Subject

Art history

Go beyond the history of art.

Art history

Heritage Studies

What are the ethical problems in preserving and exhibiting objects from other cultures? How can we save heritage that is under threat from war or natural disasters? How does politics impact the study and preservation of heritage objects?

Our heritage degrees will introduce you to the critical study of heritage, including ethical and legal debates, and questions about how heritage is preserved, communicated, and displayed, including issues of spectatorship and community engagement. This background will give you the skills and knowledge to pursue careers in heritage institutions, cultural policy, curation and museum education.

BA Art History, Heritage and Museum Studies

BA Curating, Heritage and Human Rights

MA Heritage and Museum Studies

Curating

Are you an exhibition fanatic, with aspirations of curating your own collection? How should you decide which stories our museums and galleries can tell? What are the ethical problems in preserving and exhibiting objects from other cultures?

You will learn about the history and theory of exhibition design, with particular emphasis on how curatorial choices shape our experiences while viewing artworks and objects. Alongside theoretical study, you will gain practical experience by curating your own exhibitions and encounter the latest developments in curating both locally and in London galleries.

BA Curating

BA Curating with History

BA Curating with Politics

BA Curating, Heritage and Human Rights

MA Curating

MA Curating with Professional Placement

Art History at Essex

You’re fascinated by art, visual culture and architecture.

You’re curious and want to interpret the stories behind each building you see. You endeavour to draw connections and understand the emotions and intent behind even the most abstract painting. You love a challenge and you want to explore the visual media which dominates our contemporary culture.

At Essex and you will acquire a nuanced knowledge of art and visual culture and become an active participant in our complex visual world. 

Learn about our teaching and assessment plans, in light of the pandemic, for the 2020/21 academic year on the department pages.

Why study here?
  • You will be taught by experts in the history and theory of art and visual cultures from the Renaissance to the present, and in curating cutting-edge exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world. 
  • We are ranked as 6th among art history departments in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014, mainstream universities, THE 2014).
  • We are home to one of the most important public collections of art from Latin America in Europe.
Dr Matt Lodder on the set of his new TV series
Essex expert co-hosts new art history TV series

Essex art historian Dr Matt Lodder is co-hosting a new European television series aiming to bring the world’s most famous art museums to a wider audience.

Read more
Robert Priseman, Alex Seabrook and Sarah Demelo
Donated art collection includes top 20th century British artists

Two collectors have loaned over 100 works to the University, enriching the artistic experience of the University community and offering valuable opportunities for curatorial studies students to learn how to manage, handle, curate and loan works of art.

Read the article

At Essex you are part of a strong, vibrant team of art historians, pushing the boundaries of the discipline.

Essex scholars have developed influential new approaches to the study of art history since our foundation by pioneers in the field 50 years ago. We also offer one of the UK’s most cutting-edge programmes for curating, which includes the opportunity to curate an exhibition from scratch, helping you build an invaluable portfolio of skills. Our mission is to radically rethink how we engage with the visual world across a broad range of media, including digital art and design.

Learn about our teaching and assessment plans, in light of the pandemic, for the 2020/21 academic year on the department pages.

Why study here?
  • We are 6th among art history departments in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014, mainstream universities, THE 2014).
  • We provide our students unique opportunities to curate exhibitions, conduct placements at major museums, and organise their own research conferences.
  • We have a broad range of expertise from the Renaissance to modern and contemporary art.
We offer two PhDs that allow you to explore topics related to the history of art and visual culture, broadly defined.

Regardless of the PhD you pursue, you will find yourself in an environment that is both intellectually challenging and supportive.

Based in the School of Philosophy and Art History you will be part of an active research community which pushes boundaries. We are also ranked 6th among art history departments in the UK for research excellence.

Read our academic biographies to find out more about us and use our research finder to find a topic and a supervisor to suit you.

Why study here?
  • We are ranked 6th among art history departments in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014, mainstream universities, THE 2014).
  • Our doctoral students and academic staff regularly work together to form an active research community.
  • We're home to the most important collection of contemporary Latin American art in Europe (ESCALA).

Our research clusters

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Explore our research

Discover cutting edge research from the University of Essex. Browse our site to find relevant publications, projects, groups, centres, postgraduate opportunities for research supervision and wider areas of interest. Simply search our site to find information relating to your subject.

Search our research
Our Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA) gives you the opportunity to encounter art first hand.
Our Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA) gives you the opportunity to encounter art first hand.
Art Exchange is our University gallery and runs an ongoing programme of exhibitions of contemporary art, artist and curator talks.
Art Exchange is our University gallery and runs an ongoing programme of exhibitions of contemporary art, artist and curator talks.
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Disclaimer

Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.

The teaching and assessment methods listed on each course page show what is currently planned for 2021 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.