Writing About Art: Theory and Methodology

Course Description:

A unique two-part course giving an overview of the history of art criticism and offering practical advice about becoming an arts writer in Dubai

With the rise of social media and blogging and the printed press industry still buoyant, there are more platforms offering opportunities for writing than ever before. As the saying goes, ‘everyone’s a critic’. So how do you get your voice heard above the rest? How can you make what you say stand out and build a following as an arts and culture writer?

 The UAE has witnessed an unprecedented rise in interest in visual culture during the past decade, with more and more galleries, art spaces, fairs and museums opening, attracting diverse audiences. It has never been more important to have exhibition reviewed, artists interviewed and the arts scene properly documented. 

 This introductory course will combine lectures and practical writing exercises including site visits to a gallery and artist studio. Beginning with an overview of the history of art criticism with key texts and writers discussed, the course will then focus on the specific UAE context. Next comes a breakdown of style and structure, an analysis of what it takes to create a good piece of writing through studying working processes, tone, style and formal vocabularies. It will conclude with a ‘top tips’ session, offering valuable insights into how to pitch stories, build relationships and position yourself as a writer.

Entry Requirements:

-Advanced level of English language (No translation will be provided. However, this course will still be relevant to those who would like to contribute to Arabic or other language publications)

-A passion for reading and writing about art

-Possible background in the fields of journalism, public relations, or the arts

Lecturer: Laura Egerton

Dates: 5th - 6th March 2018

Day 1, Monday, 5th March, 18.30 - 22.00 (3 hours + 30 minutes break)

  • A historic overview of art writing and criticism
  • Survey of distinct methodologies and entry points for analyzing contemporary art exhibitions (with the chance to engage with works in a real exhibition at a gallery)
  • A practical workshop on researching and conducting a standout artist interview, culminating in the opportunity to interview a Dubai-based artist on Day 2

  • Day 2, Tuesday, 6th March, 18.30 - 22.00 (3 hours + 30 minutes break)

  • Practical Class Exercise: Group interview of a Dubai-based artist with time for each student to frame their own unique approach
  • Skills crash course for arts writers (focused on pitching stories, building a strong portfolio, creating a website, developing a social media strategy, and overcoming creative block)
  • Presentation of recommended reading list

  • Venue: Al Quoz, TBC


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