Art & Design

History of Art, Design, and Visual Culture

Students at the National Gallery of Canada

The Department of Art & Design offers students rigorous courses of study leading to master's and doctoral degrees in the History of Art, Design, and Visual Culture. The program emphasizes critical and imaginative thinking about the ways the world is mediated by technologies of vision, images, objects, and visual events. Students may take seminars on modern and contemporary art and theory, history of design, new media, graphic arts, and museum histories, across a broad geographical range.

Previous students in our programs have worked on the following research topics:

• science and ink painting in modern Beijing
• Argentine portraiture in an age of Peronism
• art and activism during the “obesity epidemic”
• surrealism in Polish modern art
• the display of installation art in the 21st century
• the question of how children were taught to see at 19th-century world’s fairs
• Cold War “Democratic Design” in the U.S.A and the German Democratic Republic (1945-1970)


Prospective students are welcome to contact individual professors to learn more about the particular strengths of the department. Please consult individual faculty web pages for more information about faculty specializations and research interests.

Financial support is available to students in the form of scholarships, research assistantships, and teaching assistantships.

Graduate study is fostered by excellent research collections, among them the Mactaggart Art Collection of Chinese paintings and textiles, the Print Study Centre, the Bruce Peel Special Collections Library, and the Rawlinson Rare Medical Books Collection.

Discussion after the keynote lecture at New Maternalisms