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2021/22 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

ARTF5000M Africa Displaying / Displaying Africa

30 creditsClass Size: 15

Module manager: Will Rea

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module will allow students to explore and develop an understanding of the way in which visual cultures in Africa have been used in knowledge systems. They will be introduced to both the epistemological and ontological grounds upon which African methods of display operate. This work is then offered up in a comparative analysis to modes of display as they have developed in the twentieth century, especially in relation to Colonialism and the Independent State. The module documents changing modes of art making and viewing in the twenty first century before considering the case for reparation of African items from Europe.


The objective of this module is to Introduce students to modes of display in Africa. The objective is to study local forms of display such as masquerade and see how these act in comparison to the development Western representational modes of display, particularly those of the museum. Its objective is to review colonial forms of spectatorship and the effects that these have had on art history as s discipline. Another objective is to survey the development of museums and notions of heritage on the African Continent. It’s final objective is to introduce students to issues of reparation, using Benin, as a case study.
The general objective of the module is to introduce Students to art historical developments in Africa as well as specific examples of museum innovation. It aims to make sure that they clearly understand the already embedded forms of display within African communities, the associated skills and craftsmanship and modes of ‘seeing’.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module students will:
1. Have an understanding of debates around African notions of seeing and representation as developed in African epistemological and ontological modes.
2. have specific knowledge of the history of museums in Africa.
3. An understanding of the political background to African Art and display – especially in relation to Colonial policy and the 21st Century call for reparations.
4. A critical awareness of issues of heritage and community as developed in particular modes of display.
5. A clear understanding of the issues confronting the African Museum and Heritage sector in the 21st Century.


Content in this course will cover a range of different topics. These may include
“Learning” to see (in) Africa./ The uses of secrecy / Masquerade display/
Shrines and the uses of local knowledge – Rethinking heritage/ Colonial spectacle/
Nationalism/ Community Heritage and the Museum in Africa
and issues of repatriation.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours70.00
Private study hours200.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

In this module you will be expected to undertake independent study using a range of online and library resources. The module will ask you to look beyond the textual and use digital work where it is indicated and provided on Minerva.
You will be expected to read text material that will be essential for comprehension and allowing you to take part in seminar discussion. This should occupy 70 hours across the duration of the course. There will be set readings for each seminar, but the field offered in this module is broad and iterative and so you will be expected to undertake independent research under guidance for each seminar. Reading and independent research will also be required for the poster presentation, which is the presentation of your own collection of African material and a personal response to the course material that is presented in the form of a PowerPoint, Pinterest. Padlet or other poster form. This will allow examination of actual material as a collection and issues around collection as well as asking questions around the motivations for your collection. Across the duration of the course this will occupy 100 hours of reading and online research. The final essay will demand 100 hours of reading and research.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

For the duration of the course students will be asked to develop collections of material related to the central theme of the course. The of a poster presentation is the moment of display for their collections and is intended to offer an iterative process of feedback in conjunction with module leader and peers.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay5000 word essay70.00
Poster PresentationA theme poster30.00
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: 30/06/2021 16:04:49


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