FIN2030 : Art and Protest

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module looks at how and why artists from the mid-nineteenth-century to the present, in a range of countries and cultural contexts, have used art in political ways: to express discontent publicly, to create a safe space for political dissent, to deal with the experience of discrimination or disenfranchisement, or to bring about political change through artistic means. We will investigate how artists have engaged with politics and activism through the form, material, and content of their work, as well as through the contexts of display.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module begins by examining the development of a politically radical artistic avant-garde in France and Britain in the late-nineteenth century and the impact of these movements on the development of political art histories in the twentieth century. The lectures are structured thematically and will explore topics such as civil disobedience; appropriation and collage; documentation and witnessing; violence and the right to revolt by any means necessary; art and immigration, and viral aesthetics, and conclude by thinking about how to exhibit protest cultures and activist objects in the present. We will look at an international range of politicised art movements and activist groups, including the Dadaists, the Situationist International, the Art Workers Coalition, Fluxus, Asco, the Guerrilla Girls, the Black Panthers, and Brazilian Neo-Concretists and Conceptualists.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading126:0026:00Seminar preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching31:003:00Office Hours
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study178:0078:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
FIN3040Art and Protest
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

1. Lectures: to allow definition of the scope of the syllabus, an introduction to a body of knowledge, and modelling of the level and nature of the analysis required.
2. Seminars: to encourage interaction and the development of cognitive and key skills; to allow preparation and presentation of directed research on specific issues and case studies.
3. Tutorials: to provide feedback and analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of submitted work, and increase awareness of the potential for individual development.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M502500 words
Written exercise2M501500 word analysis assignment
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The coursework affords the student the opportunity to conduct research with seminar and peer support into particular areas of interest, to develop their organisational, group work and presentational skills in reporting back to the group and then to demonstrate their ability to think independently using their seminar discussion to inform their individual assignments. Assignments are targeted to develop critical thinking, the ability to develop an argument, visual analysis and theoretical comprehension.

Reading Lists