Why I chose to study the History of Art and why I chose Warwick
Now that I’m about to progress into my second year studying the History of Art at Warwick, it has made me reflect on how I felt before I even knew what I wanted to study or where. When I first started to think about what I wanted to study at university, I felt swamped by the sheer variety of subjects and options but once I started to research a little further, I came across the History of Art courses which seemed to fit me perfectly.
I have been in awe of art from a very young age, both in terms of creating my own works as well as wanting to research deeper about artistic movements and specific artists so the field of Art History was almost tailor-made for me! The subject allows students develop a visual understanding which is unparalleled by most as we are able to engage with the pictorial language that underlines all visual stimuli that we see on an everyday basis. We also acquire a vast knowledge of past and present visual works and how they have both been influenced by as well as shaped history.
Although it may seem like a fairly niche and concentrated subject, studying the History of Art is excellent preparation for further study or work in the art and heritage sectors and equips you with a wide range of transferrable and relevant employability skills. Students develop talents such as visual and textual analysis in addition to critical thinking and writing, and strong communication skills. Students also obtain a specialist knowledge in a particular field of interest and learn a range of methodological research techniques.
This means that the list of career opportunities is actually quite extensive and broad which allows graduates to go on to work in diverse roles, including auctioneering, curating, archaeology, conservation, arts administration, publishing, teaching, journalism, librarianship, and doing research within the UK and further afield. Many go on to further study but most enter the job market open to graduates in the Humanities more generally, and are able to compete for posts in business, administration and the professions.
Warwick is a prestigious university which continues to grow and improve each year. The University of Warwick is currently ranked at 8 in the UK in the 2017 League Table Rankings by The Complete University guide and their History of Art course is ranked within the top 10 in the UK. Warwick is also one of the top ten most targeted universities by the top graduate employers according to the High Fliers Report 2014 and the graduate employment rate for students remains high. Warwick is also an extremely multi-cultural and diverse environment with many partner institutions in 40 different countries which allows students to spend time overseas with a work or voluntary placement, or to study abroad.
It is true that works are best appreciated in front of the original and so the department at Warwick places a strong emphasis on organising field trips to a variety of places of interest across the UK. In my first year I went on a trip to London to see works in the British Museum, to Birmingham to see the collection of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, and various trips around campus to see the various sculptures we have and the collections and exhibitions on at our own Mead Gallery as well as many other field trips. Warwick also currently offers an entire term spent in Venice studying the city’s art, history and culture which is something that I have never seen offered by any other university in the UK and I am so excited to be going in October!
It is also true that many prospective students thinking about studying the History of Art have past experience in practical art so this is also offered (at the moment) as a module as a way to complement academic training for those who wish to take it. The course structure at Warwick provides the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge of particular periods and issues in their survey courses which cover artistic movements and periods spanning from the art of Ancient Greece and Rome right up to the Modern and Contemporary art of today. The short modules that students can choose are also incredibly interesting and diverse and in my first year we could choose from modules such as painting techniques, prints, sculpture, contemporary art and architecture.
So all in all, the course, teaching, campus and general experience at Warwick has been amazing so far and I can’t wait to start my second year continuing to learn a subject that I am passionate and enthusiastic about. So if you’re soon going to be starting your journey at Warwick then you have the best few years of your life to come and if you aren’t, then you should definitely consider Warwick and their courses and come down on an open day to experience it for yourself!
Thanks for reading! Kristie