Study Trip Abroad (Final Year)

The details
Philosophical, Historical, and Interdisciplinary Studies (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
21 May 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

Much like a palimpsest, Berlin has multiple layers of history accrued within its buildings, memorials, ruins, and topography. While this palimpsest-like quality is one that extends to countless cities, Berlin stands out for the extent to which it has been transformed by four major developments in twentieth century politics. The first was the rise of National Socialism, which, following the party’s 1933 assumption of power on a national level, resulted in the construction of new and often monumental buildings; a planned but largely unrealized expansion of the city; as well as the destruction and desecration of synagogues as part of the country’s systematic persecution of Jews. The second major development was World War II, which resulted in extremely heavy bombing and, after Germany’s 1945 defeat, Berlin’s division into four sectors controlled by the war’s victorious powers. A third and closely related development, which occurred a dozen years after the 1949 founding of East and West Germany, involved the construction of the Berlin wall, which physically cut off West Berlin from East Berlin and East Germany more generally. A final development was Germany’s 1990 reunification, which resulted in the dissolution of barriers between East and West Germany as well as Berlin’s new role as the reunified country’s capital.

Over the course of roughly a week, we will explore a range of sites that shed light on Berlin’s multiple historical layers. Some of these sites will include landmark buildings, museums, monuments and memorials, documentation centers, as well as various traces of the city’s destruction and division in Berlin’s sprawling topography. Besides visiting such historically charged sites, we will also discover the city’s exceptionally rich array of art museums and galleries, since both the works themselves and the buildings in which they appear nuance our understanding of the pivotal role that art has assumed both in Berlin’s history and the ways that we remember the decisive events that occurred within and beyond its borders.

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 greater appreciation and richer understanding of the city studied.

  2. Insight into different methods of art-historical investigation and knowledge of contextual debates regarding art in the city studied.

  3. Some experience in textual analysis relevant to artworks and theoretical debates relating to the material covered on the course.

  4. An ability to talk lucidly about the art and buildings studied.

  5. An ability to demonstrate all of these competences through coursework submitted and the oral presentation.

Skills for your Professional Life (Transferable Skills)

By the end of the 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 students on this trip, with priority given to students on Art History and Curating courses. The School will cover travel, accomodation and entrance fees but students will be required to cover the remainder of their costs. 

Costs will differ each year depending on the destination and details for the trip.

Students must attend all teaching sessions prior to the trip; Students who miss teaching sessions without an excused absence will be asked to select another module. Students who do not engage and/or attend during the trip may be asked to repay costs to the School.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • Two 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   2500 word essay    50% 
Coursework   Observational Report A (750 words)     12.5% 
Coursework   Observational Report B (750 words)     12.5% 
Practical   Presentation    25% 

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
Dr Michael Tymkiw, email:
Dr Michael Tymkiw
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 141 hours, 6 (4.3%) hours available to students:
135 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


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

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