Division of Art History and Contemporary Culture

About the Division

The Art History and Contemporary Culture Division is integral to NSCAD’s studio-based programs in art, craft and design. Courses in art history, English, film history and theory, art education and critical studies serve as both program requirements and general academic electives. Ranging from introductory surveys to senior seminars, these courses bring together students from all divisions, fostering a cross-disciplinary flow of ideas and interaction.

Enhanced by its setting within an art school, the division also offers a Bachelor of Arts, Major in Art History program within a unique interdisciplinary environment. Though it emphasizes Western art, craft, design and architecture from the 19th century onward, the program also provides opportunities to study non-Western art, and to engage in critical discourses surrounding the social production and reception of art. Students in all NSCAD degree programs may also take a minor in art history.

Bachelor of Arts Major in Art History (Non-Studio Transfer)

You will enter the Major in Art History after completing a suggested one year (30 NSCAD credits) of social sciences and humanities courses at another university or college.  NSCAD University offers courses in art and film history, critical studies, English literature, Queer studies, material studies, and art education, which all contribute to a strong art history degree. You will gain knowledge and expertise through courses ranging from Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, to Canadian modern art theory and criticism.

 For more information or to apply please click here

Proposal Forms

The Division of Art History and Contemporary Culture offers students the opportunity to work on independent projects outside of the classroom setting.  The four options are Art History Research Internship (AHIS 4600-1) , Art History Independent Study (AHIS 4700-1), Film History Independent Study  (FHIS 4200-1X) and Critical Studies Independent Study (CSTU 4100-1).  Please click on the form titles to download the application forms.  For additional information please speak with the Division Chair.

Postdoctoral Fellowships

Ezra ezra_winton_2Winton holds a PhD in Communication Studies from Carleton University. His research and teaching interests include radical and alternative media, social movements, and documentary cinema, institutions and culture. His dissertation (December 2013) looks at the cultural politics of documentary as seen through the lens of Toronto’s Hot Docs film festival.

Ezra is a co-founder and Director of Programming of Cinema Politica, the world’s largest grassroots documentary screening network, and is a contributing editor at POV Magazine and Art Threat. Recent publications include a chapter in The Documentary Film Book (BFI Palgrave MacMillan, 2013), edited by Brian Winston and Challenge for Change: Activist Documentary at the National Film Board of Canada (co-edited with Thomas Waugh and Brendan Michael Baker), published by MQUP in 2010. Ezra has taught Global Film Industries at Concordia University and Alternative Media and Media and Social Movements at Carleton University. Ezra currently has two book projects and two book chapters in development, all set to publish in 2014 and 2015.

Documentary media’s long-established relationship with social justice and resistance narratives has positioned it as a preferred method for interpreting and communicating social movement histories, narratives, strategies and actions. Despite this established relationship, research is lacking in both documentary studies and social movement studies, as well as in literature not situated in either field but nonetheless concerned with documentary and/or social movements. My postdoctoral research project, Social Movement Screens: Documentary Media and Movements, seeks to bridge the gap between disparate fields of inquiry as well as the lacuna in the scholarship that has overlooked the interplay between media and social movements from a sociocultural perspective. The project will be carried out over the next two years at NSCAD (Jan 2014 – Dec 2015) and will examine the complex and understudied relationship between documentary media and social movements as cultures of circulation, and will focus on mobilization, interpretation and intersectionality (the bringing together of multiple socio-contextual strands such as politics, class, race, sexuality and gender). Looking at two distinct aspects of documentary media and social movement interplay, documentary media as tactical tool and documentary media as interpretive framework, this project focuses on three historic and active social movements: (1) The Quebec Student Movement (Summer 2012); (2) Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement (emphasizing Idle No More, which began in December 2012); and (3) Climate Justice (2004).

Saara Liinamaa completed her PhD, Experiments in Urban Saara LiinamaaKnowledge: Contemporary Art as Urban Research, in Social and Political Thought at York University, Toronto. Her training in art history, urban studies and social theory pushes her research in a number of different directions, with recent research projects on topics such as: ‘big picture’ photographs of environmental degradation in public galleries and museums; the cultivation of creative citizenship through urban art practices and cultural policy; and, rural art interventions in Canada. She publishes regularly on contemporary art and photography, and recent publications include "Creating a Scene in Contemporary Canadian Art: All Citizens and Practices of Rural Intervention" in All Citizens (Conundrum Press) and "The Artist as Urban Researcher: Research, Representation and Image-Relations in the City" in Cartographies of Place (McGill-Queen’s; forthcoming). She is a member of the editorial collective Public Access that produces the art and culture journal Public, and has worked with a number of different arts organizations.

Saara has been awarded a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Postdoctoral Fellowship at NSCAD to study the changing landscape of university research and collaboration and is under the supervision of NSCAD Professor Dr. Bruce Barber. This postdoctoral project will examine the social and educational implications of the recently championed "Imagination Age" and the prioritization of creativity as a political, economic and cultural asset, starting with the important example of the independent art and design university in Canada.


Division of Art History and Contemporary Culture

Art History and Contemporary Culture General Campus Guide