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Oxford’s Art & Architecture

Oxford’s Art & Architecture

This course is intended to offer students a brisk and lively introduction to the history of European art and architecture, with particularly close attention paid to Oxford’s unique heritage, to endow students with the skills needed to critically engage with works.

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Course Summary

The course is divided into six separate classes, with each session following roughly the same format. After approximately thirty minutes of classroom learning on a particular artistic period or style, students then embark on a ninety-minute walking tour of Oxford’s buildings, colleges, art collections and museums, observing ‘case studies’ which illustrate the period under discussion. Periods range from the development of art and architecture in Europe between the Roman and Norman Conquests to the architecture of the University in the 20th and 21st centuries, looking at how the forces of Modernism and Post-Modernism have shaped art and architecture in Oxford. These developments will be viewed through the expression of these major currents and styles in the artistic and architectural legacy of Oxford, one of the world’s greatest cultural centres.

Students will be able to explore the Ashmolean Museum and its 2,500 years of European Art – a fantastic resource for keen art historians. The city of Oxford contains an example of every major period of English architecture from the Saxons to the present day, and is consequently the ideal location for our course.

Students will all bring their own insights from the artistic traditions of their respective countries, so entering debate and making contributions for the benefit of the whole class is strongly encouraged.


Students are not expected to have any familiarity with the history of art or architecture before taking this course; however, students who have already studied such topics should nonetheless find plenty to interest them in this course, especially if they are keen to explore how what they have already learned is reflected in the fascinating heritage of Oxford. Students with a keen interest in Architecture might be interested in the Summer Architecture Programme – a course dedicated solely to the fascinating discipline of architecture.

Course Outcomes

What will you get out of the Oxford’s Art and Architecture Summer Course?

This course is intended to offer students a brisk and lively introduction to the history of European art and architecture, with particular attention to Oxford’s unique heritage. Students are given practical experience of visiting specific buildings and art collections in Oxford, and are endowed with the basic critical apparatus needed to engage critically with the works they observe.

Suggested Reading

There is no compulsory reading required prior to the beginning of the course, but students may find it enjoyable to look at one of the numerous books available that describe the history, customs and cultural legacy of Oxford. Particularly good ones include the following:


Oxford College Accommodation

  • Location Oxford
  • Ages Ages: 12+, 13-15, 16-18, 19+
  • Bedroom Type Single and twin
  • Bathroom Type En-suite & Shared (single gender)
  • Year Built Founded in 1096 (University of Oxford)

Further Information

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