UCL Summer School


Modern and Contemporary Art in London

Key Information

Module code
Taught during
Session One
Module leader
Dr. Tom Snow
None. Standard UCL Summer entry criteria apply.
Assessment method
Presentation (25%), Essay (75%)
Download syllabus (PDF)

Module overview

This course focuses on art works exhibited in London collections and temporary exhibitions, discussing and theorising the evolution of the modern art object from the nineteenth-century to present. Through a series of seminar- and gallery-based classes, the module will closely scrutinise a broad range of art objects, including painting, sculpture, photography, and video, to consider how the development of visual technologies, materials and techniques are negotiated by artists and have impacted on the critical methodologies developed by art historians. Each week will take a different thematic category to foreground discussion, helping to address changing cultural, social, and historical contexts in the making of visual art and its relationship to current sites of exhibition and mechanism of display.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students will:

  • Developed a good understanding of London’s major collections and cultural institutions.
  • Acquired knowledge regarding art’s relationship to the moment of its making and current site of exhibition.
  • Obtained a good understanding of historical shifts in materials and the materiality of modern to contemporary art.
  • Gained skills in comparative and alternative ways of seeing and critique.
  • Obtained a good introductory understanding to theoretical notions of production and consumption, and systems of social and cultural valuation.

Module prerequisites

This is a level one module (equivalent to first year undergraduate). No prior subject knowledge is required to study this module but students are expected to have a keen interest in the subject area.

Module hours

Classes (usually three or four hours per day) take place on the Bloomsbury campus from Monday to Friday any time between 9am and 6pm.


  • 10-minute presentation
  • 1,500-2,000 word essay

Module leader

Tom Snow has taught in the History of Art Department at UCL for the past five years. His research focuses on contemporary art and the politics of activism in the context of neoliberal globalisation.

Application information

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