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Unit information: Text and Image (Level M Lecture Response Unit) in 2021/22

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Unit name Text and Image (Level M Lecture Response Unit)
Unit code HARTM0035
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Brockington
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

When the historian Jaś Elsner claimed that Art History ‘is nothing other than ekphrasis’ (that is, the art of writing about art), he sparked a debate about the relationship between words and images, and how we use language to describe our experience of art. This unit explores that relationship in the work of artists and writers who were closely associated as friends or collaborators; who made 'literary' pictures, or wrote 'visual' poems and stories; and who illustrated texts, or sliced through the physical material of a book in order to create a sculptural work of art. We will put such examples of creative practice alongside the ideas of art historians who have thought critically about the nature of the relationship, and how far it can be taken; and we will make space for our own interpretations of texts and images, and the ways in which they work together. The period under discussion will focus on the C19th and C20th, looking mainly at literature in English, and at art from Europe and America. Artists/ writers and topics may include: the visionary art of William Blake; Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the 'double work of art'; Walter Crane and his illustrations for children; the friendship between Henry James and John Singer Sargent; Virginia Woolf and post-impressionism; Cubism and 'concrete poetry'; and Frank O'Hara amongst the artists of New York.

Intended Learning Outcomes

1) To provide students with a thorough understanding of the evolving relationship between text and image in art.

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

Classes will involve a combination of discussion, investigative activities, and practical activities. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis. This will be further supported with drop-in sessions and self-directed exercises with tutor and peer feedback.

Assessment Information

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


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How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.