ARTH112-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023

Art and Things: introduction to Art History and Material Culture

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 20 February 2023
End Date: Sunday, 25 June 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 5 March 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 14 May 2023


This is an integrated introduction to Art History and Material Culture, providing you with an up-to-date, varied and critical 'toolkit' for thinking about art, architecture and objects. The discipline of Art History has a history of its own, and as you will see, this distorts what we understand about art and about 'things'.

This is an integrated introduction to art history and material culture, providing students with a specialised skillset for approaching art and objects.

Welcome to Art and Things, the course that will teach you to see things that many other people don’t! Artworks and objects are full of visual clues hiding in plain sight, and the task of the art historian involves identifying and making sense of these, or using them to raise further questions. Different ways of looking and thinking unearth different types of clues, and this course will introduce you to a range of different ‘art histories’ and approaches to material culture, which together can offer rounded and fascinating insights into artworks and even the most ‘ordinary’ seeming objects.

This course provides an ideal foundation for other Art History courses, as well as being a useful accompaniment to artistic practice. It is equally well-suited to students who have no prior knowledge of Art History and Material Culture as it is to those who have studied the subject before. In alerting you to the potential of all artworks and objects to possess multiple meanings, Art and Things stresses the importance of interpretation, and aims to give you confidence in developing your own academic voice.

The course emphasizes art’s relation to all aspects of cultural production and the fabric of everyday life, and in doing so encourages you to connect art and objects with lines of enquiry from other disciplines. You will find that the skillset of Art History and Material Culture Studies presented in the course – including becoming more observant, becoming more analytical, learning more about how the question things fruitfully, and being able to see connections between things – is highly applicable across many different fields, and will help you with your future studies, in whatever discipline.

Learning Outcomes

This course is designed to help participants develop:
+   a more inclusive view of what constitutes ‘art’
+   an ability to consider art and material culture in socio-political context, and to recognize its active role in shaping this
+   awareness of different ‘art histories’, and of how they shape what we know – and don’t know – about art and material culture
+   an openness to diverse perspectives
+   a capacity for critical thinking
+   strong written communication skills
+   broad visual literacy skills
+   a sense of the connectedness of all aspects of cultural production

University Graduate Attributes

This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

Course Coordinator

Rosie Ibbotson


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Short quizzes 10%
Essay 40% Research essay
Other assignment 25% Hypothetical display exercise
Online Written Test 25%

Please check the course LEARN page for further details and updates.

Textbooks / Resources

These are not ‘textbooks’ as such, nor is it a requirement to purchase them; however, buying one or two of them is highly recommended, as you will find them very useful throughout the course:

+   Anne D'Alleva, How to write Art History (London, UK: 2010), pp.184
+   Anne D'Alleva, Methods and theories of Art History (London, UK: 2012), pp.192
+   Michael Hatt and Charlotte Klonk, Art History: a critical introduction to its methods (Manchester, UK and New York, NY: 2006), pp.250

Course links

Library portal

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $821.00

International fee $3,750.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Humanities .

All ARTH112 Occurrences

  • ARTH112-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023