Dutch Postgraduate School for Art History
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OSK course Materials & Materiality in Art History
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10 t/m 12 April 2018

OSK course for RMA and PhD students


Materials & Materiality in Art History


Enrolment is possible until December 17th, 2017


Dates: April 10 - April 12, 2018


Locations: Utrecht/Amsterdam/Delft/Katwijk (tbc)


Art history is witnessing a turn and return to object centered research and teaching. Material culture studies, art theory, artistic practice, conservation, technical art history, history of science, as well as ethnography, all shape a field, which is reinvented on its own grounds. The material status of the artwork has clearly become a topic of relevance that reaches also those art historians, whose work is not primarily concerned with the production, conservation, and restoration of art. Moreover, this re-orientation towards materials and materiality seems to go hand in hand with a ‘global’ turn, adding non-western artworks, materials, modes of production and transmission to the mix.


During this course, students of all areas of the discipline (medieval, early modern, modern & contemporary art, architectural studies, design and applied arts, museum studies, art theory, etc.) are familiarized with recent approaches to materials and concepts of materiality that have entered art history from other disciplines, as well as those theories and methodologies, developed within. The course combines a seminar setting with presentations and discussions of recent literature with object-led and handling sessions with practitioners, and scientists in order to test and reflect upon methods needed to research the meaning of materials in art and artistic practice


Apart from a thorough, critical introduction to the developing field and its key players and texts, which enables participants to relate their own work to issues of materiality, students are invited to discuss topics related to their research with regard to questions such as:


  • Is the material status of an art object relevant to all approaches within the discipline?
  • How do materials make meaning?
  • What is the historiography of materials in art history?
  • In which ways could art history profit from studio-based learning/research?
  • Does art theory care about materiality?
  • What is the distinction between materials of art works and concepts of materiality?
  • How much do art historians need to know about technical art history, conservation and scientific analysis?
  • How and to what end should art historians combine historical with ethnographic and scientific research methods?
  • What could art history contribute to other disciplines dealing with materials/ity?


The course is offered in collaboration with TUDelft (Margriet Eikema-Hommes, Sylvia Pont, Maarten Wijntjes) and adjoined to the UU/UvA/Mauritshuis/NICAS Technical Art History Colloquium for a masterclass with Francesca Bewer (Harvard) and Hanna Hölling (University College London).


The course also includes the workshop ‘Art as Ethnography’, led by Dr. Jo Vergunst (University of Aberdeen).

Dates: April 10 - April 12, 2018


Locations: Utrecht/Amsterdam/Delft/Katwijk (tbc)


Taught by: Sven Dupré, UU/UvA & Ann-Sophie Lehmann, RUG


Coordination: Annelien Krul MA (info@onderzoekschoolkunstgeschiedenis.nl)



Open to all ResMA students and PhD candidates Art and Architectural History, max. 15 participants.



(See below)



info@onderzoekschoolkunstgeschiedenis.nl. Provide a CV and short letter of motivation. Deadline: December 17th, 2017


Main course components:

- Preparatory literature study (= 1 week reading and preparation in advance).

- Three day-long seminars (some late evenings) in Utrecht/Amsterdam/ Delft/Katwijk (tbc) from April 10-12.

- Presentation of research questions related to ongoing research and literature.
- Training ethnographic approaches and reflecting on observations.

- To complete the course, students write a 4000 w. paper, preferably imbedded in ongoing research (i.e. chapter of thesis/PhD, lecture, article) (= 2 weeks of full time work).


Syllabus, schedule and exact description of assignments will be made available in February 2018.



Participation in the OSK course Materials & Materiality in Art History is open to all students enrolled in a Research Master Program or PhD program at a Dutch University. The number of participants is limited to 15. Deadline for application is December 17th, 2017. Students will be informed about admittance no later than December 24th, 2017.

Students are expected to attend all seminars and lectures and read and analyze the texts in advance.


There is no course fee.


Credits: 6 EC, to receive after delivering a successful paper and participation. Students have to check with their home university themselves whether the transfer of credits for this course is accepted. OSK will provide a testimonial of work load and EC.


Instruction language: English.


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