Study Trip Abroad (Year 2)

The details
Philosophical, Historical and Interdisciplinary Studies (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Monday 15 January 2024
Friday 22 March 2024
28 September 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

Often described as the 'birthplace' of the Renaissance,the city of Florence remains today defined by the achievements of artists and architects working for public and private patrons in the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.This module aims at an understanding of late medieval and Renaissance art by seeing it in relation to broader transformations in the culture of Florence during the period in which the city morphed from an expansionist republican city-state into an oligarchic regime before transforming again into a hereditary duchy.

The module will study different genres of visual representation (mural painting, the altarpiece, public sculpture) and the different social spaces where art was displayed (civic buildings, city squares, religious institutions, pleasure villas). It will follow the careers of major masters while also exploring the urban center where these artists, and many others not as well known, produced their works in response to the demands of patrons and institutions.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To experience art and architecture in situ, and to be able to engage in sustained visual analysis of real art objects.

  • To develop a deep and sustained sense of a single city's art, architecture, culture, and politics across time.

  • To learn how to research and write about artworks and buildings in situ.

  • To learn to summarise and re-present key theoretical and historical arguments concisely.

  • To introduce students to specialised debates in past and recent literature around the city visited.

  • To raise student awareness of different methods of approaching the discipline through analysis of chosen texts.

  • To stimulate students to develop skills in written communication through essays and oral communication and debate in museums, galleries and architectural sites.

  • To raise student awareness of different methods of approaching the discipline through analysis of chosen texts.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to have:

  1. A sound grasp of the history, art and culture of the city studied.

  2. The ability to interpret art based on sound knowledge of the appropriate historical and interpretative contexts.

  3. The confidence to subject the artworks and texts studied to critical analysis.

  4. Some experience in textual analysis relevant to works and theoretical debates.

  5. An ability to analyse works of art, both with preparation and sight-unseen.

Skills for your Professional Life

By the end of this module, students should also have acquired a set of transferable skills, and in particular be able to:

  1. Define the task in which they are engaged and exclude what is irrelevant.

  2. Seek and organise the most relevant discussions and sources of information.

  3. Process a large volume of diverse and sometimes conflicting arguments.

  4. Compare and evaluate different arguments and assess the limitations of their own position or procedure.

  5. Write and present verbally a succinct and precise account of positions, arguments, and their presuppositions and implications.

  6. Be sensitive to the positions of others and communicate their own views in ways that are accessible to them.

  7. Think 'laterally' and creatively (i.e., to explore interesting connections and possibilities, and to present these clearly rather than as vague hunches).

  8. Maintain intellectual flexibility and revise their own position based on feedback.

  9. Think critically and constructively.

Module information

The School provide a subsidy for Art History and ISC students for this trip, but you will be responsible for covering any additional costs outside of this. Any students not on an Art History or ISC course will be required to cover their own costs. Costs will differ each year depending on the destination and details for the trip.

Transformations in artistic practices and representational forms will be related to specific social, political, economic, and cultural conditions. Along the way, we will examine the cultural production of some of the central figures working in Florence during the Renaissance, including Giotto, Brunelleschi, Donatello, Alberti, Masaccio, Ghiberti, Fra Angelico, Fra Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Pontormo, and Bronzino.

The trip will feature a mix of guided and independent visits to a range of museums, key buildings, and other cultural sites. The module will examine the rich and layered social, political, and cultural history of Florence during the late medieval and Renaissance periods, and interrogate the relationship between art, culture, politics, geography and religion as played out in and through the city itself. There will be an introductory session and two seminars in the Spring term and the trip itself will be in the Easter Vacation. Assessments will be due in the summer term.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • Two preparatory lectures.
  • Study trip.

Preparatory lectures will be given in the latter half of the spring term. The study trip abroad will take place in the Easter Vacation.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   2000 word research diary     50% 
Coursework   2000 word essay    50% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Diana Presciutti, email:
Profesor Diana Presciutti
PHAIS General Office - 6.130;



External examiner

Dr Dominic Paterson
University of Glasgow
Senior Lecturer in History of Art / Curator of Contemporary Art
Available via Moodle
Of 5 hours, 5 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


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