Dutch Postgraduate School for Art History
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OSK Course Materials & Materiality in Art History
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12 t/m 14 Maart 2019

Materials & Materiality in Art History


Dates: 12 March – 14 March 2019


Locations: Groningen/Studio Claudy Jongstra


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 has a special emphasis on color technologies and includes a visit to the Chihuly exhibition in the Groninger Museum. There will also be hands-on sessions in the Studio Claudy Jongstra. The course is offered in collaboration with ERC-funded research project ARTECHNE (https://artechne.wp.hum.uu.nl/) and the exhibition project ‘Back to Black’ in the Museum Hof van Busleyden in Mechelen.


 Dates: 12 March – 14 March 2019 & 19 or 20 June 2019


Locations: Groningen/Studio Claudy Jongstra


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


Coordination: drs. Paul Koopman (info@onderzoekschoolkunstgeschiedenis.nl)



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



There is no course fee and a stay for two nights (Groningen and Friesland) is subsidized.


Not included: travel costs to and in Groningen and Friesland, and food & drinks.



info@onderzoekschoolkunstgeschiedenis.nl. Provide a CV and short letter of motivation. Deadline: 30 November 2018.


Main course components:

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

-      Three day-long seminars (some late evenings) in Groningen/Studio Claudy Jongstra from 12 March – 14 March 2019.

-      Presentation of research questions related to ongoing research and literature.

-      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).

-      To complete the course, students present their work in a final presentation on 19 June 2019 (Utrecht) OR 20 June 2019 (Mechelen). Please reserve both dates in your agenda. The final date will be confirmed as soon as possible.


Syllabus, schedule and exact description of assignments will be made available in February 2019.



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 30 November 2018. Students will be informed about admittance no later than 12 December 2018.

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


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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