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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ARTF2117 The Avant Gardes

20 creditsClass Size: 25

Module manager: Dr Rebecca Starr

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

At least 20 credits of level 1 ARTF modules

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary



On completion of this module, students should have developed their knowledge of the complex and contested notion of the 'avant garde'; specifically with regards the art produced in Europe and Russia between 1900-1940.

By the end of the module, they should have become familiar with a body of theoretical and art-critical text and developed their understanding of selected key debates on the 'avant garde'. Thus they will be able to assess and discuss both the historical as well as the unstable categorisation of 'avant garde' art within twentieth century art history.

Skills outcomes
- Textual analysis of primary and secondary sources
- Analysis of art
- Written communication, structure and organisation
- Research
- Critical engagement and construction of arguments.


As art historians, the task of categorising a particular artist or group of artists 'avant garde' is increasingly problematic, especially as we look back at the art produced in the twentieth century. Historically what we now call 'avant garde' art has not always been deemed 'worthy' of that category, The notion of what the 'avant garde' is or has been has shifted, historically and critically, in order to take on other kinds of conditions for use, causing a disavowal of particular artists, groups and the types of media they manipulated.

This module takes as its starting point the contestation of the term 'avant garde' by looking at historical and contemporary debates; it then investigates, as case studies, European and Russian art of the first forty years of the twentieth century to consider what may constitute 'avant garde art' in all it social, political, cultural, and critical as well as material diversities.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

180 hours:
- directed study of key texts in preparation for seminar discussions;
- preparation, writing and research of project (assessed);
- preparation, writing and research of essay (assessed).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- participation in class discussion
- mid-semester assessment task.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssayEssay 1: 1500 words40.00
ProjectEssay 2: 2500 words60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:22:37


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