Art in Latin America

The details
Art History and Theory
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Sunday 17 January 2021
Friday 26 March 2021
01 June 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA V3R9 Art History with Modern Languages,
BA VR3B Art History with Modern Languages (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA V351 Curating,
BA V352 Curating (Including Year Abroad),
BA V353 Curating (including Placement Year),
BA V359 Curating (Including Foundation Year),
BA V35B Curating (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad)

Module description

The artistic heritage of Latin America is both as vast as its expansive geography and as rich as its complex history.

Interwoven with the social, political, and cultural realities that have shaped the region, art from Latin America is a diverse and fascinating tapestry of pre-Columbian artefacts and Colonial art; botanical surveys and post-independence paintings; iconographies of social revolution; avant-garde aesthetics; and contemporary engagements with violence and injustice. Artists from Latin America have long made significant contributions to innovating aesthetic forms by reaching beyond geographical boundaries to pioneer and engage with transnational movements, from Geometric Abstraction and Conceptualism, through to the digital interfaces at the frontiers of technological development.

During this module, we will look closely at select artworks that offer insights into key moments in art making in Latin America. We will study artworks in dialogue with the region's socio-political processes, addressing important historical events such as colonisation, the Mexican Revolution, modernisation, and political conflict. Within this interdisciplinary approach, we will focus mainly on modern and contemporary works of art to examine them in relation to issues such as nature and the landscape, cultural hybridity, modernity, trauma, and identity. We will begin with an introduction to Latin America, then examine core topics over the following weeks, combining readings of key critical and analytical texts with detailed discussions of specific artworks.

We will engage closely with artworks at the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA), a major research and teaching collection at the University of Essex and a unique university and national resource. Representing 350 artists from 19 countries, ESCALA includes more than 750 artworks mostly produced from the 1960s to the present

Module aims

The aims of the module are:

1. To explore key themes and issues related to Latin America through its artistic heritage
2. To encourage interdisciplinary approaches to studying art
3. To study key artistic movements in modern Latin America
4. To familiarise students with the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA)
5. To contextualise artworks in broader political, social and cultural contexts

Module learning outcomes

At the end of the module, you should have developed skills that enable you to:

1. Discuss works of art in relation to their social and historical contexts
2. Engage in close analysis of artworks considering their production and circulation
3. Read and discuss art historical and critical texts, and relate them to specific artworks
4. Engage in independent research by sourcing for and using secondary texts
5. Participate in class discussions and engage constructively with feedback
6. Formulate and sustain a clear argument in relation to specific works of art and their context, thinking critically and laterally

Module information

ESCALA often organises and shares information about events related to art from Latin America at the University's Colchester Campus or at other venues through its website blog.

We advise signing up to ESCALA's social media and checking the website frequently for information about ESCALA events and opportunities.

ESCALA also has a wealth of resources to support research and learning on its website: and its Vimeo channel

Learning and teaching methods

There will be a two-hour combined lecture and seminar each week. All teaching events will be accessible to students on and off campus either face-to-face or remotely through online teaching. Week 21 is reading week.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Essay 1 (1000 Words)    30% 
Coursework   Text on ESCALA artwork (500 words)    30% 
Coursework   Essay 2 (2000 Words)    40% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Lisa Blackmore, email:
Dr Lisa Blackmore



External examiner

Prof Richard Simon Clay
Newcastle University
Professor of Digital Cultures
Available via Moodle
Of 18 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
18 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Art History and Theory

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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