Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

Art History and Film - BA (Hons)

UCAS code WW36

2019

This new programme offers a critically engaging and expansive approach to the discipline of art history combined with film. It has been designed to equip you with the key visual, critical and professional skills necessary for a career in the art world and for a range of other employment opportunities.

2019

Overview

Art History

In your first year, you are given a firm foundation in some of the aesthetic, interpretative and methodological approaches to the discipline of art history. Throughout your second and third years, there are opportunities for you to develop and expand your engagement with the discipline through a range of specialist modules.

As well as options that explore Renaissance and Baroque art, modernism, contemporary art, French painting, surrealism, photography and aesthetics, this programme also offers an introduction to work-related skills directly relevant to employment in the visual arts sector, such as visual arts writing and exhibition curation.

Film

The strong interrelationship between contemporary art and cinema is prominent in contemporary culture. Within the film element of your degree, you engage with cinema’s rich scope and history, from silent classics and mainstream Hollywood to world cinema and the avant-garde.

Kent is one of the three major universities in the UK for film studies, and one of the most highly regarded departments in Europe. Our modules cover film theory, history and practice, and topics such as national cinemas, animation, fantasy and pulp film.

We have a thriving film culture, with the Gulbenkian (regional art cinema) based on campus and a lively student film society. In addition, you have access to our new 62-seat cinema 'The Lupino', offering state-of-the-art digital projection and sound. 

Think Kent video series

Dr Grant Pooke, Senior Lecturer in History of Art, discusses the work and legacy of Brij Mohan Anand. A trenchant critic of both British Imperium and Indian militarism, BM Anand fashioned an exceptional range of work, from scratchboards, sketches, genre scenes, pastoral images and starkly modernist figure compositions to a series of late, apocalyptic landscapes.

Independent rankings

History of Art at Kent was ranked 8th for research quality in The Complete University Guide 2018 and 11th for course satisfaction in The Guardian University Guide 2018.

Media and Film Studies at Kent was ranked 3rd overall in The Guardian University Guide 2018. Communications and Media Studies at Kent was ranked 2nd for student satisfaction in The Complete University Guide 2018.

Teaching Excellence Framework

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

TEF Gold logo

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

Modules may include Credits

The module is intended as an introduction to the History of Art, as a body of visual artefacts and as an academic discipline. It is intended to be accessible to those with little or no previous experience, but also stimulating and informative to students with more background knowledge. The approach is chronological, focusing on a sequence of so termed 'canonical' works of art produced within the Western tradition. Such works provide a frame for introducing students to many of the basic analytical concepts and terms routinely deployed by art historians in describing, analysing and interpreting works of art: period, style, iconography, meaning, material/medium, technique, composition, creative process, representation, tradition, social function, patronage, genre etc

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The course introduces students to the language of film, from aspects of mise-en-scène (setting, performance, costumes, props, lighting, frame composition) to framing (camera movement, shot scale, lenses), sound (fidelity, volume, timbre) and editing (from requirements for spatial orientation through matches on action, eyeline matches and shot-reverse-shot structures to temporal manipulations through ellipsis and montage). The study of these elements enables students to understand the spatial and temporal construction of films, as well as the stylistic, expressive and/or dramatic functions of specific strategies

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This course aims to provide students with an introduction to aesthetics and the philosophy of art. The first part of the course focuses on some of the major texts in the history of the philosophy of art in the western tradition (e.g., Plato's Republic, Aristotle’s Poetics, Hume’s Of the Standard of Taste and Kant’s Critique of Judgement). The second part of the course focuses on central contemporary debates in the philosophy of art (e.g., What is Art? Artistic and Aesthetic Evaluation and the problem of forgery, Intention and Interpretation, Ethical criticism of art, Art and Emotion, Art and Feminism.) The student will be encouraged to see connections between the two parts of the module and to understand how contemporary debates (both philosophical and those found in the public opinion and art criticism) can be traced back to or even helpfully illuminated by old and contemporary philosophical debates.

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This course aims to provide students with an introduction to aesthetics and the philosophy of art. The first part of the course focuses on some of the major texts in the history of the philosophy of art in the western tradition (e.g., Plato's Republic, Aristotle’s Poetics, Hume’s Of the Standard of Taste and Kant’s Critique of Judgement). The second part of the course focuses on central contemporary debates in the philosophy of art (e.g., What is Art? Artistic and Aesthetic Evaluation and the problem of forgery, Intention and Interpretation, Ethical criticism of art, Art and Emotion, Art and Feminism.) The student will be encouraged to see connections between the two parts of the module and to understand how contemporary debates (both philosophical and those found in the public opinion and art criticism) can be traced back to or even helpfully illuminated by old and contemporary philosophical debates.

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This module provides students with a broad introduction to the history of photography over the first 150 years of its existence, together with some of the prehistory of the medium. It begins by looking at the origins and invention of photography, as well as reactions to, and early uses of, the medium. Following this background, a number of photographic genre are explored along with key contributors to their development. While the genre explored may change from year to year, the genre covered are likely to include portraiture, documentary photography and landscape photography, but the greatest focus will be given to the various styles and movements giving shape to the history of photographic art.

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This module provides students with a broad introduction to the history of photography over the first 150 years of its existence, together with some of the prehistory of the medium. It begins by looking at the origins and invention of photography, as well as reactions to, and early uses of, the medium. Following this background, a number of photographic genre are explored along with key contributors to their development. While the genre explored may change from year to year, the genre covered are likely to include portraiture, documentary photography and landscape photography, but the greatest focus will be given to the various styles and movements giving shape to the history of photographic art.

