Hi, we all study History of Art, and we’d
like to tell you why it’s such a great subject to study at University.
In an increasingly global visual culture, a History of Art degree not only provides
you with a sharp eye for detail but it also gives you; a valuable insight into the past,
an appreciation and awareness for other cultures and the ability to see the world around you
in a new light. Students can choose to study a variety of
different media, methodologies and debates, as our staff have a wide range of specialities,
from; painting and sculpture in the Renaissance period, to Impressionism and Post-Impressionism,
to Contemporary and Global Art – there really is something to suit all artistic interests.
Your first year gives you an invaluable grounding in the subject, whatever your A Level background,
and from there you’ll be able to shape your degree as your interests develop.
But it isn’t all about delving into the past; Birmingham’s real-world curatorial
focus is much harder to obtain elsewhere. Teaching regularly takes place in our working
gallery on campus: The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, which is home to not only a dedicated
Fine Art Library, but also some of the highest standards of artwork outside of London, including
works by many famous artists. Seminars and events regularly take place here, right in
front of works of art, and this really helps to deepen your understanding of the works
being discussed. You’ll also be able to explore how the Barber’s different departments
work together as part of your degree, and draw on the gallery staff’s own expertise.
This hands-on approach to studying History of Art will expand your knowledge of the museum
and heritage sector. History of Art degrees get you jobs! As the
cultural industries remain a key part of our economic future, it’s no surprise that a
high percentage of History of Art students are in exciting graduate-level positons just
six months after finishing their degree. Throughout their degree, History of Art students
are spoilt for choice when it comes to gaining experience from volunteering and work placements
– as they are based in one of Britain’s fastest growing cultural hotspots with great
transport links to galleries, museums and exhibitions throughout the UK.
Whether your passions lie in traditional art, contemporary art, or somewhere in between;
the degree programme provides valuable opportunities to expand your working gallery and museum
knowledge on campus, in a variety local institutions and abroad.
In the summer between her second and third year, Emily was granted the opportunity to
fly out from the UK and spend 6 weeks in Australia working for Museum Victoria in Melbourne as
part of the Global Challenge Award. Here, she assisted in the preparation for their
Centenary of World War I exhibition, where she discovered interesting links between Birmingham
and Australia during the war effort. There are a number of travel opportunities
when studying History of Art either on its own or with another subject. This is because
it is important for all History of Art students to explore artworks in situ and to cultivate
a sophisticated cultural awareness. Gallery study trips are not only organised
in the West Midlands and London – but also further afield during a week-long University-funded
trip to a major European Centre of artistic importance. This is a unique opportunity to
examine works of art and architecture in the flesh, and a great way to get to know fellow
students and lecturers. Feeling more adventurous? Students can also
opt to study abroad for one year or one semester during their degree, taking History of Art-related
subjects which can be taught in English. Our exchange universities include; Melbourne University
in Australia, Lund University in Sweden and Leiden University in the Netherlands.
As a History of Art graduate, you are also eligible to apply for one of the University’s
paid internships with the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, or with the Birmingham Museum
and Art Gallery, through the Cultural Intern Scheme – so you can join the 40% of the
University’s former students who stay in Birmingham after their studies.
When I graduate, I’m hoping to go into Public Relations. I know graduates here from my course
in Birmingham who have gone on to work for so many amazing companies, such as; Cath Kidston,
The Victoria and Albert Museum and the Bodleian Library, and in a multitude fields from curating,
research, and auction houses, to costume, events, and teaching, to name just a few.
I hope this film has shown you just how many opportunities studying History of Art at University
can give you, from transferable real-world skills, a chance to travel and an unparalleled
curatorial experience. For more information about the topics that
we’ve talked about, you can visit our website.