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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

DESN3405 Landscape, Place and Environment in Contemporary Art

20 creditsClass Size: 20

Module manager: Dr Judith Tucker

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Module replaces

Understanding Contemporary Art DESN3400

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Due to the current environmental ‘crisis’ there is an urgent preoccupation with landscape, place and environment. This module will explore these contested notions in relation to a wide range of art practice from the late twentieth century until now. Landscape and environment are the medium through which we often try to make sense of the world and our place in it. This has expressed itself in terms of cultural importance through both academic research and artistic innovation. The aim of the module is to increase an understanding of contemporary art practice in relation to its social, cultural, political and environmental context.


On completion of this module students should have a critical understanding how contemporary art, both as object and as practice, might both be inflected by and contribute to an understanding of landscape, place and environment

Students should be able to analyse and contextualise a range of visual practices thus enabling them to position themselves and if appropriate, their practice, within contemporary theory/practice debates.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students will have:
- an awareness of some of the key theoretical texts and arguments that inform contemporary debates on landscape, place and environment in contemporary art.
- the ability to analyse a range of theoretical texts and to explore their conceptual implications.
- an understanding of the complexities of different artistic strategies.
- an increased ability to discuss contemporary art works in the light of these concepts- an increased understanding of how the theory-practice relation is symbiotic

Skills outcomes
- Verbal and written fluency in constructing a logical and coherent argument
- Use of audio visual aids
- Participation in group discussions
- Co-ordination and dissemination of a range of contemporary and historical contextual visual information
- Using bibliographies and databases.


Following the introductory session, each week the sessions will focus on exploring selected examples of contemporary art/ists in relation to particular ideas about landscape, place and environment. This module introduces the ways in which contemporary art practice might be positioned in relation to these specific theoretical and cultural contexts. Examples might include contemporary art relating to environmental ethics, sustainability, climate change, haunting, pastoral, urban, edgelands, pollution, nature/culture and human/animal relations. Examples of the practices investigated will be wide ranging, and might include: land art, contemporary walking practices, sculpture, photography, painting and text based works. In order to see how the selected work might be said to mediate key debates and theoretical concerns; case studies of both individual works and exhibitions will be analysed and considered in relation to critical texts. The course will be taught through two-hour sessions over one semester with a fieldtrip to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours175.00
Total Contact hours25.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Private study includes preparing set readings for seminars, reading beyond the class texts, visiting galleries and museums, preparation for assessed presentation and for the essay assignment. An essay of 4000-4500 words is presented for summative assessment.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress is monitored through registers at seminar attendance and through contribution to discussion. It will also be monitored through the verbal presentation and submission of the essay plan

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Literature Review950-1000 words20.00
Presentationverbal presentation with slides10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

The resit for the verbal presentation will take the form of a powerpoint (or equivalent format) presentation with notes.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019


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