Critical and Historical Studies

The Department of Critical and Historical Studies sits at the heart of Kingston School of Art. We offer a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses that give our students the opportunity to develop their interest in histories and theories of art and design, alongside the next generation of designers and artists. In addition, our department also provides critical and historical studies teaching to all undergraduate students in the art school, across three years of study.

Critical thinking is one of the skills most desired by employers. We will help you to develop your critical and analytical skills in relation to art and design history, theory and practice; and apply these skills to areas of creative and cultural practice which will be useful to your future career. Here, we encourage you to immerse yourself within Kingston's world-renowned studio culture, and its ethos of ‘thinking through making', and our range of innovative modules and modes of assessment will offer you the option to realise your assignments through a combination of written, visual and three-dimensional formats. Previous students have produced short films, print publications and installations, or have curated exhibitions and events. This ethos informs all aspects of our work.

Our graduates have gone on to significant careers in the creative sectors, whether arts and heritage management, media, publishing and journalism, or to further research, teaching and a future in academia. We work closely in research and teaching partnership with cultural institutions including the V&A Museum, Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Design Museum, and a host of local organisations, including the Stanley Picker Gallery and Dorich House Museum, both of which are part of Kingston University.

Research is central to everything that we do, and we believe that research training should form part of all levels of study, from BA to PhD. We have a lively community of MPhil and PhD researchers, and two leading research centres, in the modern interior, and in visual and material cultures. Our academic staff are also active in the world as curators, researchers and writers; and leading and collaborating on projects with cultural institutions across the globe. Staff research interests include fashion history, industry and media; the crafts and amateur design practice; the modern interior, national and transnational networks of art and design; museology; exhibition histories and curatorial studies; photography and visual culture; film studies and the moving image; contemporary art practice; comics and zines; performance; communication design and its histories. As part of the School of Critical Studies and Creative Industries, we work closely with the staff and courses offered by the school as a whole.

Undergraduate courses

Postgraduate courses