Mayor, A. (1971) Prints & People: a social history of printed pictures, New York: Metropolitan Museum.
Lambert, S. (2001) Prints. Art and Techniques, London: Victoria and Albert Museum.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

- identify and evaluate different types of prints in terms of technique (engraving, etching, mezzotint, mixed medium etc.), subject and engraver;
- acquire the discipline of object-based research and description essential for the process of cataloguing (a development from learning outcome 8.1 above). This process also involves developing a sense of how the market value of collectable items relates to their historic and aesthetic value;
- acquire a good knowledge of the history of printmaking and be able to relate this to the history of other visual arts, as well as to broader themes of cultural history;
- acquire, through practical and responsible involvement in developing a departmental collection, a good understanding of the nature and history of collecting as an art historical practice;
- design and budget for an exhibition bid;
- structure and arrange a collection of objects, together with the critical information relating to those objects in a clear and useful way (e.g. the basic skills of archival practice).


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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