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7AAICC49 Art and Globalisation

Module convenor: Dr Kate McMillan
Teaching pattern: Ten one-hour lectures and ten one-hour seminars
Module description:

Since the 1990s, terms such as ‘globalisation’, ‘global art’ and ‘global exhibitions’ have increasingly been used to describe the conditions of contemporary art practice, current forms of contemporaneity, and the mobility of artistic and curatorial practices. Building on broader theories of globalisation, this module aims to analyse how mechanisms of globalisation impact upon contemporary art production, mediation and display across a range of agents and sites: artists and curators and biennales, travelling exhibitions, the art market and the public sphere.

Throughout the module specific case studies – such as contemporary artworks and exhibitions – ground key theories and debates. The module will include field trips and guest speakers from the field in order to provide students with a working knowledge of globalisation and its effect on contemporary art today. 

Draft teaching syllabus

Week 1: Introduction: What is Globalisation?

Week 2: Art & Globalisation

Week 3: Site Specifity and the Local + Field Trip to ArtAngels ‘Inside – Artists and Writers Inside Reading Prison’ £7 concession

Week 4: Corporate Sponsorship and the Arts

Week 5: Are Artists the Foot Soldiers of Capitalism?

Week 6: Reading Week

Week 7: Field Trip

Week 8: Transcultural Curating: Guest Lecturer

Week 9: Art and Protest

Week 10: Critical Cartographies and the Global South: The Rise of Biennales Guest Lecturer, Associate Professor of Contemporary Art History & Theory, Anthony Gardner from The University of Oxford

Week 11: Assessment Workshops (9th December)

Module aims

This module aims to analyse how globalisation impacts on contemporary art production, mediation and display across a range of agents and sites: artists and curators and biennales, travelling exhibitions, the art market and the public sphere.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, the students will be able to demonstrate intellectual, transferable and practical skills appropriate to a Level 7 module and in particular will be able to:

  • Evaluate the main artistic, cultural, political and economic elements of contemporary art in a global context.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of contemporary art and curating within a globalised framework of transcultural relations.
  • Reflect critically upon the imbricated relationship between art and politics, and the production, mediation and display of contemporary art globally. 
  • Assess various theories of cultural globalisation in different contexts and their impact on contemporary art practices.
  • Establish links between what we study in the module and those exhibitions taking place in London, considering the debates posed by globalisation and its effects on current artistic and curatorial practices

Core reading

  • Araeen, A., Cubitt, S. and Sardar, Z. (eds.) (2002), The Third Text Reader. On Art, Culture and Theory, London and New York: Continuum
  • Bydler, Ch. (2002), The Global Artworld Inc.: On the Globalization of Contemporary Art, Uppsala: Uppsala Universitet
  • Dave Mukherji, P., Singh, K. and Ahuja, N.P. (eds.) (2013), Influx: Contemporary Art in Asia, London: Sage Publications
  • Demos, T.J. (2013), Return to the Postcolony, Specters of Colonialism in Contemporary Art, Berlin: Sternberg Press
  • Filipovic, E., van Hal, M. and Ostevo, S. (eds.) (2010), The Biennial Reader, Bergen and Ostfildern: Bergen Kunsthall and Hatje Cantz
  • García-Canclini, N. (2014) Art Beyond Itself: Anthropology for a Society without a Story Line, Durham: Duke University Press
  • Gardner, A. (ed.) (2013), Mapping South: Journeys in South–South Cultural Relations, Melbourne: The South Project.
  • Harris, J. (ed.) (2011), Globalization and Contemporary Art, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell
  • Mosquera, G. and Fisher, J. (eds.) (2004), Over Here: International Perspectives on Art and Culture. Documentary Sources in Contemporary Art, Cambridge: MIT Press
  • O’Neill, P. (2012), The Culture of Curating and The Curating of Culture(s), Cambridge: MIT Press
  • Papastergiadis, N. (ed.) (2003), Complex Entanglements. Art, Globalisation and Cultural Difference, London, Sydney and Chicago: Rivers Oram Press
  • Steeds, L. (ed.) (2013), Making Art Global (Part 2): 'Magiciens de la Terre' 1989, London: Afterall Books


1 x 4,000 word essay (100%) OR 1 x creative work reflecting on issues of art and globalisation (e.g. short film, blog, poster, photographs, artist’s book) and 2,000 word critical commentary (100%)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

 The modules run in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand so there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary depending between years.

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