Having just handed my notice in at work, many people have been asking about what I will be doing once I leave. When I tell them that I’m going back to college, there is some confusion over what the course entails.
The title “Postgraduate Diploma in Contemporary Art History” could be either Contemporary-Art History or Contemporary Art-History, hence an emphasis on the Art or the History. When this first came up I initially DID NOT KNOW how to answer the question, it was one of those situations where your perceptions of a subject are radically altered by a simple question, revealing the shallow roots of your understanding. If I wanted to be hyperbolic, I could claim I’ve just accepted a place on a year-long course without knowing what it was about.
In reality, the choice between the two definitions would have made little difference to me, but the course outline clears up any misconceptions I may have been left with:
…the Core Course…is a lecture and seminar series that introduces you to a range of critical perspectives that have shaped the history and theory of the discipline. As such, the course encourages you to develop a fuller awareness of art’s cultural and political significance in the past, whilst also asking you to relate your historical understanding of visual art to current debates among artists, critics and historians. [my emphasis]
Reading the outline further shows an aspect that tickles me about the conception and presentation of the course:
The Core Course is accompanied by a Laboratory, which gives you the opportunity to process the taught materials further through a variety of strategies such as museum and gallery visits, film screenings and experimental projects.
“strategies”! Very military. I suppose you could see the course as defining the territory that I will be attempting to conquer.