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LAS4007 : Latin American Art and Theory

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Giuliana Borea
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


• To introduce students to the work, trajectories, and practices of Latin American artists.
• To provide students with an understanding of the history and political economy of Latin American art in relation to social, political, and cultural processes in the region and to wider art circuits.
• To introduce students to the art theories and knowledges produced by Latin American scholars, curators and practitioners, and to question monolithic notions of Latin American art and power relations.
• To provide students with an understanding of curatorial activity and offer tools to engage with curatorial practices.

Outline Of Syllabus

‘Latin American Art and Theory’ will explore the work and trajectories of Latin American artists and the art theories and knowledges produced in the region with a focus on the 20th and 21st century. The module will be divided in three interrelated sections. The first part will have a historical, theoretical and conceptual approach to Latin American art and its circuits, institutions and categories; and to different epistemologies of art in the region. The second part will focus on a specific topic. It will look at how Latin American artists have approached to this issue and contribute to its understanding – e.g. place; environment; citizenship; materiality. This section will include analysis of art works and artists’ trajectories, and the student will have the possibility to listen and interact with invited Latin American artists, curators and other art stakeholders. The selected topic will change every year or two years. The third part of the module will introduce the student in the curatorial activity through organising together an exhibition project based on the topic of section two. Students will be encouraged to visit exhibitions in the city as we explore curatorship as a research methodology and a practice of social engagement.

The module will be delivered in English, and will draw on art historical, anthropological, sociological, philosophical, and curatorial texts. It will include the analysis of visual art practices from a wide range of media and conversations with guest speakers. The module seeks to foster connections amongst HaSS schools which focus on art and Latin America, and with Newcastle art circuit.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion481:0048:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:009 hours lectures PIP, 2 hours lecture synchronous on-line.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:309:009 hours PIP seminars
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities111:0011:00Reading and visual tasks to prepare each week based on guided questions and contextual information.
Guided Independent StudyProject work18:008:00Project work for exhibition project.
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity51:005:005 Reflexive responses
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery20:301:001 hour of drop-in surgery offered
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study16:006:00Visiting galleries independently or with peers.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1001:00100:00Free reading and viewing/sensing artworks independently or with peers
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk11:001:00Introduction to the module - recorded
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module will run for one semester – 11 weeks – and will consist of a 1 hour lecture every week, and of six seminars of 1.5 hours: two seminars for each the three sections of the modules. The first four seminars will run every other week and the two last seminars every week.

Lectures will provide the theoretical, conceptual, historical, artistic, and socio-political information and debates to introduce students to Latin American artistic production and theoretical thinking. Some lectures, particularly in section 2, will include 20 min presentations of key guest speakers and offer students the possibility to ask questions to Latin American art stakeholders.

Lecture materials will introduce students to the topics discussed on each session. They will range from different sources and formats: texts, art works, exhibition websites, exhibition visits, interviews, and others. Students will have guiding questions to approach the readings and the other materials. Students will develop an individual first response and then they will expand their analysis in seminars.

In seminars students will analyse the materials in detailed, led by questions given previously to guide the analysis, and in relation with aspects developed in lectures and with students’ own experiences and knowledges. Seminars will consist of student led-discussion fostering students’ critical thinking, formulation of arguments and ability for public presentation. Some discussion will be developed in smaller groups for students to engage in active discussions among them, work in a group answer and share it with the rest of the class developing teamwork and time management skills.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Design/Creative proj2M40N/A
Zero Weighted Pass/Fail Assessments
Description When Set Comment
Reflective logMFive reflective responses submitted before each of the first five seminars.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Online exhibition (40%):
This assessment will be a group project based on an online exhibition of the topic in section 2. The exhibition will start to be developed in the last three seminars, particularly in those of curatorial activity and project. This exhibition has three aims: 1. To get a deeper understanding in the topic of section 2 by selecting and analysing specific art works and familiarising with artists’ trajectories. 2. To gain experience on how to develop a curatorial narrative and project (artworks, texts, space, sensory approach) by connecting a group of artworks and developing novel approaches and questions. 3. To reflect critically on the categories, narratives, and spatial distribution to be proposed for the exhibition. We will develop the online exhibition using Kunstmatrix or Omeka exhibition softwares. Both are easy to use and additional online tutorials will be added. The exhibition project will include shaping the exhibition concept, selecting the artworks, writing the curatorial exhibition text, deciding a title, writing about each individual work, writing a brief artists’ bios-trajectories; organising the artworks in the gallery online space; and developing a public programme (we will cover issues of budget, loans, transport, etc in lectures, however, the project will not include the development of these management aspects). Students will receive a group mark for the exhibition as a whole and will receive an individual mark based on the completion of their task for this assessment.

Essay (60%):
This assessment consists of a 2200-word essay written in English about one of the theoretical, conceptual or historical topics analysed in section 1 of the module. Students will connect the discussion with specific case studies. The aim of this assessment is that students engage with larger debates and at the same time be able to analyse concrete practices, understanding the interrelations between the macro and micro, processes and practices, and developing a coherent and structured argument. Students will have to discuss their selected topic with the module leader by week 9. This assessment will help to develop students’ research and writing skills.

Five responses/ reflections as Formative Assessments:
Five responses submitted before each of the five first seminars. These responses can include the form of written texts of 250-300 words, conceptual maps, diagrams, drawings, or other forms. For the five responses two must be a 250-300 word written text, and the other three must take other forms. These are critical and reflective responses to the readings and activities planned for each seminar. The aim is for students to let their ideas and knowledges flow and take shape through different formats. Students will experiment with different ways of knowledge production.

Reading Lists