BA Curatorial Studies
Our new BA Curatorial Studies degree provides you with the expert knowledge and practical skills for pursuing
careers in curating, gallery management and museums and combines class-based learning with hands-on experience.
Essex Art History is part of the School of Philosophy and Art History, a
community of academics sharing a common project of researching and teaching
art and ideas. Founded in 1967, we have long been recognised for our
expertise across a wide range of areas in the history and theory of art,
including the Renaissance, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European art,
modern and contemporary art, curating and art from Latin America.
We have recently ranked 5th in the UK for Art History by the
authoritative Times Good University Guide, and we are ranked 6th among art
history departments in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014). We offer a wide range of courses for
undergraduates, taught postgraduates
and doctoral research students in an environment
that emphasises collaboration and collegiality for research and teaching.
During the past decade we have been home to five major
funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), looking at topics
such as photography, surrealism and Latin American art.
Essex Art History
Essex Art History features a dynamic group of art historians who
investigate the production and reception of images and built environments,
across cultures and media from the early modern period to the present. While
we adopt a diverse range of approaches in our writing and teaching, our work
demonstrates a commitment to three key ideas:
The social and political implications of art, architecture, and visual
All forms of visual culture – from paintings to building interiors, from
medical imagery to tattoos – emerge from and contribute to the mediation of
social and political forces. Scholars at Essex investigate the role of art,
architecture, and other forms of visual culture in the assertion,
negotiation, and contestation of power in relation to a variety of topics.
These include the planning of tyrants’ cities in the Italian Renaissance;
the entanglement of the historical avant-garde with the politics of Fascism;
and the production of objects by contemporary activists in pursuit of social
change. Throughout our work, we emphasise issues of autonomy, agency,
dissent, and the contestation of the public realm.
Space, place, and locale
Art historians at Essex are strongly concerned with the
conceptualisation, production, experience, and representation of spaces and
places. We investigate topics that include the ideologies that drive urban
change; architectural metaphors in software design; the fusion of real and
imaginary places in religious paintings; the design of exhibition spaces and
the implications of curatorial practice; and the varied locales and
landscapes of the county of Essex itself.
Art produced beyond its historic institutions
We are committed to bringing the approaches of art history into contact
with other disciplines and discourses in order to interrogate objects of our
shared visual and material culture, including body art, wax casts, activist
placards, and Fascist floor mosaics. Our transdisciplinary approach
facilitates critical engagement with an array of artworks and visual culture
that stand both within and beyond the traditional canons of art history.
More about us
Centre for Curatorial Studies
Essex Collection of Art from Latin America
Our Colchester Campus is also home to the
Art Exchange gallery which runs a programme of exhibitions and talks,
and other events as well as hosting exhibitions organised by our
Centre for Curatorial Studies students.
firstsite is a
large and iconic exhibition venue in the centre of Colchester
and runs an ongoing programme of contemporary art exhibitions,
as well as film screenings, talks and music events.
Seminars and events
Throughout the year, we run an exciting programme of events, including
art history seminars, with speakers invited from across the UK and
abroad, as well as from our School. We also host our annual
organised by our postgraduates, alongside a variety of other workshops and
Art works on our website
We would like to thank
waterside contemporary, London for permission to reproduce the following
artwork in the banner area of our website:
We would also like to thank Essex Collection of art from Latin America
(ESCALA) for permission to reproduce the following artworks from their
collection on our website:
- Raúl Piña,
Doble eclipse de luna
(1998), © the artist, image courtesy of ESCALA.
- León Ferrari,
(1980-2000), © the artist, image courtesy of ESCALA.
- Jorge Luis Macchi,
(1996), © the artist, image courtesy of ESCALA.
- Regina José Galindo,
Lesson of dissection (2011), © the artist, image courtesy of
Undergraduate study in art history at Essex offers a unique combination of the historical and theoretical study of art, visual culture and
curating from the renaissance to the present.
We are internationally recognised as a leading centre of postgraduate study in art history and curatorial studies, both at Masters and PhD level.
By undertaking PhD study at Essex, you will become a member of an exciting and active research community, and benefit from the expert supervision of
our internationally recognised staff.