Chelsea College of Arts Critical Theory in Contemporary Art Practice Chelsea College of Arts

Over the last two decades, the study of art history in art education has been complemented and often superseded by the study of critical theory, while art theorists and critics bring political, social and cultural theories to bear on the interpretation of art. This course bridges this transition and maps the field, enabling students to locate their own research interests. Through lectures, seminars, tutorials and gallery visits, we will familiarise you with key concepts and historical transformations underpinning twentieth century art production and reception. You will extend and develop your ability to discuss, write about and judge contemporary art. You will look at the impact on contemporary art practice of feminism, post-colonialism, philosophy, psychoanalysis and political theory and examine art practice from different theoretical perspectives and critical debates in the field. You will be supported in identifying thematics and practices that are relevant to your studio practice and assisted in contextualising your work. What kind of knowledge and skills do contemporary artists need? What is the relationship between art and entertainment? How do we recognise art? These are just some of the questions we will address as you explore and examine the historical and critical context in which contemporary art is made, circulated, seen and understood.

Course Outcomes

You'll be able to critically discuss and evaluate contemporary art in terms of its production and exhibition. You'll be able to place your studio practice in context.

Who Should Attend

This course is designed to provide art graduates, practising artists and curators with an encompassing introduction to key theoretical discourses that underpin the production and interpretation of art. It provides a platform for students to develop and articulate their own ideas on art production, exhibition and reception. It may suit those wishing to apply for a postgraduate degree in art or to pursue a career in the arts sector.

Course Level


Chelsea College of Arts is one of London's most prestigious Art and Design colleges. We offer courses in curating, fine art, graphic design communication, textile design and interior and spatial design. Chelsea has just over 1,400 students. The College’s small size and supportive atmosphere make studying here feel more like being part of a community.

You will learn the practical, theoretical and professional elements of your subject from our expert staff. It is a place where experimentation, ideas and concepts are encouraged to develop.

We are bringing something truly unique to the Middle East.

Each February, May and October we offer a range of short courses in Dubai, in Art, Curating, Interior Design and Interior Decoration. Our range of courses offer options for beginners and for those already working in industry. Our courses are taught by our London-based tutors, all of whom are practicing industry professionals. We return in October with a wide range of specialist Interior Design courses and Art and Curating courses.

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