Department of Art History and Image Studies

The department currently serves the BA General as well as the BA Fine Arts programmes and contextualises the work of fine artists in South Africa among a wide variety of image types from various cultures and eras. The department’s name reflects a new focus on a wider range of image types than art in the era of the “deluge of images,” when pictures are increasingly used to make present what is beyond our senses. Works of art (paintings, drawings, sculpture etc.)/artistic images as well as pictures like diagrams, scientific models, maps, schemas, caricatures, films and advertisements (often accompanied by sound) make notions, ideas, concepts, beliefs and theoretical processes which are otherwise invisible, ever more present.

By equipping students in art history with analytic knowledge of art historical approaches, image theories, theories of the imagination and methodologies for image interpretation they are predisposed to knowledgeably analyse diverse pictures and images. In the training of visual artists from the BA Fine Arts programme, art historical discourse complements their studio research. Students also acquire skills such as critical thinking, writing and public speaking as well as an in-depth knowledge of art and culture/ various cultures which opens up endless possibilities for a wide range of career paths. Our graduates become curators and museum staff, art critics and entrepreneurs, teachers and academics as well as visual artists.

In our department we aim to vitalise art history by practising the discipline within a contemporary African and South African framework. Students are exposed to the history of the visual arts, as well as to the history of ideas in order to analyse their dynamic impact on contemporary life. The fact that we are situated in the diversity of South Africa and the African continent intensifies the mutual tensions between theories, image objects and imaginary worlds. Our study of images emphasises the iconic energy of translations, transformations and transactions between cultures, theories and aesthetic image objects.

The postgraduate programme in Film and Visual Media

The department plays a large part in the facilitation of the interdisciplinary honours and masters’ degrees in Film and Visual Media. Art History and Image Studies is an ideal subject to pursue in preparation for these postgraduate degrees, because it develops theoretical, historical and systematic ways of thinking about still and moving images. This postgraduate programme is unique because students integrate film history, theory and analysis with making their own short films. For more information on the programme, find it on the UFS website or email to filmandvisualmedia@ufs.ac.za

The Willem Boshoff Research Archive

The internationally celebrated artist Willem Boshoff (www.willemboshoff.com) - a senior professor in the Department of Fine Arts at the University of the Free State, - has donated his comprehensive digital archive to the university. The research archive consists of a collection of photographs and articles about the artist’s artworks and independent research, a collection of music and photographs of plants and animals. The exceptional departmental collection of films, images and articles – stored on state-of-the art Apple – computers also forms part of the research archive. Students who undertake one of our programmes or modules thus sharpen their research skills because they have access to a variety of interdisciplinary sources/research material.


FACULTY CONTACT

T: +27 51 401 2240 or humanities@ufs.ac.za

Postgraduate:
Marizanne Cloete: +27 51 401 2592

Undergraduate:
Katlego Mabulana: +27 51 401 2495
Nhlamulo (Lucky) Hlongwane: +27 51 401 3519
Juanita Hlongwane: +27 51 401 3269

Humanities photo next to contact block