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This module approaches the "big questions" that have surrounded film and the moving image and puts them into historical context. Although specific topics will vary, representative topics may address competing definitions of film and its constitutive elements, the effects that cinema has on spectators, the social, cultural and political implications that moving images reproduce, and the status of the medium between art and entertainment. Students will debate seminal writings on the nature of film and bring their arguments to bear on exemplary film productions.

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This course examines film history and historiography through a series of case studies. In carrying out this investigation students will be invited to work with secondary and primary sources held in the library and will be encouraged to evaluate the aesthetic, technological, economic, social and political histories presented in this module. Students will understand the role and value of the contextual study of film and will be given the opportunity to research and write on selected aspects of film historiography. The choice of case studies will depend upon the expertise of the module convenor and is not restricted to a particular national cinema or period; case studies may include, for instance, the history of film by means of the study of a particular theme and cultural context in the history of film.

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Stage 2

Modules may include Credits

Many pictures, still and moving, in Western society and globally, in high art and demotic culture, incorporate sexual imagery and themes. This module will explore different aesthetic perspectives and theoretical approaches to such images, including those typically classified as pornography and erotica around which much of the existing philosophical literature focuses.

Here are some of the indicative questions this module will investigate:

• What is erotic art?

• In which respect and to what extent is it different from pornography?

• Is 'pornographic art' an oxymoron?

• What is the relation between erotic experience and aesthetic experience and are they at all compatible?

• What are the differences and similarities between voyeurism and aesthetic interest?

• What is the role of transgression in art?

• Are obscenity and art mutually exclusive?

To answer these questions certain fundamental issues in the philosophy of art will need to be addressed. We will therefore engage with current research on the definition of art, the nature of aesthetic value, aesthetic experience, aesthetic properties, the relation between art and morality, the psychology of picture perception, and the role of imagination in art. However, more is involved than just an abstract philosophical problem. The sexual and the erotic have often caused controversy in the history of art, and especially in the contemporary world of art (construed in the broadest sense) there are many works that consciously explore the boundaries between erotic art and pornography. Any investigation of our central theme would not be complete without a careful examination of such works. Thus, the module will draw on a variety of sources and disciplines (art history, film studies, literary theory, sociology and cultural theory) to study the sexually charged work of traditional, modern and contemporary artists, such as: Titian, Boucher, Courbet, Hokusai, Schiele, John Currin, Robert Mapplethorpe, Thomas Ruff, Nan Goldin, Larry Clark, Nagisa Oshima, Michael Winterbottom, Virginie Despentes, Nicholson Baker, Catherine Millet, Alan Moore.

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This module raises questions about the relationship between western and non-western cultural traditions. The course revolves around a series of discussions about 'encounters' between western and non-western traditions, as well as the appropriations from and differences between their traditions of representational and non-representational art. In examining the influences, appropriations and cross-fertilizations of western and non-western art and culture the course will also place these issues in a broader political and social history of the rise of nationalism, continental trade relations, advents of war, tourism, colonialism and imperialism.

It will look at the nature of 'dialogue' from a critical and art historical perspective, and thus also consider the terms and even the failures of dialogue between the west and non-western traditions; the exclusions, altercations, violations and marginalization of other cultures and their traditions.

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The course begins with an analysis of Raphael's frescoes in the Stanza della Segnatura of the Vatican Palace, as a means of introducing the key themes which will be considered throughout: proportion in architecture, the body and the geometry of vision; rhetoric, both verbal and visual, and the related concepts of variety, decorum, and composition; poetic inspiration, emulation and imitation; and the revival of antiquity. These themes are then reviewed as they occur in the writings of Leon Battista Alberti, the most evolved theoretical texts on the visual arts of the period. Alberti’s works raises the question of whether he was describing current practice or setting out an ideal, and also whether he was writing principally for artists or for their patrons? Alberti’s elevated claims for painting, architecture and, to a lesser extent, sculpture as liberal arts, are then compared with the contemporary status of artists, whether operating from a workshop or employed at court. The course continues by looking in detail at the works of four key Italian artists – Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Titian – to assess how far they engaged with, or departed from, the Albertian paradigm. Albrecht Dürer, a northern European artist excelling in the less "noble" medium of printmaking, but also profoundly interested in issues of perspective and proportion, is considered to provide a non-Italian point of view on the Renaissance. Interspersed with these studies of single artists lectures may consider in greater detail particular themes raised by these artists’ works, such as the extent of artists’ knowledge of anatomy, the influence of the ruins of Rome, the Renaissance ideal of love, the creation of new styles by transgressing architectural rules for playful effect or to achieve “grace”, and the development in Venice of the genre of pastoral landscape. Alternatively, the work of other major artists may be considered such as Correggio, Parmigianino, Bandinelli etc. Having, broadly speaking, covered the period 1470-1550 chronologically, the course concludes by looking at the mid sixteenth-century reassessment of these artistic achievements in the writings of Dolce, Varchi and Vasari.

