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The BA History of Art at Birkbeck offers you the chance to study all kinds of artworks, from buildings to installations, sculpture to digital media, paintings to photography. You will take a range of courses, from medieval to contemporary art, learning how to place artworks within their historical and cultural context, and to think more broadly about the role of images within society. If you are contemplating a career in the arts, this course will give you the chance to develop a range of key skills, from critical thinking and writing, to effective visual analysis.
While some of our students have studied art history at school or have completed short courses, most haven’t studied the subject in any depth prior to starting this course. The first-year modules are therefore intended to provide you with academic skills and a good grounding in the discipline. As you progress through the course, you will have opportunities to explore different types of visual culture in more detail. Studying at Birkbeck you are based in the heart of London, close to museums and galleries, while being part of a vibrant and stimulating student community.
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- Arts and humanities at Birkbeck are ranked fifth best in London, 18th in the UK and 87th globally in the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject.
- Established almost half a century ago, Birkbeck’s Department of History of Art is an internationally respected centre for research and teaching. Keep up to date with our activities on the Birkbeck History of Art blog. We offer information evenings for prospective students interested in our History of Art programmes throughout the year. As well as regular gallery and museum visits, we offer an exciting study trip abroad every spring.
- In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Art and Design at Birkbeck achieved 100% for a research environment supporting world-leading or internationally excellent research.
- We have a state-of-the-art cinema and exhibition spaces, all housed in a historic building that was a former home to key members of the Bloomsbury Group, including the author Virginia Woolf and the artist Vanessa Bell. See a video about our home in Gordon Square.
- Students are encouraged to become involved in the lively research culture of the Department through the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre, the Architecture, Space and Society Centre and the Vasari Research Centre, which has pioneered the field of digital art history.
- The School of Arts is an official partner of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London. Opportunities for students have included a year’s free membership of the ICA, private views, discounts on all talks and events, free members’ screenings and £3 cinema tickets on Tuesdays, up to 25% off ICA Artists’ Editions and a monthly e-newsletter.