Compilation of nine images arranged in a square. The images all depict expressive hand gestures that relate to words overlayed on the composition.

Visual Studies 2: Understanding Visual Culture

Course Level: 2 (HE5) | HE Credits: 60 | Approx. Duration: 15 months at 10hrs/week


This Visual Studies unit is intended to extend your understanding of visual art, looking at different types of writing that examine our encounter with visual language and applying these to your studio work. The unit will look at contemporary artists working in a variety of disciplines such as John Akomfrah, Amie Siegel, Jananne Al-Ani, Lubaina Himid, Sue Tompkins and Adrian Villar Rojas (amongst others) through a range of texts.  The introduction of different approaches to examine a diverse range of art practices will inform and contextualize your own studio practice. You will be required to research a variety of subjects and will therefore need access to the Internet as a research resource.

The unit offers a range of assignment options that will enable those working in one or more disciplines to combine and balance practical investigation with theoretical study.


The aims of this unit are to:

  • A1: foster an understanding of different theoretical and conceptual strands of critical debate relating to art practice
  • A2: to introduce you to a wide range of writing and the ability to apply analytical techniques in study skills
  • A3: to enable you  to evaluate and analyse visual and textual material in relation to art practice and your area(s) of study and creative practice.
  • A4: to introduce you to key texts, critical and theoretical concepts, methodologies and strategies relating to art practice and applying these to your creative work
  • A5: to foster, and analyse the relationship of practical work to theoretical study through a body of work


On satisfactory completion of the unit you will be able to:

  • LO1: identify relevant and appropriate sources of information and application to the visual and   textual analysis of art & design (A1)
  • LO2: critically evaluate, analyse and synthesise appropriate critical and theoretical texts in the context of studio practice  (A3)
  • LO3: demonstrate a range of research skills, methodologies and understanding of the relevant forms and modes of information, including textual and electronic (A2)
  • LO4: demonstrate an appropriate understanding and application of theoretical and critical research methodologies to the analysis and evaluation of areas of art practice and practical work(A4)
  • LO5: critically analyse the relationship of practical work to theoretical study through a body of work (A5)

Course sample

Click here to download the Visual Studies 2: Understanding Visual Culture course sample