The art history programs provide an excellent foundation in the history of international modern and contemporary art, curatorial and museum studies and their critical and theoretical discourses. Our faculty members emphasize an interdisciplinary approach with perspectives drawn from aesthetics, philosophy, feminism, gender theories, postcolonial theories, theories of identity, globalization and new technologies. You will be actively involved in Ottawa’s vibrant arts community through curatorial projects (on campus and in the city), internships, site visits to national and municipal art galleries and class visits from experienced curators, artists and visiting professors.
The Department of Visual Arts
Environmental and Curatorial
Celina Jeffery’s SSHRC funded interdisciplinary work on art and environmental humanities has an international reach (India, UK, USA, Australia, Mexico and Mauritius) and her approach of the subject through curatorial research and exhibition making is in tune with the global trend towards an expansive development of museum exhibitions as experience. She is also the co-founder and lead editor of an online journal of art criticism and theory and frequently uses digital humanities as a platform for her curatorial projects.
Digital and Information
Jakub Zdebik’s philosophical research into the concept of the diagram provides a basis for the current development of digital humanities in academia. From the perspective of the aesthetic of the diagram, he explores digital, network and internet art. His current research in the relation between art and information has yielded a curated exhibitions in the United States and Canada, a colloquium of international breadth on the topic of art and information as well as several books and articles.
Global and International
Though all four art history professors have an international breadth to their research, Andrea Fitzpatrick’s research in Middle-Eastern art, methodologies, global perspectives, visual studies, and human rights, demonstrates an urgent current topicality. Her expertise in theories of gender and her affiliation with the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies at the University of Ottawa demonstrate the inter-disciplinarity of the Destination 2020 Plan. She also curated an important exhibition at artist-run centres in Ottawa and Toronto which brought together prestigious Iranian artists.
The uOttawa advantage
- At the center of Canadian culture (downtown of Canada's capital)
- One of the few programs in Canada with such proximity to cultural institutions (7 major national museums and a great number of smaller museums and galleries)
- Focus on contemporary art and culture (unlike ‘larger’ Art History departments, with offerings in a broader historical range, where usually only one faculty member focuses on contemporary art)
- With four full-time art history and theory professors all specializing in contemporary art, we have a powerful concentration of contemporary art history and theory specialists
- