MA Public Opinion and Political Behaviour
MA Curating options

Year 1, Component 06

Art History option
AR915-7-AU
Collecting Art From Latin America
(20 CREDITS)

Get valuable real-life experience of the unique holdings at Essex Collection of Art from Latin America’s (ESCALA). As well as discussing and analysing artworks from the collection, take on the exciting challenge of proposing a new acquisition for ESCALA. Whilst the task is hypothetical, if the committee decides to pursue the acquisition, you could be credited for your contribution.

AR937-7-AU
Art and Politics
(20 CREDITS)

Can the rise of Donald Trump and the emboldening of the new right across the West be read partly as the result of a collective failure of cultural production? Despite the forces of institutional fine art mobilising against Trump and the ideologies which brought him to power, the constituencies whom he claims to represent remain solidly unmoved. In the face of these failures, what is the role of political art? How can contemporary political artists respond to politics today? And indeed, we must ask: is political art ever effective in driving social change?

AR938-7-SP
Topics in Art History
(20 CREDITS)

Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) is known as both the most important sculptor of the nineteenth century and the first modern sculptor. This module will examine his work in detail in order not only to gain an understanding of the oeuvre of this prolific artist but also to consider some of the general issues that pervade the study of sculpture. Even though Rodin is one of the most well-known artists in the world today, we will de-familiarise his work in order to see what lessons it might teach us about the history of art.

AR941-7-AU
Critique and Curating
(20 CREDITS)

Want to do more than hang pretty pictures on a pleasantly coloured wall? Then take this module to learn how curators and designers from the 1920s onward have turned exhibition spaces into site of social and political critique -- a practice now often subsumed under the concept of ‘critical curating’. Organised chronologically, the module gives you the chance to hone your understanding of the complex relationship between critique and curating, generally by situating major exhibitions and paradigmatic curatorial concept in relation to key texts of critical theory.

AR942-7-SP
Museum Activism: Art, Politics, Cultural Work and Policy
(20 CREDITS)

What is the relationship between activist art and art galleries? Is the museum really a public sphere, or even a progressive cultural space? How is this space shaped by policy, the market, protest? How much power do curators have to shape culture? Is everyone with an Instagram account a curator now? Each week we will study the changing role of museums and galleries in the twentieth century at the macro- and micro-level: by placing critical theories of the ‘public sphere’ alongside key historical cultural policy documents and case studies of both exhibitions and particular display rhetorics used by exhibitions, from taxidermy to projection-mapping. We will also take a broad view on curatorial work and its social context. We will ask: What is curatorial labour?; how has it changed?; did it exist before or outside of the specific workplace of the museum?; and how has it shaped the museum and society? What is the role and responsibility of a curator today? We will explore how these changing spaces and forms of work, inside and outside the museum, are able to direct, shape or contribute to political and social issues.

AR959-7-SP
Heritage and Human Rights
(20 CREDITS)

This module will explore how conflicts over 'heritage' rights are, today more than ever, influencing critical debates over the definition of world, national, and local heritage, as well as universal, community, and individual rights. It will also examine the impact that tensions between communities and universal versus local values have on the management of heritage, and how these tensions might be resolved to allow sustainable growth. We will ask: What is heritage? Who defines it? Who should control its management and preservation? How is the notion of 'heritage' used to unite or otherwise divide communities? What are some of the consequences of the ways different groups appropriate and utilise heritage? Is there a universal right to free access, expression, and preservation of heritage, and if so, how is it expressed? What are the impacts of globalisation on heritage issues?

CS315-7-AU
Global Challenges in Interdisciplinary Perspective: Water Conflicts, Water Cultures
(20 CREDITS)

Access to water is one of the most urgent global challenges facing us today. Vital for health and well-being, as well as integral to indigenous cultures and industrial processes, water is a threatened commons and contested commodity. In this module, we will explore global and local case studies that highlight challenges of scarcity, contamination, privatization, and climate change, and the cultural importance of bodies of water for diverse communities. We will examine water-related problems, such as economic and urban development, grassroots activism, political conflict, community relations, heritage and public health.

PY954-7-SP
Philosophy and Aesthetics
(20 CREDITS)

This module is dedicated to the theoretical reflection on aesthetic practices and objects and their history (from artworks to the aesthetic strategies of protest movements). We will also consider what is distinctive about relating aesthetically to one's life, social world, or art. The module examines why aesthetic practices and experiences play such a central role in continental thought from Kant and Hegel to Adorno and Rancière. This Autumn term, among the questions to be discussed will be the following: What is modern aesthetics? How to conceive of the relationship between art/aesthetics and politics? How can one tell apart progressive/emancipatory aesthetic-political strategies from regressive ones (such as Nazi and Stalinist aesthetics)? What are the aesthetic-political strategies deployed by political activists and how do they work? In what sense can aesthetic practices and experiences (and the theoretical reflection on them) be critical? Are aesthetic practices part and parcel of freedom? What is the role and place of aesthetics in democratic life?

SC519-7-AU
Advertising: Commerce and Creativity
(20 CREDITS)

How has advertising tried to understand the consumer? What challenges are posed by international advertising? Or by the arrival of new media and alternative delivery systems? Explore the history of advertising in Britain and North America, then learn how to analyse and theorise about advertising and the wider creative industries.

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