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The past, and the visual art it has bequeathed to us, continues to fascinate. This is richly evident in media productions, the thriving heritage sector, and record visitor numbers to galleries and museums. This wide-ranging BA in History of Art and History will take you from the ancient world through to the present day.
You will explore social, cultural, intellectual and political histories, and develop your understanding of visual culture within those contexts. You will acquire the analytical skills and critical approaches that enable you to investigate both texts and images for yourself, and to develop your competence in visual perception and historical interpretation.
While some of our students have studied art history and/or history at school or have completed short courses, most haven’t studied these subjects 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 disciplines. As you progress through the course, you will have opportunities to explore different historical periods, themes and topics and different types of visual culture in more detail – from buildings to installations, sculpture to digital media, paintings to photography.
This course is also available for full-time evening study over three yearsand part-time evening study over four years.
- 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.
- 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.
- You will benefit from small, highly interactive classes, alongside students of different ages and from various walks of life. You can take advantage of field trips, including an annual visit to a European city, which takes place in the Easter vacation. We offer information eveningsfor prospective students interested in our History of Art programmes throughout the year.
- 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.
- As a student here, you’ll be invited to a dynamic range of events, many of which are organised through our research centres, including the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre, Architecture, Space and Society Network, Vasari Research Centre for Art and Technology, the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, the Raphael Samuel History Centre, the Institute of Historical Researchand the Institute of Classical Studies. These give you access to some of the foremost figures in the discipline, and insight into the most recent and up-to-date research.
- 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.