Art History

Art History teaches us the stories, values and dreams of the world's great cultural traditions.

Subject overview

Visual intelligence is crucial in navigating the world of images conveying coded messages and ideas' history. How do we read such images? Art History provides the skills to decode and analyse how experts move the eye around artworks, photographs, advertisements, digital images, buildings, and monuments—and in different historical periods. Students learn how to identify and discuss the visual styles of many cultural traditions around the world and to connect deeply with Aotearoa New Zealand, and the Pacific.  

Art invites us to experience culture and history through the senses, producing empathy, passion, and contemplation. It trains students to recognise how power in social media, news and entertainment manipulates vision and shows how artists have challenged this power. Art sharpens our perceptions and therefore strengthens our abilities to think independently.

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Where can Art History take you?

Degrees in Art History make job applicants stand out from the crowd, enhancing what employers seek: dynamic personality traits such as independent thought, creative problem-solving and impactful visual and textual presentation skills. Art History has provided access to careers in communication, media and marketing companies, journalism, and the management and design of national and international music, multimedia and digital festivals and exhibitions. 

Our Art History graduates have gone on to careers in the cultural sector, museums, galleries, biennales and tourism. They work in auction houses, as intellectual property and copyright law lawyers, and in government ministries such as Business, Innovation and Employment, Culture and Heritage, Conservation, and the Foreign Office. They are also some of the most inspiring teachers in our schools and universities. 

Career options with an Arts degree

Explore your study options in Art History