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Art History: Collecting and Provenance in an International Context - MSc

Course content

This Masters programme offers an interdisciplinary approach to studying the history of collecting and collections from an international perspective. In particular, it focuses on the trajectory of artefacts through time and space and their historical legacy. Subjects covered include methodological approaches and legal issues relating to provenance and restitution, illegal trafficking of cultural objects, connoisseurship, taste, the patterns of collecting and viewing both private and public and the politics of display. The programme will move the collective debate beyond the usual focus on the Western tradition.

Why this programme

◾This programme is unique to Scotland and the UK as it combines aspects of art history and law and places them in a broad international context.
◾You will learn from world-leading researchers and develop expert knowledge in this specialised area of art history.
◾Glasgow’s civic and university collections are some of the richest and most diverse in Europe and are of international standing. The University’s own Hunterian Museum and Art gallery is the oldest public museum in Scotland and has extensive holdings covering fine art, geology, anatomy and the history of medicine. The new facilities at Kelvin Hall support object-based study as a number of courses will include handling sessions of the objects in the collections.
◾Work placement opportunities are offered within the programme on a competitive basis. In addition to Scottish institutions, work placements take place in the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.
◾Our research forum provides you with a lively and stimulating introduction to methodological debates within art history. It provides a sense of art history’s own history as well as contemporary concerns and practice, examining the beliefs and values that have informed various forms of historical and visual analysis and enquiry. It is focused around a series of seminars or workshops run by members of staff and visiting academics.

Programme structure

The programme structure comprises of four core courses and a dissertation (these are compulsory). In addition you can choose two optional courses, either from the ones provided within the programme or from available courses across the College of Arts.

The dissertation (15,000 words in length, including footnotes but excluding bibliography) will be on a topic chosen in consultation with the tutors and programme convenors. You will also have an opportunity to take part in a field trip.

The learning and teaching approaches covered in the programme include: lectures (built around case studies), seminars and discussions (supported by relevant published sources), handling sessions and supervision.

Core and optional courses

Core courses
-Cultures of Collecting – Collecting Cultures (semester 1)
-Methodologies 1: Object Biography (semester 1)
-Objects in Motion 1: Provenance (semester 1)
-Objects in Motion 2: Global Illicit Trafficking (semester 2)

Optional courses
◾Objects in Motion 3: Restitution (semester 2)
◾Archaeological Theory and Interpretation (semester 2)
◾Approaching the Ancient World through Material Culture (semester 1)
◾Introduction to Museology (semester 1)
◾Art Crime (Semester 2 online)
◾Repatriation, Recovery, Return (summer online)
◾Independent Study (usually semester 2)
◾Work Placement (semester 2)

Career prospects

This Masters programme is intended to provide you with a strong foundation from which to embark upon a career in the visual arts, the art market, museums and galleries, heritage and historic properties.

Graduates have gone on to hold positions in museums and galleries (both public and private) in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK and have, more broadly, entered the commercial, cultural and heritage sectors in a number of roles. The programme also provides an excellent platform for you to move into PhD studies and an academic career..

Visit the Art History: Collecting and Provenance in an International Context - MSc page on the University of Glasgow website for more details!





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