Art history summer university applications open soon!

We are very excited to announce that applications for the 2015 Summer University opened today until 27th April 2015! Further information about the application process can be found on our website.


Summer University runs from Tuesday 7 to Friday 10 July 2015. This year’s theme is Global/ Local looking at art history in its global and local contexts, as well as studying art from across the world in a variety of London collections including our very own Courtauld Gallery.


Not sure what Summer University is? Especially designed for year 12 students, this is an opportunity to spend four days experiencing student life at a world-class university, The Courtauld Institute of Art, with its own beautiful art gallery.



To apply to take part you must be currently studying at a UK state school or FE college, with an interest in finding out more about Art History and the possibilities of studying the subject at degree level.

This is a free non-residential course designed for students from non-selective state school or college.

AH Summer University 5

Got any questions? Email to find out more.

We hope to hear from you soon!

Insights into art history!

Welcome back! We wanted to let you know what we have got up to over the half term. 15 young people from year 10 to year 13 joined us for two Insights into Art History workshops. They were both brilliant days and looked a little like this…!

Day 1: Conservation

Where science meets art: a day considering The Courtauld Gallery from the perspective of conservation. We were lucky enough to have a tour of the collection in the morning from a second year conservation student from The Courtauld Institute of Art.

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Highlight was finding out that one of these figures below has an extra toe as a restorer in the 19th century got a little carried away while retouching the painting…

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In the afternoon artist Nadine Mahoney, who makes her own paints as part of her practice, showed us how to mix egg tempera and then we finished off with a little go at gilding!

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Day 2: Manet’s Bar

This day concentrated on one of The Courtauld Gallery’s most famous artworks of all time: Manet’s Bar at the Folies-Bergere. The morning was spent with Dr Caroline Levitt, an art historian who specialises in French modern art.

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In the afternoon, we hit Somerset House courtyard with photographer and artist Marysa Dowling to create art of our own!


The Courtauld Institute of Art’s Insights into Art History workshops are for year 10 – 13 students, currently studying at a UK state school or FE college, with an interest in finding out more about Art History and the possibilities of studying the subject at degree level.

These are free non-residential courses designed for students from non-selective state school or college.

If you would like to sign up for any future workshops or would like to find out more, please get in touch with Meghan Goodeve or Alice Odin, Oak Foundation Young  People’s Programme Coordinator, at or 0207 848 1058.


Insights is a series of free one-day workshops especially designed for 16-19 year olds to explore and investigate The Courtauld Gallery collection. Each day has an exciting focus and a new subject to discover! Booking required for all events:

Please check out the different workshops below and let us know whether you would like to attend one or more!

Conservation Pilot St Doms 2013 (5)

PAINTING CONSERVATION – suitable for year 10 and upwards
Tuesday 17th February 2015, 11.00-15.30

(half term)

Experience art and science collide in this workshop focusing on painting conservation. Working with an experienced professional, this day will equip you with skills on how to use scientific techniques to study paintings as well as the benefits this has to your own art work.

manet bar

MANET’S BAR– suitable for year 10 and upwards
Wednesday 18th February 2015, 11.00-15.30

(half term)

Take a closer look at The Courtauld Gallery’s most famous artwork Manet’s Bar at the Folies-Bergere. This will give you a change to work with an art historian and contemporary artist to see how Manet’s work has continued to shape artists since its inception. From Tom Hunter to yourself you will create a portfolio of work inspired by this artwork in just one day.


PRINTING DAY – suitable for year 10 and upwards

Saturday 14th March 2015, 11.00 – 16.00

Explore a wide range of printing techniques with our print expert Helen Higgins. Following on from our Prints and Drawings day in October, you will engage with a wide range of printing techniques and see up close some wonderful examples in our brand new Prints and Drawings gallery.

Please note, places are allocated in priority to students from non-selective state schools or FE colleges and/or from a Widening Participation background. To book simply email Meghan Goodeve & Alice Odin, Oak Foundation Young People’s Programme Coordinator (job-share), on


Shortlist announced! click connect construct.

We have been overwhelmed by the quality of applications to Click, Connect, Construct: 16-19 Student Visual Essay Competition 2014-15 at The Courtauld Institute of Art. Yesterday we announced 12 shortlisted students who are invited to take part in our Celebration Day!


The students selected are Angel, Blossom, Chloe, Georgie, Hannah, Jeremy, Lily, Molly, Nadia, Nathan, and Shirley from the following schools: Bethnal Green Academy, Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham College, Kingsdale Foundation School, New College Nottingham, Swindon New College, and Sydenham and Forest Hill School.

