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Barber Institute

Art is a language which unites rather than divides

You are not limited to understanding art created by people speaking your own language. Art is a great gateway to discuss cultural clashes and transcultural issues as it crosses cultural and language barriers.

Throughout history, art has been used and abused for political, social or economic propaganda. This can be through posters, adverts and exhibitions which seek to sell a particular point of view or a product.

History of Art helps you understand how the universal language of art has been used to reach and convince others.

It will help you understand humanity better

Art tells the story of humans. When you travel, you see art rather than text. It reflects and stores cultural values, beliefs and identities. Humans have always produced art. History of Art helps you understand the stories behind what art can be.

You will gain the transferable skills that employers look for

History of Art postgraduates become experts in visual analysis, resource management and presenting their ideas, as well as gaining all the usual skills like time management, project planning and delivery, enhanced communication skills, 

With the increasing importance of new visual and digital media, the ability to interpret the meaning and persuasive value of different art forms has never been more crucial. History of Art is the best subject to equip you with those skills.

It could be your pathway to a creative career

Our postgraduate degrees in History of Art are a a fantastic networking opportunity for you to take the next step to a future career in the creative sector. You will gain practical skills and experience which could allow you to pursue a career in galleries and museums. Previous graduates have gone on to work for a range of creative employers, including Birmingham Museums Trust; National Portrait Gallery; Royal Birmingham Society of Artists and the Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust.

Alternatively, a degree in this area could be a stepping stone to further study. The Masters programme equips you with the skills and inspiration to pursue independent research at PhD level. This could lead to a career in academia or a senior management role in museums and galleries.

Immerse yourself in our acclaimed campus art gallery

You will have the opportunity to study at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts. Our on-campus art gallery contains one of the finest collections in the country, including works from world-renowned artists, from Jan Steen to Rodin. Our students have  the opportunity to work with experts at the Barber Institute to curate their own exhibitions, while Birmingham has a vibrant portfolio of established and emerging art galleries and arts organisations.

Student looking at a painting

The Department offers two taught Masters programmes, MA History of Art and MA Art History and Curating.

As part of the MA Art History and Curating, postgraduate students have the opportunity to be involved in a curatorial project such as a public exhibition (see previous student projects here). Students choosing the MA History of Art have the option to select the British Art Pathway, which provides a specialist training with network links with institutions and journals concentrating on British Art.