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This innovative module examines artistic creation from historical, philosophical and practice-based perspectives. It examines topics such as the development of the idea of genius in ancient Greece and Renaissance Italy, the Romantic and Kantian conceptions of genius, and the "democratisation" of the notion, culminating in the idea that everyone has the capacity for artistic creativity, as expressed in the work of mid-twentieth century thinkers such as John Dewey and Erich Fromm. It looks at how the concepts of genius and creativity came under attack from “theory” later in the twentieth century, and considers the recent resurgence of interest in creativity, in academia and the broader culture. Students will also take part in exercises designed to foster artistic creativity. These will include a selection of approaches such as Surrealist, Bauhaus and Oulipo methods for encouraging creativity. These different perspectives will allow students to develop a well-rounded, critical and active understanding of the topic, and to understand – and perhaps develop – their own capacity for creativity.

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This module will explore the impact of Surrealism on the visual arts. It will focus in detail on a small group of key surrealist artists, such as Man Ray, Max Ernst, and Salvador Dali; while also, in order to understand the scope and definition of Surrealism, considering further artists in some detail who were associated with Surrealism but who denied that they were indeed surrealists, such as Frida Kahlo or Pavel Tchelitchew. In addition the module will survey the work of those artists formally associated with the Surrealist group, and the contribution of Dadaist precursors and contemporary artists who exercised a profound influence on Surrealism. While hardly feminist, Surrealism did provide a supportive forum for a number of innovative female artists, arguably enabling the artistic careers of more women than other avant-garde movements in the first half of the Twentieth Century. The relationship of women artists to Surrealism will, therefore, be a key theme of the course. Surrealism was not, however, principally a phenomenon of the visual arts, or a conventional artistic movement: the surrealists sought to reconnect moral and artistic forces, to achieve liberation through emotional intensification ('a systematic derangement of the senses'), and by this means to revolutionize society. They drew inspiration from Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytical theories to explore the workings of the unconscious and the ‘over-determined’ symbolism of dreams, and also what Gaston Bachelard called the new scientific spirit of the ‘why not’. Characteristic methods included pure psychic automatism, objective chance, the paranoiac-critical method, the double image, dislocation, and collage. Particularly at Level 6, this module will explore the broader implications of these surrealist themes, for example the question of whether myth is an expression of society, or constitutive of it, which was a key concern for the Surrealists. Indeed, André Breton described Surrealism as ‘a method of creating a collective myth’ in 1933. These thematic aspects of the module should make it an interesting wild option for students studying literature, twentieth-century history or cultural history, in addition to history of art students.

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This module will provide a critical survey of the problematic position of sculpture within the history of art: sculpture has often been seen as a lesser art form, subsidiary to architecture or inferior to painting, and lacking theoretical definition. Sculpture's monumental or cultic functions place it nearer to the idol or votive offering than to the 'work of art’ conceived of by aesthetic theories. At the beginning of the modern era Baudelaire dismissed sculpture as ‘boring’, and yet since the Second World War various developments have led to a situation where sculpture, more broadly conceived (often in relation to performance), is leading artistic developments. The module will explore this dynamic while also touching on several of the themes which have characterised the study and appreciation of sculpture (such as the relation of sight to touch, the absence or presence of colour, the materials of sculpture etc.). The work of a number of key artists will be discussed as representative case studies from across the history of art.

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This is a practice-based module exploring the photographic medium and the contexts of its use through the production of photographs in response to a project brief and group-based critical discussion of the work produced. Students investigate how the context in which photographs are made affect how the world is represented, and how in turn these images shape perception. Students choose three practical project briefs that are designed to enable them to explore the medium creatively and through informed and reflective practice. The emphasis of the module is upon this creative practice rather than the acquisition of specific technical skills, and as such students are at liberty to use any photographic production and post-production technologies they wish to experiment with or find appropriate. A camera phone and access to a computer and printer are all that is needed for this module, though students who wish to make use of digital image processing or analogue processes, including use of a darkroom, are encouraged to do so. Each of the practical project briefs will be supported through a series of lectures closely examining various genres, styles and other contexts of photographic production through the work of those who have shaped them. In addition students will present the work they have produced in response to their project briefs, and engage in a broad critical discussion or their own and other's work.

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This module seeks to investigate some of the most pressing ethical issues in contemporary media culture and the mediated arts. Topics may include: violence in video games, nudity on the screen and in advertising, anti-heroes and villains in fiction, propaganda and manipulation, sexism and racism in humor, shock value in the news and in contemporary art. To answer the many moral questions that arise in this context students will examine basic notions such as truth, objectification, voyeurism, exploitation, offence, harm, gender, and stereotype.

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This module will look at disability in the arts, covering theatre, film and visual art. The students will engage with the historical representation of disability within the arts and the way in which disability scholars have critically engaged with it. The students will also look at arts institutions (i.e. theatres, cinemas and galleries) and the disabling barriers within those institutions that prevent the full participation of people with impairments in the arts. This will culminate in an 'accessibility review', whereby the students analyse the adjustments made by arts institutions for people with impairments and the extent to which they are effective. Finally, the students will engage with examples of contemporary disabled artists whose impairments informs the aesthetic qualities of their work.

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This module provides an introduction to some key current industry practice surrounding working with actors. Students will explore the practice and ethics of the casting, as well as examining current UK and US industry trends and debates. The module also explores the role and expectations of the professional actor working in film. By practical and theoretical exploration of mainstream acting methodologies, and practitioners such as Stanislavski, Mamet and Meisner, students will develop practical skills and vocabularies for engaging productively with actors on shoots and in rehearsal. The module will also examine the practice of working with non-actors as performers, and scrutinise some more unconventional working methods espoused by directors who may include, but are not limited to, Mike Leigh, John Cassavetes, Ken Loach, Roberto Rossellini etc.

