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Unit information: Art and Memory (Level M Lecture Response Unit) in 2015/16

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Unit name Art and Memory (Level M Lecture Response Unit)
Unit code HARTM0030
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Dent
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History of Art (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

Images are a way of remembering that which is no longer present. Amongst the many myths about the origins of art, several of the most moving involve the making of an effigy to act as a substitute for an absent lover. Through works of art, the fickle and ephemeral images in our memories can be given permanent presence in the external world. Conversely, the process of forgetting often involves the physical destruction of images in order to enable the erasure of a memory that we no longer wish to recall. But the relationship between art and memory goes deeper than this. From the ancient world onwards, the skill of remembering itself has been constructed around the sophisticated creation of mental images. Not only do these artificial techniques permit great feats of memory, they also underpin the creative recombination of knowledge. This in turn has shaped the history of the image itself. This course will trace some of the significant steps in the relationship between art and memory and will reflect on the ongoing role that visual culture in all its forms continues to play in memorialisation in the modern world.

Intended Learning Outcomes

1) To provide students with a detailed understanding of the relationship between art and memory.

2) To place students in direct contact with the current research interests of the academic tutor and to enable them to explore the issues surrounding the state of research in the field.

3) To develop students’ ability to work with primary sources relating to this field and produce a research-led essay based on such sources.

4) To develop students’ abilities to integrate primary source material into a wider art historical and historiographical analysis.

5) To develop students’ ability to learn independently within a group context.

Teaching Information

1 x 2-hour interactive lecture per week.

Assessment Information

One summative coursework essay of 5000 words (100%). This will assess ILOs 2-5.

Reading and References

F. Yates, The Art of Memory, London, 1966 M. Carruthers, The Book of Memory: A Study of Memory in Medieval Culture, 2nd ed., Cambridge, 2008 H. Weinrich, Lethe: The Art and Critique of Forgetting, Ithaca, 2004 M. Bettini, The Portrait of the Lover, trans. Laura Gibbs, Berkeley, 1999 R. Bevan, The Destruction of Memory: Architecture at War, London, 2006