Visual Arts Writing - HA595

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Spring
View Timetable
6 30 (15)


None [Although the module will complement the vocational orientation of the existing HPA Visual Arts Internship module].





• This module will be for final year students who are interested in gaining employment within the art and heritage press and/or marketing sectors. It will complement the vocational and work-based emphasis of the existing HPA Internship module (HA579). It will comprise a series of taught seminars supplemented by visiting speakers from the art/trade press, and from across the marketing and heritage sectors [6-8 speakers per module delivery].

• NB: This is not an NCTJ validated course and makes no pretence at providing the full competencies of such. What it will provide will be an introduction to a range of press and related activities within the visual arts and heritage sectors. It will be of relevance for those students considering the possibility of working within these areas and for those who wish to explore some of the practicalities of researching and submitting copy and undertaking related promotional and marketing activities.

• The module will start by considering examples from the range of trade, specialist and institutionally affiliated publications which service the art and heritage markets. It will consider their target readerships, commissioning practices and particular subject and industry angles. Publications such as The Antiques Trade Gazette, The Art Newspaper, Tate Magazine and Art Monthly will be among those evaluated.

• Seminars will introduce some of the basic principles of trade writing: standing up and presenting copy proposals for commissioning; adapting copy to differing house-styles; preparing for and undertaking interviews for writing briefs and useful sources of information for generating ideas for prospective writing projects. Seminars will also consider the arts-related promotional work typically undertaken by press and marketing departments within auction houses, public art galleries and within government-funded organisations such as the British Council, and those local and regional authorities with heritage related responsibilities and sections (Canterbury City Council, Medway Unitary Authority etc).


This module appears in:

Contact hours

6-8 x 1 hour lectures by external speakers concerned with employment contexts and opportunities within the arts and heritage sectors

8 x 2 hour seminars introducing the practice and principles of copy writing and submitting work for commissioning

4 x1 hour small group tutorials to support students in drafting and composing their personal statement

Method of assessment

Assessment components will be 100% coursework assessment broken down into four elements as follows:

2x 500 word exhibition reviews undertaken to house style for a selected publication (20%)

1x 2000 word extended profile of an artist for a selected publication (50%)

1000-word self-assessment/personal statement (20%)

A short seminar presentation (10%) .

Indicative reading

Art Business, Iain Robertson, Routledge 2007

Uncovering the Secrets of Magazine Writing: Writing Creative Non-Fiction for Print and Internet Publication, Nancy Hamilton, Allyn & Bacon, 2004

What Happened to Art Criticism? James Elkins, Prickly Paradigm, 2003

Writing About Visual Art, David Carrier, Allworth, 2003

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will have:

1.been introduced to the copy styles of a range of non-academic art writing associated with the trade and specialist press;

2.explored some of the basic writing principles and protocols associated with trade journalism and submitting art related copy for publication;

3.considered the forms and roles of non-academic art writing and their contribution to the understanding and reception of the visual arts;

4.been familiarised with some of the basic techniques of preparing for and conducting interviews in support of arts-based feature and review writing;

5.identified some of the press, promotional and marketing activities undertaken by the arts and heritage industries more broadly;

6.These learning outcomes support the achievement of many of the programme outcomes, but relate in particular to those outcomes concerned with intellectual skills (especially B 6 and 7), subject-specific skills C1-8 and transferable skills D1-6.

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