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Television is the most pervasive media form in daily life. In this introductory module students will look at the various historical, institutional and cultural factors that influence television production and programming. The module will examine a range of formats and genres (such as soap operas, sitcoms and 'reality TV') and students will gain critical understanding of the theoretical frameworks developed for their study. In addition, questions of target audiences (for example, children's programmes) and key debates (such as the role of a public service broadcaster) will be addressed.

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The module will focus on postwar American cinema. The cinema of the period will be placed within the historical, cultural, political and artistic developments taking place around it. Students will be encouraged to explore the generative relationships between cinema and these other phenomena. Topics to be discussed will include (but are not limited to) cinema and the Vietnam War, Watergate, the birth of American performance art, rise in popular culture, the influence of European art cinema, the growth of American independent filmmaking. Films will be chosen from those made inside and on the edges of Hollywood (Independent and avant-garde).

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In a country with a very strong literary and theatrical tradition, the British have also had a long-standing love of "going to the pictures." For more than a century, British filmmakers have been forging a rich and diverse national cinema in the face of Hollywood's dominance on British screens for most of that time. This course will offer an introductory historical overview of British cinema from its beginnings to the present day, assessing its role in the construction of British national identity, evaluating its major directors—including Carol Reed, Humphrey Jennings, Ken Loach, Mike Leigh and Terrence Davies. The films will be approached through multiple frameworks, including consideration of aesthetics (e.g. the question of realism), culture (e.g. gender and class), and history (e.g. questions of empire and modernity). The institution of cinema and film culture in a larger sense will be considered through the exploration of British film exhibition, criticism, cultural policy, and industry. Both fiction films and documentaries will be addressed with a particular focus on the urban experience. The cinematic city – London, in particular – will be discussed in relation to issues of memory and historicity.

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This course examines the mechanisms and conditions that facilitate and enhance transnational cultural flows. We will study how filmmakers actively franchise, adopt and rework film styles and genres. A genre or style initiated in one country can be quickly adopted in another, with filmmakers tailoring the genre or style to the tastes of local audiences. We will both analyse some of the generic conventions that these films foreground and/or transform and isolate some of the national subtleties that are only discernable to local audiences. As the number of co-productions continues to rise, critics and viewers feel perplexed, and sometimes even amused, in their attempts to discern and identify the nationality of a film. We will critically assess whether any limitations exist embedded in such a co-production strategy, which blurs and obscures the specificities of each nation-state involved. Finally, we will explore whether the changing mediascape – one of transnational, multi-media corporate conglomerate involvement in film production.

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This module will offer students the rare opportunity to examine in detail the work of a single director or a group of directors. It will thus enable students to acquire a more complex understanding of the issues at stake in the production, distribution, and reception of a specific body of film work. The module will also develop students' knowledge and understanding of the questions, theories and controversies, which have informed critical issues and theoretical debates on film authorship. It will thus appeal to students who wish to extend their skills in analysing film form, meaning, and practice in both a conceptual and a historical context. Furthermore, as the module will enable detailed consideration of what 'film directing’ is, as an artistic and cultural practice, in given contexts, it will be a very useful course to combine with the practical study of filmmaking.

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This module studies individual genres, which may vary across different academic terms (it may focus on the horror, science-fiction, western, musical, comedy, the noir or the gangster film, among others). It combines aesthetic and narrative analysis with the history of the genre. The theoretical framework draws from traditionally employed methods to study the genre in question (for example, psychoanalytical, postmodern or cognitive theory). The historical portion of the course examines the genre's growing commercial viability, the proliferation of subgenres, and the growing attention of academics. Topics include, but are not restricted to, gender politics, representations of sexuality, political commentary, allegory.

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This module addresses a series of documentary films in their historical context and in relation to the different modes of non-fiction filmmaking. Documentary narrative techniques including the use of archival footage, staged reconstructions of past events, and talking-head interviews, are investigated by means of close textual analysis and through a comparative approach to diverse documentary films. This module also explores the boundaries between fiction and non-fiction and, while articulating a definition of documentary film, it studies film forms that present an interplay between the two, such as Mockumentaries and Essay Films.

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Cinema has typically been conceived of as an essentially visual phenomenon – films, it is often said, are essentially moving pictures. Sound has, nevertheless, played an important role from the beginnings of cinema, a fact which has been acknowledged in the detailed historical, theoretical and critical work on film music, and film sound more generally, produced over the last decade. Sound and Cinema will provide an overview of this new field of research, and aim to provide students with a clearer understanding of and greater sensitivity to the soundtrack. The course will begin by setting up an introductory framework for the understanding of sound, which considers the relationship between music and other aspects of film sound (dialogue, voice-over, effects), as well as the nature of the relationship between image and sound. Subsequent sessions will consider the evolution of sound technology and its impact on the aural aesthetics of film; the use of classical and popular music in film scores; the emergence of sound designers, such as Walter Murch and Alan Splet, in contemporary cinema; and the distinctive and innovative use of sound and music by such diverse directors as Wim Wenders, Jean-Luc Godard, David Lynch, and William Raban.