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On the day we will be announcing the overall winners for the following categories:

Best Art History Research

Most Creative Interpretation of a Theme

Most Visual Impact

Most Original Approach to Source Material


The afternoon will include a tour of the newly opened exhibition at The Courtauld Gallery Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album and a behind the scenes workshop in the prints and drawings room, not usually open for public.

All shortlisted applicants will be given a prize on the day, which will include complimentary tickets to The Courtauld Gallery and much more!

Top 5 exhibitions to see in 2015!

mince pies

Now the festive period is upon us, we have put together a top 5 exhibition list for 2015. Enjoy!

Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society 1915-2015

Thu Jan 15 2015 – Thu Apr 16 2015. Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High St, E1 7QX

Rubens and His Legacy: Van Dyck to Cézanne

Sat Jan 24 2015 – Fri Apr 10 2015. Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD

Marlene Dumas: The Image as Burden

Thu Feb 5 2015 – Sun May 10 2015. Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG

Human Rights Human Wrongs

Fri Feb 6 2015 – Mon Apr 6 2015. Photographers’ Gallery, 16-18 Ramillies St, W1F 7LW

Barbara Hepworth

Wed Jun 24 2015 – Sun Oct 25 2015. Tate Britain, Millbank, SW1P 4RG

Insights into art history half term workshops!

In October half term we were very happy to welcome young people on two one-day workshops at The Courtauld Gallery. A mixture of returning faces from projects, such as Animating Art History and  Art History in the Classroom, and new faces from schools and colleges across London.

Day one focused on Prints and Drawings with printmaker and print historian Helen Higgins (@helenhigginsart) leading the day. We visited both the gallery and had an exclusive look at the Prints and Drawings room with Assistant Curator of Works on Paper Dr Rachel Sloan. See below for pictures from the day! 

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Day two continued the theme of prints and drawings, but this time focusing on Jasper Johns: Regrets at The Courtauld. Working with artist Nadine Mahoney and Dr Katie Faulker, we were lucky enough to have a curator’s tour by Dr Barnaby Wright followed by creating lots of experimental drawings.

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We run half term workshops for young people so contact us on if you would like to find out more about what is going on! Alternatively drop us a tweet @CourtauldYP

click, connect, construct!

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The 16-19 student visual essay competition is open to all young people aged 16-19 years who are studying or interested in art, art history and the humanities subjects.

Developed in partnership with FE and sixth form tutors, this digital project is centred on twentieth-century art historian Aby Warburg and utilises Pinterest.  Pinterest is a great way to collect images digitally and to shift through the multitude of artworks that are available on the internet. We are asking students to create a visual essay based on and around an artwork from The Courtauld Gallery collection.

The project brief supports students in developing visual literacy, research skills, knowledge and confidence for the critical and contextual component of the Art and Design A-level, BTEC and for the EPQ.



The Competition opens on the 29th September 2014.  The deadline for submissions is the 12th December 2014.

Details on how to submit student work digitally are covered in the brief.

Our Information for Teachers guide contains detaild of CPD opportunities and workshops that we offer to support you in delivering this project.

Find out more:


Check out The Courtauld’s Education Pinterest how the project was developed here.

Naomi, Student Ambassador for Summer University 2014, reveals her insights into the course!

I really enjoyed my week working as a Student Ambassador at the Art History Summer University. It was a fantastic opportunity to talk to young people about what art history at university is like, as many had not studied the subject before! Over the course of the week I saw the group really build, especially when they were shown in various workshops and introductory lectures how their research and writing skills from other art and design, humanities and even science subjects transferred well into art history.

One of my favourite lectures was Illustrated Books and How to Read Them? given by Dr Caroline Levitt. She spoke engagingly about the role of value in art (something that has definitely cropped up in my studies numerous times so far) and how the value of mass produced items like books can change when an artist draws directly onto them. Her lecture was also good in highlighting the broadness of art history and how ‘art’ goes beyond just a painting, a sculpture, a building, and can be extended to so many other forms and philosophical concepts.


Throughout the week the students were asked to prepare an exhibition pitch in groups. Following several curatorial workshops and a visit to the MA Curation exhibition, currently at The Courtauld Gallery, each group selected a theme and suggested a way in which objects in The Courtauld Gallery’s collection and beyond could be curated around this. Each group had fantastic research skills and a knack for understanding the interrelations between different artworks. Their presentations at the end of the week were truly impressive with clear communication and great visuals.


I really hope that the students enjoyed the week as much as we did and as a result will consider the many possibilities that art history at university level can offer.


Not sure what to do this summeR?

How about check out our top exhibitions in London for Summer 2014. Between stints on the beach of course!

