Postgraduate taught 

Art History: Collecting & Provenance in an International Context MSc

Object Biography HISTART5124

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The course introduces students to the idea of 'object biography' and how it can be used as an effective tool in the study of history of art. The core materials on this course come from East Asia broadening our perception of hierarchies in art and cultural values relating to objects.


Two hours weekly, lectures and seminars with an additional museum visit, for ten weeks. Oral presentations are held in a museum (one of the Glasgow collections), so that the students gain a better understanding of objects in their display context.

Excluded Courses






One 3500 word Essay (70%)

One 15 minute Oral presentation on a Case Study (30%)

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ develop students' knowledge and understanding of the history of collecting East Asian art

■ study collecting from a cross cultural perspective in order to highlight the diverse social, economic and political factors which may have an impact on the practices of collecting with a particular focus on object-based study

■ expand students' analytical thinking and writing and to develop their oral presentation skills.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ apply multi-disciplinary skills and cross-cultural ideas to the study of history of collecting with a focus on objects while learning cataloguing skills

■ identify the changes in the status of objects as they pass between different owners

■ recognise the diversity of the hierarchies, the practices and fashions of collecting in different parts of the globe

■ critically assess and evaluate different types of primary sources for the study of history of collecting.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.