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This module examines types of cinematic practice whose principal labels have been 'experimental', ‘avant-garde’, ‘underground’ and ‘independent’ – terms which overlap but which are by no means synonymous. It is concerned with traditions of cinema which have, more or less self-consciously, formulated radically different aesthetics from those of the orthodox feature film, in which narrative is either radically reshaped, or displaced altogether by other concerns. Throughout, the course will juxtapose films deriving from the historical avant-garde movements (like the European avant-garde of the 20s, or the post-war American scene) along with contemporary exponents of related forms of filmmaking. The first part of the course provides a conceptual and historical overview of avant-garde filmmaking in the C20th; subsequent weeks focus on specific topics, for example collage, landscape, experimental narrative, and the interaction between film, video and the new media.

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This module examines different forms of narrative and storytelling in cinema in order to place film narration within the tradition of the 'popular' arts. Understanding a film involves making sense not only of its story, its events and actions, but also of its storytelling, of the way in which we come to learn of these events and actions. This module examines the ways in which the specific means of representation of cinema transform a showing into a telling. It looks at theories of narrative in literature and film in relation to the different forms of narration and storytelling in cinema, focusing on questions of structure, reliability and temporality. The psychological and aesthetic role of narrative may be explored through a range of theories and analyses from within film studies and from other disciplines such as anthropology, literary studies, psychology and philosophy. The course will be taught through a series of case-studies using a wide range of films within American and world cinema.

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Year abroad

Going abroad as part of your degree is an amazing experience and a chance to develop personally, academically and professionally.  You experience a different culture, gain a new academic perspective, establish international contacts and enhance your employability. 

All students within the Faculty of Humanities can apply to spend a Term or Year Abroad as part of their degree at one of our partner universities in North America, Asia or Europe. You are expected to adhere to any progression requirements including achieving a merit at Stage 1 and Stage 2 to proceed to the Term or Year Abroad. 

The Term or Year abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and will not count towards your final degree classification. Places and destination are subject to availability, language and degree programme. To find out more, please see Go Abroad.

Stage 3

Modules may include Credits

This module will look at arts funding policy and public funding structures for the arts, including the formation of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and the Arts Council and its various models of operation since 1947 through to the present. This will serve to place productions from across the arts within the context of who makes policy and how it is formed, while acting as an introduction to arts funding and the application and measurement process. Students will gain an understanding of the structure of central, regional and local government in as much as they affect the arts. Trust and Foundations that support and nurture the arts are also explored in the context of how these can supplement and develop productions. Sponsorship and commercial involvement is looked at in the ways that this can be integrated into the package.

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The module gives School of Arts students across a range undergraduate programmes the opportunity to undertake a written independent research project at stage 3.

Students who wish to take the module must approach a permanent academic member of staff with a proposal, typically in advance of module registration, during the Spring term of the previous year. Students pick a research topic of their choice; however, students are only allowed to register for the module with the permission of a staff member who has agreed to supervise the project, and who has the expertise to do so. Potential supervisors must also ensure before they agree to supervise a project that the resources required to complete the project will be available to the student, and that adequate supervisory support will be available to the student throughout their study on the module.

Students will be supported in the preparation and submission of their work by their supervisor, although a central expectation of the module is that students will take increasing responsibility for their learning, consistent with expectations of Level 6 study.

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Students will engage in a work-based situation of their choice. The student will be responsible for finding the work-based situation, though support from the School and CES will be available. The internship should bear relevance to their subject of study or a career they expect to pursue upon graduation. The total of 300 hours will be divided as required for purposes of preparation, attendance of work placement and reflection/completion of required assessment.

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Films in certain genres, such as the Western, action film and martial arts film, are often gendered masculine, their powerful, active and typically violent male protagonists seen as representing masculinity. There is, however, also a long tradition of transgressive female protagonists in "male" genres, and this module investigates such characters. In addition to giving an overview of various types of transgressive female protagonists, the module explores in depth one or a few type(s) of transgressive female protagonist depending on the convenor's research interests. Case studies may include American action film, martial arts film, Blaxploitation/exploitation film, rape-revenge film, Western, crime film/television, film noir and horror in film and television. For example, in the action film the female protagonist’s display of power and strength may be seen as masculine, but she is often also portrayed with stereotypically feminine traits such as beauty and a sexy appearance. The female protagonist is thus often perceived as standing between the masculine and the feminine. Among the many questions triggered by transgressive female protagonists, this module might explore whether this character can and should be perceived as feminist or merely as exploitative, and how and why such protagonists may appeal to a female audience in particular.

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This interdisciplinary course will examine historical and current theoretical ideas and research on the ways in which art is created and perceived. Artforms that will be considered include visual arts (painting, sculpture, architecture, popular art), performing arts (dance and theater), music, and film. Readings will interface with subdisciplines of psychology such as perception, psychoaesthetics, neurophysiology, social psychology, and studies of emotion. Principal areas of focus will include aesthetics, arts-experimental design, perception of art, meaning in art, the psychology of the creative process, social and cultural issues, and the ramifications of arts-sciences research. The primary focus will be on Western art forms, though other world art traditions and aesthetics will be discussed. Assessment methods will test understanding through a summary and critical reflection on a selected text and the proposal, research, and design and oral presentation of a potential interdisciplinary research project.

