Art Criticism: Theory and Practice - HART5950

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2023 to 2024
Autumn Term 6 30 (15) Jonathan Friday checkmark-circle


This module explores the history, theory and practice of arts criticism. Although critical practice related to all art forms may feature, the emphasis will be upon the visual arts, and in particular, the pictorial arts, sculpture and installation. The lectures will address the aims and methods of art criticism, as well as the media and professional contexts in which it is produced. Seminars will be devoted to exploring the connections between theory and concrete examples of art criticism produced by noted critics. Students will produce a portfolio of their own art critical reviews of works, exhibitions and related art events. The emphasis of this practical component will be the production of art criticism that meets standards and expectations of general and specialist newspapers, magazines and websites.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 58
Total private study hours: 242
Total module study hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:
Written Assignment 1: Portfolio (4,000 words) (70%)
Written Assignment 2: Reflective Essay (2000 words) (30%)

Reassessment methods:
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Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices. The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Distinguish, explain and evaluate differing approaches to, and styles of, visual arts criticism
2 Demonstrate an understanding of the history of visual arts criticism, and the different contexts in which it is produced.
3 Produce short pieces of criticism in response to current exhibitions and related events that meet the standards and conditions various publishers set for their critics.
4 Understand the interplay between visual arts criticism and visual arts culture through research into relevant scholarly literature.
5 Critically reflect upon and evaluate the art criticism produced by themselves and others.
6 Demonstrate an advanced ability to synthesise ideas and concepts within the theory of criticism with art historical knowledge and understanding
7 Make connections to other material learned over the previous two years of study of the arts.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate skills of visual, critical and historical analysis, together with generic intellectual skills of synthesis, summarisation, critical judgement and problem-solving, that will allow for the construction of original and persuasive arguments.
2 Demonstrate the skills of communication, improving performance, problem-solving, working with others and effective use of appropriate vocabulary and illustrations, ideas and arguments to a variety of audiences and/or using a variety of methods.
3 Appropriately use a range of learning and reference resources (including visual resources) within the Templeman Library and elsewhere, including the critical use of the internet and a range of primary and secondary texts.
4 Employ information technologies to research and present their work.
5 Demonstrate the acquisition of an independent learning style; for example in the preparation and presentation of course work, in carrying out independent research, in showing the ability to reflect on their own learning and by mediating complex arguments to a variety of audiences and/or using a variety of methods
6 Approach problem-solving creatively, and form critical and evaluative judgments about the appropriateness of these approaches to a level where a substantial degree of autonomy and self-reflexive awareness is achieved in these tasks.


  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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