Art and Life: Ben Nicholson, Winifred Nicholson, Christopher Wood, Alfred Wallis, William Staite Murray, 1920-31, Dulwich Picture Gallery, Tue Jul 1 – Sun Sep 21

British Folk Art, Tate Britain, Mon Jun 30 – Sun Sep 7

Marina Abramović: 512 Hours, Serpentine Gallery, Thu Jul 3 – Sun Aug 24

Colour, The National Gallery, Mon Jun 30 – Sun Sep 7

Edward Thomasson, Chisenhale Gallery, Thu Jul 3 – Sun Aug 24

Radical Geometry: Modern Art of South America from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection, Royal Academy, Sat Jul 5 – Sun Sep 28

Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision, National Portrait Gallery, Thu Jul 10 – Sun Oct 26

Kazimir Malevich, Tate Modern, Wed Jul 16 – Sun Oct 26

And don’t forget to visit us at The Courtauld Gallery too!

Liz Libor, NCN History of Art Course Leader reflects on a day of Art History in Nottingham!

The intention:  To raise awareness of art history as a discipline and encourage students to consider applying for the subject at degree level

The locations: New College Nottingham (NCN): An FE college in the centre of the historic Lace Market area and Creative Quarter of Nottingham that offers History of Art A Level and has a widening participation partnership with the Courtauld Institute. Nottingham Contemporary: A new and cutting edge gallery with generous and flexible exhibition space, currently hosting the Arts Council touring exhibition: “Somewhat Abstract”.

The organisers and deliverers: The Courtauld Insitute of Art’s Oak Foundation Young People’s Co-ordinator Meghan Goodeve & Alice Odin and Gallery Educator Helen Higgins, and Dr Lucy Bradnock from the University of Nottingham.

The Schools: NCN, Redhill Academy, and South Wold Academy


We were excited and apprehensive in equal measure: would the students materialise in sufficient numbers to make the event a success for The Courtauld and University of Nottingham staff who had kindly given their time and effort to make this event happen?  If students did come, would they enjoy the experience and enhance their understanding and interest in art history? Would lunch appear on time? In the end it all went swimmingly – which all goes to prove that it’s better to be a Tigger than an Eyore, as all things tend to turn out well in the end.  Around 50 students and 4 staff attended plus the 3 Courtauld staff members and Dr Lucy Bradnock from the University of Nottingham.

A variety of short talks and student activities kept a lively pace throughout the day and time just flew past.  All the students were eager to participate and contributed freely to both open discussions and group activities. Their responses were excellent with mature, thought provoking and original ideas being generated. Perhaps a highlight of the morning session based in the lecture hall of the historic Adams Building at NCN was the curatorial group activity of planning and creating a gallery space to display a self-selected theme from a choice of images from The Courtauld Gallery’s collection. The results were diverse and imaginative, ranging from a focus on sophisticated themes through to actual 3D models of the envisaged gallery space and another focused on thoughts as to the use of lighting and positioning of works that promised an installation work in its own right!




Suddenly it was lunchtime and NCN provided a generous spread of sandwiches and fresh fruit, so generous that there was still plenty left over at the end – even with a room full of hungry teenagers!  After lunch  the whole group walked the short distance down the road to Nottingham Contemporary, moving from the imposing brick and stone grandeur of Adams to the geometric, cantilevered, utilitarian exterior of the gallery that has been nicknamed by some locals  ‘the chicken shed’. Appearances, as we all know can be deceptive and once inside the gallery space students were excited by the size and diverse contents of the current exhibition that ranges through 4 large interconnected spaces.  The day continued with activities centred on experiencing works of art face-to-face and evaluating curatorial decisions.  The current exhibition Somewhat Abstract displays a wide diversity of art works across all mediums and drawn from a chronological range from early 20th century to contemporary; some easily recognisable: a Francis Bacon Screaming Pope “Head VI”, a Barbara Hepworth abstract sculpture, several Bridget Riley, Frank Auerbachs & Walter Sickerts, a Rachael Whiteread; others less familiar and equally intriguing – something for everyone and everyone found something that excited them. So much so that students were reluctant to leave when the final summary and feedback session were delivered in the cavernous and atmospheric setting of Nottingham Contemporary’s The Space.


By the end of the day all participants appeared tired but also content. Feedback from students revealed that they felt it had all been worthwhile and that they had gained a valuable insight into the challenges, attractions, skill sets and employability offered by art history, while the teachers of the participating schools were very enthusiastic and declared that they would be eager to take part in any future activities. The Courtauld team and Lucy looked exhausted, but they were very positive and felt that their efforts had been well rewarded by the enthusiasm and quality of responses from the students – so well done all and a special thanks to Meghan, Alice, Helen and Lucy for making such a herculean effort to organise and deliver the event –  bravo and y’all come back real soon!

(Photos: AP Smith Pictures