History of Art and Visual Culture: In Depth

COVID-19 Message to HAVC students

We are living in different times. Studying the history of art and visual culture connects our unique present to the past, helping you to understand how images work to create narratives about specific historical and cultural moments. Studying the past allows you to evaluate and make sense of the present. How do images of the COVID-19 pandemic differ from images of other pandemics? What can the history of art tell us about some of the root causes of mass protests happening in the USA right now? The knowledge you will gain through the history of art and visual culture will help you to make sense of our world. You have a team of profs who are thrilled to guide you on this journey. We have created brand new courses and revised versions of older courses that speak to the past and the present in ways that are engaging and thought-provoking. We are looking forward to working with you this year!

BA Honours History of Art and Visual Culture (HAVC)

Ever wonder why certain works of art were censored? Curious about why some old maps have pictures of monsters on them? Interested in how new technologies have shaped art-making? Our courses in the History of Art and Visual Culture answer these questions and much, much more.

This degree provides a solid foundation for future academic and curatorial work in the arts. Students majoring in HAVC will take a wide variety of thematic courses exploring the history of art and visual culture. Through lectures, seminars, field trips, research projects, and creative work, students will explore such topics as:

  • the development of artistic styles over time
  • critical and aesthetic issues relating to the production and consumption of art and visual culture
  • the ways in which art interacts with other forms of visual culture

What do we do in the History of Art and Visual Culture?

History of Art and Visual Culture takes a thematic approach to the study of art and visual culture from the ancient world to the present. Our award-winning faculty (Keri Cronin, PhD., Derek J.J. Knight, M.A., Linda Steer, PhD.) teach a variety of engaging courses that include topics such as:

  • the role of animals in art and visual culture
  • trends defining the art world today
  • visual culture and the body
  • case studies in censored art
  • the evolving role of the contemporary artist in society
  • the ways that gender is negotiated through art and visual culture

In HAVC we explore history as it is connected to the present. Courses are innovative, interdisciplinary, and current.

You can learn more about the scholarly research work and teaching by the professors in this program  by visiting the program blog:  HAVoC.

Why a degree in History of Art and Visual Culture?

A BA (Honours) provides the foundation for further study in museum or curatorial studies, gallery administration, art criticism, art history, many related areas in humanities or social science research, fine arts, education, and law school.

Our students graduate with the transferable skills that are in high demand in the marketplace.  These skills include:

  • critical evaluation of visual and written texts
  • independent thinking and problem solving
  • long-term project development and delivery
  • an understanding of how the past informs the present

A BA (Honours) degree in the History of Art and Visual Culture, offered through the Department of Visual Arts requires the completion of 11 credits in the major suject. There is also the option of either a Combined BA degree (8 credits) or Minor in History of Art and Visual Culture (4 credits).
See brocku.ca/webcal/undergrad/visa for more information about degree requirements.

Applying to the HAVC program.

Students interested in the History of Art and Visual Culture studies (HAVC) program apply to the Bachelor of Arts in Humanities – Faculty of Humanities exploratory first year program (OUAC code: BR) and declare their HAVC major during the first year of their BR studies. Applicants to the HAVC program are not required to submit a portfolio.

Think visual culture. Act and reflect compassionately!

National Gallery of Canada, Pop Life and Jeff Koons posters on display; in foreground: Louise Bourgeois, "Maman", 1999. (D. Knight, 2010).

National Gallery of Canada, Pop Life and Jeff Koons posters on display. (D. Knight, 2010).

Did you know?

Many medical schools are now requiring students to take History of Art and Visual Culture courses in order to develop powers of observation necessary for being a doctor.

RSS the program blog: HAVoC

  • Wednesday pic[k]s June 16, 2021
    Taryn Simon, A Cold Hole (2018) (photos: D. Knight) I visited MassMoCA, North Adams, in 2018 where I witnessed a performance organized by the American artist Taryn Simon titled A Cold Hole (2018). The small audience waited patiently gathered at one end of the gallery, looking toward an icy hole in the floor. Out of […]
  • Sunday pic[k]s April 18, 2018
    Nancy Spero, “Maypole: Take No Prisoners,” Galerie Lelong, New York,  April 28 – June 17, 2017 (photos: Derek Knight).
  • Empathy and Art February 16, 2018
    In the artsy.net article “Study Finds Med Students Who Make Time for Art Have More Empathy,” Casey Lesser summarizes the findings of a new study regarding medical students and the arts. The study found that students who were educated in the arts as well as in medicine had higher scores on “empathy, tolerance of ambiguity, […]
  • Sunday pic[k]s November 27, 2017
      The Church of Santa Maria Annunciata in Chiesa Rossa, Milan, is unlike any other church with coloured fluorescent lights accenting its interior architecture. The American artist Dan Flavin (1933-96) was commissioned in 1996 to produce Untitled, an installation with green, blue, pink, golden and ultraviolet light. The blue fluorescent lights running the length of […]
  • Sunday pic[k]s November 22, 2017
    Geoffrey Farmer representing Canada in 2017 at the 57th Venice Biennale delivered a strong and innovative installation titled A Way Out of the Mirror in which water became the playful antagonist, erupting and spraying with dramatic and sometimes unexpected force. In Venice water is everywhere, both its scourge and irrepressible charm. For us in Canada, […]
Main Hall, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.

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