Widening participation - history of art

Embedding widening participation in the curriculum: history of art in the community.

Team members: Jill Burke, Emily Goetsch, Andrew Patrizio, Claudia Hopkins, Cara Samuels, Charlotte Englund, Josephine Tipper, Lowrie Davies


We are applying for PTAS funding to develop materials for a new 40-credit third year honours course provisionally called ‘History of Art in the Community’, which would give our students hands-on work experience in arts education and embed Widening Participation (WP) into our curriculum.

Lack of diversity is an endemic problem for History of Art departments and Edinburgh is no exception, with only 18% of our student entry in 2013 indicated as WP candidates. Public perceptions often misunderstand our subject as elitist - a situation that is self-perpetuating until History of Art departments train a broader range of students to shape the cultural world of the future.

A successful application would enable us to employ a Research Assistant to work with the WP officers at ECA and the central university to gather materials from local state schools about the possibility of introducing student-led ‘taster’ sessions on History of Art to the school curriculum at both primary and secondary levels. These would form an integral part of the proposed course.

Student members of our team will shape the course through canvassing opinions from their peers and feeding back to the course team. Academics will provide their experience in course creation and management as well as intellectual framework. Building on existing experience of community-based courses in ECA, ‘History of Art in the Community’ would provide invaluable work experience for our students and, we hope, encourage greater public understanding of the vitality and openness of History of Art as an academic discipline.

Final Project Report

The final project report may be downloaded below:

History of art in the community - final project report (PDF)

Other Project Outcomes

Keynote Lecture to the Association of Art Historians Widening Participation Group  (9 March 2016) at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London  by Emily Goetsch

Keynote lecture - slides (PDF)