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This module will provide a critical survey of the problematic position of sculpture within the history of art: sculpture has often been seen as a lesser art form, subsidiary to architecture or inferior to painting, and lacking theoretical definition. Sculpture's monumental or cultic functions place it nearer to the idol or votive offering than to the 'work of art’ conceived of by aesthetic theories. At the beginning of the modern era Baudelaire dismissed sculpture as ‘boring’, and yet since the Second World War various developments have led to a situation where sculpture, more broadly conceived (often in relation to performance), is leading artistic developments. The module will explore this dynamic while also touching on several of the themes which have characterised the study and appreciation of sculpture (such as the relation of sight to touch, the absence or presence of colour, the materials of sculpture etc.). The work of a number of key artists will be discussed as representative case studies from across the history of art.

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This module will explore the impact of Surrealism on the visual arts. It will focus in detail on a small group of key surrealist artists, such as Man Ray, Max Ernst, and Salvador Dali; while also, in order to understand the scope and definition of Surrealism, considering further artists in some detail who were associated with Surrealism but who denied that they were indeed surrealists, such as Frida Kahlo or Pavel Tchelitchew. In addition the module will survey the work of those artists formally associated with the Surrealist group, and the contribution of Dadaist precursors and contemporary artists who exercised a profound influence on Surrealism. While hardly feminist, Surrealism did provide a supportive forum for a number of innovative female artists, arguably enabling the artistic careers of more women than other avant-garde movements in the first half of the Twentieth Century. The relationship of women artists to Surrealism will, therefore, be a key theme of the course. Surrealism was not, however, principally a phenomenon of the visual arts, or a conventional artistic movement: the surrealists sought to reconnect moral and artistic forces, to achieve liberation through emotional intensification ('a systematic derangement of the senses'), and by this means to revolutionize society. They drew inspiration from Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytical theories to explore the workings of the unconscious and the ‘over-determined’ symbolism of dreams, and also what Gaston Bachelard called the new scientific spirit of the ‘why not’. Characteristic methods included pure psychic automatism, objective chance, the paranoiac-critical method, the double image, dislocation, and collage. Particularly at Level 6, this module will explore the broader implications of these surrealist themes, for example the question of whether myth is an expression of society, or constitutive of it, which was a key concern for the Surrealists. Indeed, André Breton described Surrealism as ‘a method of creating a collective myth’ in 1933. These thematic aspects of the module should make it an interesting wild option for students studying literature, twentieth-century history or cultural history, in addition to history of art students.

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This innovative module examines artistic creation from historical, philosophical and practice-based perspectives. It examines topics such as the development of the idea of genius in ancient Greece and Renaissance Italy, the Romantic and Kantian conceptions of genius, and the "democratisation" of the notion, culminating in the idea that everyone has the capacity for artistic creativity, as expressed in the work of mid-twentieth century thinkers such as John Dewey and Erich Fromm. It looks at how the concepts of genius and creativity came under attack from “theory” later in the twentieth century, and considers the recent resurgence of interest in creativity, in academia and the broader culture. Students will also take part in exercises designed to foster artistic creativity. These will include a selection of approaches such as Surrealist, Bauhaus and Oulipo methods for encouraging creativity. These different perspectives will allow students to develop a well-rounded, critical and active understanding of the topic, and to understand – and perhaps develop – their own capacity for creativity.

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The course begins with an analysis of Raphael's frescoes in the Stanza della Segnatura of the Vatican Palace, as a means of introducing the key themes which will be considered throughout: proportion in architecture, the body and the geometry of vision; rhetoric, both verbal and visual, and the related concepts of variety, decorum, and composition; poetic inspiration, emulation and imitation; and the revival of antiquity. These themes are then reviewed as they occur in the writings of Leon Battista Alberti, the most evolved theoretical texts on the visual arts of the period. Alberti’s works raises the question of whether he was describing current practice or setting out an ideal, and also whether he was writing principally for artists or for their patrons? Alberti’s elevated claims for painting, architecture and, to a lesser extent, sculpture as liberal arts, are then compared with the contemporary status of artists, whether operating from a workshop or employed at court. The course continues by looking in detail at the works of four key Italian artists – Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Titian – to assess how far they engaged with, or departed from, the Albertian paradigm. Albrecht Dürer, a northern European artist excelling in the less "noble" medium of printmaking, but also profoundly interested in issues of perspective and proportion, is considered to provide a non-Italian point of view on the Renaissance. Interspersed with these studies of single artists lectures may consider in greater detail particular themes raised by these artists’ works, such as the extent of artists’ knowledge of anatomy, the influence of the ruins of Rome, the Renaissance ideal of love, the creation of new styles by transgressing architectural rules for playful effect or to achieve “grace”, and the development in Venice of the genre of pastoral landscape. Alternatively, the work of other major artists may be considered such as Correggio, Parmigianino, Bandinelli etc. Having, broadly speaking, covered the period 1470-1550 chronologically, the course concludes by looking at the mid sixteenth-century reassessment of these artistic achievements in the writings of Dolce, Varchi and Vasari.

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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.

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This module raises questions about the relationship between western and non-western cultural traditions. The course revolves around a series of discussions about 'encounters' between western and non-western traditions, as well as the appropriations from and differences between their traditions of representational and non-representational art. In examining the influences, appropriations and cross-fertilizations of western and non-western art and culture the course will also place these issues in a broader political and social history of the rise of nationalism, continental trade relations, advents of war, tourism, colonialism and imperialism.

It will look at the nature of 'dialogue' from a critical and art historical perspective, and thus also consider the terms and even the failures of dialogue between the west and non-western traditions; the exclusions, altercations, violations and marginalization of other cultures and their traditions.

