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IP103 Art and Revolution

Painting of the French Revolution

Dr Gavin Schwartz-Leeper -Module Leader Term 1

Dr Martin Mik - Module Leader Term 2

Core module | 30 CATS

Terms 1-3 | 22 weeks

44 contact hours: 1 x 2 hour workshop per week

6 film screenings

Not available to students outside the School for Cross-Faculty Studies

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Principal Aims

The module explores the continually changing nature and role of art and artistic expression in society. Bringing together perspectives from history, economics, religious studies, music, literature, politics, history of art, and film studies, this module explores how art has reacted to, anticipated, or prompted revolutionary moments in which established power structures were altered, dismantled, or supplanted. The module is structured in a broadly chronological order, extending from 1789 to 2011, and considers artistic expression in relation to four revolutions of global significance: the French Revolution (1789-1815), the Russian Revolution (1917-1932), the Iranian Revolution (1979), and the 'Arab Spring' revolutions (2011).

Principal Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module, you'll be expected to:

  • Understand the ways in which artistic expression has positioned itself in relation to revolutionary events;
  • Examine in-depth the historical contexts of each revolution and relate them to specific artistic productions;
  • Explore the political and social contexts of each revolution and understand how they impacted on artistic production;
  • Critically analyse specific artistic productions by deploying an appropriate theoretical framework;
  • Compare artistic productions from various eras and in different parts of the world, and attempt to theorise their contributions.


Term 1
  • Term 1 Week 1 — Introduction: Art & Revolution I

  • Weeks 2-5 —The French Revolution

  • Weeks 6-9 —The Russian Revolution

  • Week 10 — Critical Reflection

Term 2
  • Week 1 -- Introduction: Art & Revolution II

  • Weeks 2-5 – The Cultural Revolution

  • Weeks 6-9 –The Aboriginal Revolution

  • Week 10 --Critical Reflection and Group Presentations

Term 3
  • Weeks 1-2 –Revision workshops

Reading List

The indicative reading list for IP103 Art and Revolution can be found here.


Practical Work

Group presentation 15 minutes (10%)


Archival analysis: 1,500 words (10%)

Analysis of a painting: 1,500 words (10%)

Analysis of a film: 1,500 words (10%)

Critical essay: 3,000 words (30%)


May/June, 2 hours (30%)

"This module was one of my favourites"

"During this (module) we learnt about a variety of revolutions such as the Hatian, Iranian ect. But, rather than being restricted to just learning the 2D facts such as dates and places, we looked at the larger context of the revolutions by looking at the art being produced at that time and what it said about the conditions of the time. This module was one of my favourites last year because it really challenged me to turn my back on the way I’d been learning in past."

Olamide Ajisafe

Liberal Arts student

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