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Art and Climate Change (AHV2017)

StaffProfessor Gabriella Giannachi - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

In this module you will examine how artists have documented, represented, responded to and communicated climate change in their art. To do this, you will look into theories regarding terms as nature, land, ice, flooding, global warming, ecology, environment, weather, climate, protest, adaptation and prevention.

Through a combination of in-class discussion, readings, presentations, and lectures, as well as first-hand engagement with artworks and documentations, you will develop critical knowledge of different ways of engaging with how climate change is represented in art and gain an understanding of this important and emergent interdisciplinary field.

Viewings and associated readings will exercise your ability to engage in sophisticated analyses and enable you to think about how ideas and concepts relate to and are framed by material practices.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Critically evaluate visual artifacts, practices, concepts and debates pertaining to the representation of climate change in art.
  • 2. Identify the ways in which artists have played a crucial role in working with scientists to communicate climate change.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Demonstrate an ability to independently research, present and critically evaluate visual artefacts and practices to do with climate change in relation to the wider cultural, political and scientific contexts of their production and reception
  • 4. Demonstrate an ability to critically engage and analyse theoretical ideas and relate them convincingly to historical and contemporary art practices to do with climate change.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. Through essay writing, demonstrate a basic capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose in relation to art practice.
  • 6. Through research for the essay, demonstrate basic proficiency in research and bibliographical skills, information retrieval, analysis and sharing.
  • 7. Demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively, orally, and/or in written form, towards the research and presentation of ideas within set time frames.

Syllabus plan

The module will consist of a series of lectures and seminars, structured thematically to address important themes and practices exploring how artists have engaged with climate change. Major themes addressed by the module will include:

  • Climate change
  • Ecological and environmental practice
  • Documenting, representing and communicating climate change
  • Preventing and Adapting to climate change

Further to the above:

Seminars will serve to analyse and discuss in detail particular core readings relative to the overall theme of the module.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching11Lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching11Seminars - these will be led by the tutor. You will need to prepare to participate in the seminars
Scheduled learning and teaching1Tutorial guidance for reading, research and essay preparation
Guided independent study127Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay 500 words1-6Feedback sheet with opportunity for follow-up tutorial

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay901 x 3,000 word essay1-6Feedback sheet with opportunity for follow-up tutorial
Module Participation and Engagement Tasks105 short pieces of approximately 500 words 1-4, 7Final mark

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay (3,000 words)Essay (3,000 words)1-6Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

  • Buckland, D. (2006) Burning Ice: Art and Climate Change, London: Cape Farewell.
  • Gerdes, K., Lippard, L., Smith, S., and Revkin, A. (2007) Weather Report: Art and Climate Change, Boulder: Museum of Contemporary Art.
  • Giannachi, G. and Stewart, N. (eds) (2005) Performing Nature, Explorations in Ecology and the Arts, London and New York: Peter Lang.
  • Giannachi, G. (2012) ‘Representing, Performing and Mitigating Climate Change in Contemporary Art Practice’, Leonardo, vol. 45, no. 2, 125-131.
  • Ingold, T. (2000) The Perception of the Environment, London and New York: Routledge.
  • Kastner, J., and Wallis, B. (1998) Land and Environmental Art, London: Phaidon.
  • Knebusch, J. (2008) ‘Art and Climate (Change) Perception: Outline of a Phenomenology of Climate,’ in S. Kagan and V. Kirchberg (eds) (2008) Sustainability: A New Frontier for the Arts and Cultures, Frankfurt am Main: Verlag fu?r Akademische Schriften, p. 242, 261.

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Key words search

Art History; Visual Culture; Ecology; Environment; Global Warming; Flooding; Adaptation; Mitigation; Climate Change