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Many pictures, still and moving, in Western society and globally, in high art and demotic culture, incorporate sexual imagery and themes. This module will explore different aesthetic perspectives and theoretical approaches to such images, including those typically classified as pornography and erotica around which much of the existing philosophical literature focuses.

Here are some of the indicative questions this module will investigate:

• What is erotic art?

• In which respect and to what extent is it different from pornography?

• Is 'pornographic art' an oxymoron?

• What is the relation between erotic experience and aesthetic experience and are they at all compatible?

• What are the differences and similarities between voyeurism and aesthetic interest?

• What is the role of transgression in art?

• Are obscenity and art mutually exclusive?

To answer these questions certain fundamental issues in the philosophy of art will need to be addressed. We will therefore engage with current research on the definition of art, the nature of aesthetic value, aesthetic experience, aesthetic properties, the relation between art and morality, the psychology of picture perception, and the role of imagination in art. However, more is involved than just an abstract philosophical problem. The sexual and the erotic have often caused controversy in the history of art, and especially in the contemporary world of art (construed in the broadest sense) there are many works that consciously explore the boundaries between erotic art and pornography. Any investigation of our central theme would not be complete without a careful examination of such works. Thus, the module will draw on a variety of sources and disciplines (art history, film studies, literary theory, sociology and cultural theory) to study the sexually charged work of traditional, modern and contemporary artists, such as: Titian, Boucher, Courbet, Hokusai, Schiele, John Currin, Robert Mapplethorpe, Thomas Ruff, Nan Goldin, Larry Clark, Nagisa Oshima, Michael Winterbottom, Virginie Despentes, Nicholson Baker, Catherine Millet, Alan Moore.

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The module explores storytelling in fictional television series, and how the long duration of these series changes the spectator's engagement, as compared to engagement in the relatively short fiction film. Furthermore, this module focuses on case studies in order to investigate their narrative, stylistic and thematic characteristics, their specific genre conventions and their background in television history. Case studies may include The Sopranos, The Wire, Breaking Bad and Madmen in an inquiry into the narrative as well as moral complexity of this recent, so-called quality trend of American drama television series, and the emerging genre convention of the antihero. The module also addresses how various types of television series have been valued in critical reception through the history of television. For example, in relation to the case studies mentioned above, the module may examine critically the implications of the oft-used label 'Quality TV’ and the HBO slogan ‘It’s not TV, it’s HBO’. In addition to introducing the students to current developments in television studies, this module takes a film theoretical, narratological approach to current television series, and trains students in various approaches to the study of television series in and beyond television studies proper.

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This module will investigate "the Gothic" as a significant and recurring cycle within Hollywood film with recognisable tropes and themes, and a dominant tone and style. Beginning with the 1940s cycle of “Women's Gothic” which emerged at the same time as Film Noir, and visually and thematically overlapped with it, the module will explore the particularly filmic ways that such texts manage to evoke the menacing atmosphere and the tone of sexualised danger and suspense achieved by the Gothic’s source novels and short stories. Continuing from the original cycle of films, the module will examine later Hollywood films that have employed the themes and imagery of the Gothic to tap into similar complex anxieties and desires, before inspecting films from other cinemas (for example, those of Europe or Asia) which also make use of the dominant Gothic tropes.

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This course introduces students to the history and theory of film criticism, emphasising the coexistence of different approaches to the analysis, evaluation and appreciation of film. The module will also have a practical aspect, offering students the opportunity to write critical pieces on the films screened for the class. In addition to traditional lectures and seminars, some sessions will be devoted to writing and to analysing fellow students' work. Participants will also be encouraged to reflect critically on different media of film criticism (newspapers, magazines, academic journals, the internet, television) and on the current state of film criticism.

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This course probes issues of extreme cinema, i.e., ‘arthouse’ films which, because of violent, sexual, or other iconoclastic content, form or style, have created critical or popular controversy. Representative topics include the aesthetics of violence and the ethics of representing and viewing pain, boundaries between erotic art and exploitation, disgust and the ‘unwatchable’, authorial performance and resistant spectatorship, reception studies and censorship.

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A huge number of films and television programmes are adapted from other sources, and adaptation frequently arouses powerful responses from viewers and critics. This course explores the phenomenon of screen adaptations. There will be an emphasis on adaptations of literature to film and television, but the course also covers adaptations from theatre and other media. Students will watch a variety of film and television adaptations taken from classic novels, short stories, plays, modern novels and other sources, and in many cases we will also discuss the sources themselves. Therefore this course will appeal to students with eclectic interests, particularly those who enjoy literature, film and television. This course will provide an overview of adaptation studies, by addressing the particular questions that relate to adaptation, considering different approaches to the subject and debating the most contentious questions in the field. It will also open up discussion about the specificity and aesthetics of film and television as they are compared with other media. Students will investigate the connections and differences between distinct media, focusing on key features such as the manipulation of time and space, characterisation, point of view, style, voice, interpretation and evaluation. The course will also give them the chance to explore how film and television deal with 'literary' devices such as syntax, allusion, metaphor and tense. Students will thus be exploring aspects of filmic and televisual representation that are ordinarily overlooked in the mainstream of film studies, enhancing our understanding of those media. Within the remit of the course, there will be opportunities for students to develop their own interests within the subject area, and to address new questions and problems in the field.

