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Summer Study in London

Contemporary Art in London

London is one of the world’s most vibrant centres of contemporary art. Full of enterprising galleries and artists’ spaces that have burgeoned across the capital, it has attracted artists of many different nationalities to live and work here. 

This intensive course is aimed at students seeking to experience the art scene in London at close quarters and to learn about the wider historic and cultural implications of contemporary art in context, perhaps with a view to working in the field or to pursuing further study of the subject. 

Students are introduced to the world of contemporary art in special talks given by artists, curators, academics and art critics. The market for contemporary art and the role of the contemporary art curator and the collector are also addressed, and visits are made to a wide range of commercial, public and studio spaces. 

Through a variety of seminars and assignments, the course seeks to develop visual and critical abilities in relation to contemporary art practice, to foster reflectivity and independent research potential, and to assist students in the acquisition of knowledge and skills that are appropriate to the art world. 

The course is introductory and requires no prior knowledge of the field.

Read more about what past students have to say about Summer Study.

Sample Topics
  • Art of the 1960s
  • Conceptual art, 1970-80
  • Appropriation to installation, 1980-90
  • Globalism
  • Contemporary art sales
  • Art since relational aesthetics
  • Art and photography
  • The rise of the curator
  • Art of the millennium
  • Monumentality in contemporary art
  • Alternative spaces in London
  • Performance art

Study Visits
London is a major global centre for contemporary art. A wide variety of faculty-led visits to museums and galleries forms an integral part of the learning experience and enables students to gain a direct understanding of the artistic movements dealt with in the course. Sample London venues:
  • Tate Modern
  • Tate Britain
  • Hayward Gallery
  • The Curve
  • White Cube Gallery
  • Serpentine Gallery
  • Saatchi Gallery
  • Whitechapel Gallery
  • Barbican Art Gallery
  • East End and West End galleries
  • Alternative/artist-run spaces

Students are assessed by a slide test and three written assignments (object analysis and comparison, exhibition review and contextual essay). These are intended not only to assist students in their understanding of the subject matter of the course but also in developing a range of transferable skills in the research, analysis and interpretation of objects.

Course dates

Session 1: 27th May - 20 June 2014
Session 2: 24th June – 18th July 2014


Dr. Pierre Saurisse – Course Leader 
Nadia Berri – Course Leader 
Dr. David Bellingham
Lara Perry 
Dr. Edgar Schmitz

Course fees

Tuition: £2,650


Application for 2015 Summer Study will open November 2014.

Click here to download an application form. Payment using the application form is by credit card, cheque or wire transfer. 

Click here to download Terms and Conditions.

Academic Credits

Summer courses are validated by the University of Manchester. Students completing one full-time Summer Study course are awarded 20 University of Manchester undergraduate credits.


 Download Essential Questions about Summer Study.

Suggested Reading

Claire Bishop, Installation Art: A Critical History, London, 2002
Jill Perry & Paul Wood (eds), Themes in Contemporary Art, London, 2004
Michael Rush, New Media in Late Twentieth Century, London, 1999

Online Application

Application for 2015 Summer Study will open November 2014.

Further Information

For further information on Summer Study in London courses, please contact Sarah Coppard Tel: +44 (0)20 7462 3251 or click here to send an email.

Please note, details are subject to change.

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