Festival Insights: Introducing Contemporary Art Practice

This two-day course offers a reflective and critical introduction to contemporary art practice in the context of the Edinburgh Art Festival.

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • critically engage with some of the ideas and practices of contemporary art and exhibitions;
  • begin to integrate elements of contemporary art practice with their own work;
  • understand how to present their work with others.

Festival Insights: Introducing Contemporary Art Practice

Room G.09/G.10, Thomson's Land, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh
Start date
2 days
Day(s) and Times(s)
Sat 22 & Sun 23 July, 9.30am - 4.30pm
Subject Area
Ronald J Binnie
Room G.09/G.10, Thomson's Land, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh
Time of Day
  • Gallery visit
  • Group critique/discussion
  • Studio work
  • Group exhibition/critique 

The teaching will be based and delivered mainly in specialist art and design studios and will typically include an introduction to Modernism and Postmodernism, supported by field trips to contemporary art exhibitions. Over the two days, students’ progress will be monitored and supported by the tutor. Teaching will include one-to-one tuition, group discussions and critiques.

Directed study will include research into a range of suggested artists or designers and their associated movements to engender a contextual awareness of visual culture. Students will be expected to demonstrate how the research has informed their work through annotated sketchbooks or visual journals and practical outcomes.

Core Readings

Smith, Terry, 2009. What is Contemporary Art? Chicago: University of Chicago Press

Hatherley, Owen, 2008.  Militant Modernism.  Winchester: Zero Books

Heartney, Eleanor, 2001. Postmodernism. London: Tate Publishing

Tate Online Resources

The Death of Postmodernism and Beyond

Class Handouts

Course notes will be provided.

Available to purchase during course:

  • Basic materials such as paper, card will be available

Essentials Materials and equipment students will need to provide themselves:

  • Sketchbooks

If you feel you have specific requirements to enable you to study with us, please contact our Student Support Team by email StudentSupport.COL@ed.ac.uk or by phone 0131 650 4400 to arrange a confidential discussion. Giving us this information will enable us to make arrangements to meet your requirements for studying in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010.