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The module primarily focuses on contemporary digital filmmaking practices and film viewing. The first section of the module introduces trick cinema, special effects, the digital intermediate, and a range of computer generated images to explore the different opportunities these offer for manipulating space, constructing narratives and aesthetic innovation. The second section of the module more explicitly engages with a range of theoretical frameworks in order to think about how digital technologies alter our understanding of film, its relationships with other media, and the ways in which we participate in film culture.

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Animation is a term covering a diverse range of forms, and this module introduces cel-

animation, stop-motion puppetry, abstract animation, as well as computer-generated cartoons and features (including animated documentaries) to explore the animated form. The first section of the module introduces different styles through a study of Disney and Warner Bros cartoons, the stop-motion animations of the Quay Bros, TV Anime, abstract music animation and web-based animation. The second section of the module uses a range of critical approaches to explore contemporary feature length animations from different national contexts.

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This module explores the contribution made to the study of film, and related artforms such as still photography, music and multimedia, by the cluster of disciplines commonly put under the umbrella of 'cognitive theory.' Cognitive theory emerged in the 1950s with the groundbreaking linguistic research of Noam Chomsky, who demonstrated that linguistic competence depended on innate mental capacities, and that certain universal grammatical norms underlie and unify the variety of languages. Since then, research on a wide variety of aspects of human cognition has been undertaken, taking its cue from Chomsky – on emotion, visual and aural perception, metaphor, and narrative understanding, among many other areas. And since the 1980s, a distinct approach within film studies – cognitive film theory – has emerged, which sets the study of film within this context. The module examines the way in which cognitive film theorists have taken up and developed ideas from the wider tradition of cognitive research, and the debates and controversies that have subsequently arisen betweeen cognitive film theorists and exponents of other approaches to film.

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This module examines the way New York has been used as a site for filmmaking, looking at the history of the production of films in and about the city, and as a vital centre of film culture -- not just of filmmaking, but also exhibition and film criticism. The module considers questions of modernity, the avant-garde practice in New York during the 1950s and 60s, and the city's representation in mainstream Hollywood productions. The work on New York and film will be contextualised within a cultural history of the city, with a dual emphasis on narratives of immigration and the city as the post-war centre of the world art market.

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From mainstream media franchises to experimental video, contemporary moving images are now typically transmedial, existing in different forms and across different platforms: for example, the Marvel universe includes comic books, films (released in cinemas and VoD), games, and VR experiences. The multiplicity of platforms on which consumers now engage with media provides multiple opportunities for mainstream media to monetize content. But it also provides individual media-makers with the opportunity to reach new audiences and create media that can be experienced across multiple devices. The module explores different models for transmedial content, and offers a critical perspective on how media exist across different formats. It also introduces students to various practical techniques for extending their media work into a transmedia context (for example, by engaging with social media or developing interactive websites).

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Teaching and assessment

All modules are assessed by coursework – essays, presentations, image or text analyses and other module-related activities. This approach to assessment helps you to develop an in-depth knowledge of topics within modules that are most interesting and relevant to your study, and to acquire a wide range of generic and transferable skills.

Our programmes emphasise a close working relationship with students. The academic adviser system ensures that all of our students have access to a designated tutor for pastoral support and academic guidance throughout their time at Kent.

All modules include weekly lectures and small group seminars, but a distinctive feature is that many modules involve visits to London galleries, overseas visits to museums and other out-of-classroom activities. Helping students to acquire independence of thought and the skills of autonomous study are central to our teaching ethos.

Programme aims

For programme aims and learning outcomes please see the programmes specification for each subject below. Please note that outcomes will depend on your specific module selection:

Careers

At Kent, we take the commitment to supporting and preparing our students for life after university very seriously. A degree in Art History enables you to explore the history, meaning and nature of the visual arts, while also providing the skills for a career in the arts industries and elsewhere.

Career options include museum curation, options in heritage and tourism, working as an archivist and art historian; art librarianship; arts shipping and insurance; arts therapy; auctioneering; craft studio workshop management; community arts/project development work; art dealing and brokerage; gallery work; heritage management; independent curation/art consulting; journalism; picture/provenance researching and photography.

You have the opportunity to undertake an internship and we offer all our students support with their CVs and personal statements. In this way, the degree offers both a strong grounding in the foundations of art historical study and an expansive approach to developing career skills.

Recent Film graduates have gone on to careers in film and television industries, arts organisations, university and school teaching, local government and business, or to pursue postgraduate academic and practical film courses. In the last few years, students have gone on to take up positions such as film journalists, film/TV archivists and roles in marketing and distribution.

Independent rankings

For graduate prospects, History of Art at Kent was ranked 9th in The Complete University Guide 2018.

Of Film Studies students who graduated from Kent in 2016, over 95% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

BBB

Access to HE Diploma

The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 15 points at HL

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

Fees

The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £15700
Part-time £4625 £7850

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Fees for Year in Industry

For 2019/20 entrants, the standard year in industry fee for home, EU and international students is £1,385

Fees for Year Abroad

UK, EU and international students on an approved year abroad for the full 2019/20 academic year pay £1,385 for that year. 

Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 

Additional costs

There may be some additional costs related to the subjects studied in this programme. Please see the Additional costs section for each subject below. Please note that these may vary depending on your specific module selection:

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

Scholarships

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either Mathematics or a Modern Foreign Language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

Full-time

Part-time

The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. 

Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact information@kent.ac.uk.