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The University of Southampton

ARTD1113 Contemporary Issues

Module Overview

The module is designed to provide knowledge and skills necessary for the critical development of well-informed contemporary art. It explores how practice is informed by context and theory.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • a range of contemporary issues, contexts and practices:
  • aspects of the interaction between theory and practice:
  • a range of methods for critically reflecting on your own practice.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • identify appropriate research material from library, digital and exhibition sources;
  • evaluate relationships between context, theory and practice;
  • generate concepts for your own practice in relation to current debates.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • develop a written argument using a clear, coherent structure;
  • observe appropriate academic referencing;
  • articulate evidence-based conclusions.


This module is designed to extend and expand upon the critical skills you are developing in your studio practice by examining contemporary art in broader cultural and historical contexts. It examines major concepts and key positions and assesses the relevance and significance of differing perspectives in art. The lectures explore key themes in contemporary art through specific examples and related texts, examining the themes historically and through the relationships between contemporary art and contemporary visual culture..

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • lectures Learning activities include • lectures • group discussion • peer-group learning • self-evaluation Relationship between the teaching, learning and assessment methods and the planned learning outcomes In this module learning and teaching activities focus on helping you to investigate, question and analyse the nature of contemporary art contexts, its theory and how this influences practice, including your own. Feedback on your progress and development will be given in group discussions. Informal feedback will provide opportunities for peer-group learning and self-evaluation. The summative assessment will be by way of an illustrated 2,000-word essay

Completion of assessment task24
Wider reading or practice92
Preparation for scheduled sessions10
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Marí B and Schaeffer Jean-Marie Eds (1998). Think Art: theory and practice in the art of today. 

Helena Reckitt (2001). Art and feminism. 

Frascina, Francis (1992). Art in Modern Culture: an anthology of critical texts.. 

Edwards, Steve (2012). Art and Visual Culture: 1850 – 2010.. 

Pollock, Griselda (1999). Differencing the Canon: feminist desire and the writing of art's histories.. 


Heartney, Eleanor (2013). Art & Today.. 

Wood P edited by Harrison C. (2002). Art in Theory 1900-2000: an anthology of changing ideas. 

Carroll D, Ed (1990). The States of Theory: history, art and critical discourse.. 

CKocur (Z) & Leung (S). Eds (2004). Theory in Contemporary Art: from 1985 to the present,. 




Essay proposal


MethodPercentage contribution
Illustrated essay  (2000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Illustrated essay  (2000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Illustrated essay  (2000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the mandatory/additional/ text as appropriate.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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