Art & Design

History of Art, Design and Visual Culture

Students at the National Gallery of Canada

The Department of Art & Design at the University of Alberta offers students exciting and rigorous programs leading to Master’s (course-based or thesis-based) and Doctoral degrees in the History of Art, Design, and Visual Culture. These programs emphasize critical thinking about how the world is mediated by technologies of vision, images, objects, and visual events. We offer a range of courses on modern and contemporary art and theory, design, new media, the graphic arts, and museum histories, with a particular emphasis on the sixteenth century to the present. The objects of art historical study are drawn from geographically diverse cultures in Asia, Eastern and Western Europe, and the Americas.

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

• personal and national identity in early 20th-century Irish art
• the display of installation art in the 21st century
• Argentine portraiture in an age of Peronism
• art and activism during the “obesity epidemic”
• surrealism in Polish modern art
• the aesthetics of distortion in Chinese landscape painting
• 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)

We encourage prospective students to contact individual professors to learn more about the particular strengths of the department before applying. 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.

The study of art, design, and visual culture at the University of Alberta 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.

Keynote lecture for New Maternalisms