Art History: Viewing the Working World: Portraits and Industrial Art

1pm - 3pm

  • Venue Attenborough Arts Centre
  • Price £40 / £25
  • Event type Creative Courses
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A chance to study art exploring the places and faces of work through the centuries and to learn the about the changing meaning and status of work in society.

Images of the places and faces of work offer an intriguing art historical study. These sorts of representations have often proved hard to categorise, being marginalised by conventions and hierarchies of art. The images which survive were often created for specific functions of commemoration, advertising or propaganda.

These images carry in them a broad range of social and cultural understandings of work and those who work. They have been contested and refashioned over time and used politically and theologically for polemical purposes. They may appear to give privileged insight into lost lives and vanished industries or they may be beautiful fictions. They can celebrate the heroism and nobility of work or document toil and exploitation. They may represent an 'external view' of a working world or they may be generated from within it.

This course offers a chance to explore this rich visual legacy in the context of the art historical traditions and developments which shaped it and the social contexts in which it emerged. Through discussion and visual analysis, we will develop an awareness of how these images communicate and an appreciation of their meaning.

This is a seminar-style class which combines information sharing, group discussion and debate, and the close study of individual works and related historical sources and academic writings. 

The topics and tutors week by week will be:

8 Nov: Portraits of Workers with Miriam Gill

15 Nov: Using the images of work with Miriam Gill

22 Nov: Social Realism in Frank Brangwyn and Soviet Russia Compared with David Antill

29 Nov: Art at the Science Museum with Ellie Pridgeon

6 Dec: Alchemy in Art with Ellie Pridgeon

The course will run on Wednesday afternoons 1pm – 3pm for five weeks, starting on Wednesday 8 November 2023 and ending on Weds 6 December 2023.

Participants must be aged 18+.

We aim to make all our sessions as accessible as possible and carers/PAs are very welcome – just remember to book their free place when you book your session. If you'd like to talk to us in advance of booking or attending your sessions to discuss your access needs, our Box Office team is here to help! Email, pop in or call 0116 252 2455, open 7 days a week.