Art in Latin America

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


Requisites for this module



Key module for

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),
BA L990 Global Studies and Latin American Studies,
BA L991 Global Studies and Latin American Studies (Including Foundation Year),
BA L992 Global Studies and Latin American Studies (including Placement Year),
BA L993 Global Studies and Latin American Studies (including Year Abroad),
BA V305 Curating with Politics,
BA V306 Curating with Politics (Including Foundation Year),
BA V307 Curating with Politics (including Placement Year),
BA V308 Curating with Politics (including Year Abroad),
BA V309 Curating with History,
BA V310 Curating with History (Including Foundation Year),
BA V311 Curating with History (including Placement Year),
BA V312 Curating with History (including Year Abroad),
BA VV40 Art History, Heritage and Museum Studies,
BA VV41 Art History, Heritage and Museum Studies (Including Foundation Year),
BA VV42 Art History, Heritage and Museum Studies (including Placement Year),
BA VV43 Art History, Heritage and Museum Studies (including Year Abroad),
BA V301 Curating, Heritage and Human Rights,
BA V302 Curating, Heritage and Human Rights (Including Foundation Year),
BA V303 Curating, Heritage and Human Rights (Including Placement Year),
BA V304 Curating, Heritage and Human Rights (Including Year Abroad)

Module description

During this module, we will look closely at select artworks that offer insights into key moments in art making in Latin America.

The module 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.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To explore key themes and issues related to Latin America through its artistic heritage.

  • To encourage interdisciplinary approaches to studying art.

  • To study key artistic movements in modern Latin America.

  • To familiarise students with the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA).

  • To contextualise artworks in broader political, social and cultural contexts.

Module learning outcomes

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

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.

The module 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.

It 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.

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

This module will be delivered via:

  • One 2-hour lecture and seminar per week.

There will also be a reading week, exact week to be confirmed.


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Essay 1 (1000 words)  04/03/2024  50% 
Coursework   Essay 2 (1500 words)  25/04/2024  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
Dr Olivia Arigho Stiles, email:
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 18 hours, 18 (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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