Birkbeck Department of History of Art
Our Society is affiliated to the Department of History of Art at Birkbeck, University of London. Birkbeck is a warm and inviting community, and you will be made very welcome at any of the study courses, events or open sessions they organise. You will find details of them below. The liaison representative between the Society and Birkbeck is committee member John Peacock, and if you have any questions at all about Birkbeck do please email John on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our affiliation gives us unique access to art history experts and contacts in the art world. Lecturers from Birkbeck are generous with their support for our activities:
- at least one of the six or so free evening lectures each year is delivered by a Birkbeck lecturer
- lecturers provide regular articles for our annual journal, the Review
- all members of our Society are able to join the main Birkbeck Library in Malet Street at no cost (see the panel at the side of this page)
- a number of the Society’s events are hosted in Birkbeck’s landmark Keynes Library in Gordon Square.
The Society supports Birkbeck History of Art students. We do this through an annual donation called the “London Art History Society Research Fund”. The Fund provides money to help with student costs associated with academic research, travel, and college conference organisation. Its value for academic year 2019-20 will be £4000. The Society also funds an annual prize for the best MA dissertation each year. Both funds are administered by the college on our behalf.
Our association with Birkbeck reaches back to 1981 when the Society was first formed. The Society was launched by a small group of Birkbeck alumni as ULEMHAS (the University of London Extra-Mural History of Art Society) and we have retained our strong link with the university ever since. We encourage all Society members to feel involved in Birkbeck life, to attend college events and to explore undertaking courses at Birkbeck. Details of all such courses, events and opportunities we think are likely to be of interest to members are posted here, on these Birkbeck pages. Please read more by clicking the panels below.
Click on the blue heading above to discover everything you need to know about Birkbeck’s Department of History of Art. Here you’ll find the wide range of courses offered at all levels, ranging from excellent short Certificate courses of a single term’s duration through to part or full-time undergraduate courses of 3-4 years, one-year conversion courses to MA entry, and a wide range of postgraduate studies.
Study tours abroad are open to Society members as well as current Birkbeck students. The next visit will be to Budapest in May, and you can read about it here.
The Head of Department, Dr Leslie Topp, writes a fortnightly blog covering events, talks, student discussions, diaries, and news. Click here for a taste of the busy everyday life of the Department,
Would you be interested in doing a Certificate course at Birkbeck? Please click on the blue heading above to find out more.
All Certificate modules earn either 15 or 30 credits which can go toward an eventual Certificate of Higher Education History of Art awarded by Birkbeck University of London. That Certificate in turn will allow you to progress directly into the second year of a number of BA courses including BA History of Art. But there is no requirement for anyone doing a Certificate course to go any further than you wish to, and each module — which lasts one or two terms (£650/£1300) — is complete in itself, and offers an undergraduate-level introduction to the subject in question.
For the first time in 2019-20, Birkbeck are opening up places on their current MA options to all former MA graduates (from History of Art, History of Art with Photography and Museum Cultures), in response for demand for further personal enrichment and professional development. This scheme is also available to those who have completed the PG Certificate or the PG Diploma.
What to expect
- You will be taking these modules alongside seminar-size groups of current MA students.
- You will be included on any class visits to sites and collections.
- You will have full access to the Birkbeck library and its online resources, as well as to the module’s Moodle page, for the duration of the module.
- You won’t be asked to do the assessment (final essay) for the module.
Please click the blue heading to learn more.
Dr Peter Murray was the founder of Birkbeck’s Department of History of Art and an inspirational lecturer. The Murray Seminars are supported by his bequest. They are a series of talks held every term in which scholars of the medieval and renaissance period share their current research. Each talk starts at 5pm and finishes by 5.50pm, and is followed by discussion and refreshments. The talks are open to all and no booking is required. Please click on the blue heading above to see the current programme.
The Architecture Space and Society Centre (ASSC) was launched in March 2015. Based in Birkbeck’s School of Arts, it provides a focus for the research activities taking place within Birkbeck and beyond in the area of architectural history, landscape history, contemporary architectural humanities and archaeology of architecture. By bringing together scholars from early and modern periods with academics from other disciplines, curators and heritage experts, it acts as a forum for those with an interest in the built environment and space more generally. ASSC hosts regular talks and symposia throughout the year.
The Centre for the History and Theory of Photography hosts regular talks and seminars open to Society members as to all students at Birkbeck. Please find the current programme by clicking the blue heading above.
Understanding the nature and function of museums is a fundamental part of understanding art history and its associated fields. The Centre for Museum Cultures offers wide-ranging talks, seminars and discussion addressed to current students, alumni and Society members alike. You can find the current programme by clicking the blue heading above.
Our annual scholarly journal, the Review, contains many contributions from Birkbeck lecturers and students. Back copies of the Review, together with an index, are available online from this website by clicking the blue heading above.
Each year the Society donates a sum of money to Birkbeck’s Department of History of Art.
The amount varies between £2500-£4000 per year and the money comes out of the Society’s proceeds from subscriptions and its activities. The donation is known within the Department as the ‘London Art History Society Research Fund’.
The object of the fund is to help MA and PhD students with the costs of necessary research or field work associated with their projects. Students apply for a grant from the fund — which is administered by the college — and if successful they receive the money they require.
The range of projects is impressively wide, and students’ research and travel needs are equally diverse. By clicking the heading to this item you can read a selection of successful applications — and a few of the many expressions of thanks from those students whose work our Fund has assisted.
Are you a Birkbeck alumnus? Did you know that alumni have their own website, which you can access by clicking the blue heading above.
Click on the heading above to discover Birkbeck’s wide range of courses in areas which complement art history — literature and creative writing, languages, philosophy, social history, film, media and cultural studies.
Birkbeck’s Institute for the Humanities offers lectures and talks for all-comers across the entire field of the humanities. You can access their website by clicking on the heading above. The website is updated frequently and the programme is lively. Please keep checking!
By clicking the blue heading above you can access information about all upcoming Birkbeck events spanning the entire college.