HA3BB-Blurring Boundaries: Art in Public Spaces

Module Provider: History
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Prof Paul Davies

Email: p.davies@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module examines work placed initially outside the gallery space from the 1960’s onwards, particularly those works which challenge traditional notions surrounding the term ‘public art’. It will consider why the term public art is problematic and explore evolving terms from the C21st such as critical spatial practice, site specific art and interventions. It will also consider the blurring of boundaries between the disciplines of art, architecture, urban planning and photography and the issues surrounding the documentation of this type of work which often occurs back in the gallery space.

This module aims to provide students with an overall understanding of a history of public art, specifically in the UK, from the 1960’s and enable students to examine and interpret works outside the traditional gallery space against changing economic and political climates.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:
•identify and explain the range and variety of terms and movements in public art
•understand the relationship between this range of terms and the relevance of the work from the 1960’s on contemporary public art
•carry out a scholarly interpretation of individual work/s and present their research in the form of a seminar paper
•access and use information on the subject by their own research
•form arguments and opinions about the interpretation of public art in response to the growing amount of terms used to describe works in this genre and the changing status of the artist and the institution.

Additional outcomes:
With its requirement to present one seminar paper, this module encourages the development of oral communication skills. It also develops students' library research skills and IT skills by the use of relevant Web resources and databases.

Outline content:
This course covers a period of almost sixty years of art produced outside the gallery in public space. It will focus on works in UK cities and will predominantly consider works which challenge the traditional notions of public art – permanence, solidity, reverence and upholding ideological state beliefs. It will include detailed discussion of the work of Katerina Seda, Jeremy Deller, and Theaster Gates, the group Situations (based in Bristol), the development of the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square and the use of ‘terrain vagues’ by artists – uninhabited wastelands in the city which are often used for walking and performance works. Throughout the course there will be repeated reference made back to the development of Institutional Critique in the late 1960’s and 70’s and the work of the Situationists and a consideration of the relevance of these movements on contemporary work.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Two hour seminars per week requiring preliminary reading and research. There will be a group discussion of the lecture and a guided discussion of the seminar reading.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 20
Tutorials 4
External visits 6
Guided independent study 170
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 60
Report 20
Oral assessment and presentation 20

Other information on summative assessment:
For Coursework, students will give an assessed oral presentation, in the form of a scholarly conference paper. The oral presentation with visuals will form 20% of the mark and the written paper (which has been orally presented) will form another 20%. There is no formal word limit, although most pieces of written work are between 2,000 -2,500 words long. There will be a selection of six essay questions, one to be chosen (word count 3,500).

Students are requested to meet with the Module Convenor to discuss the content and scope of their presentations and to ensure that the textual and visual materials used are appropriate

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    Mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Resit is in August. Reassessment will be by the same method as for the module’s original assessment requirements, subject to variation by the Examination Board where appropriate.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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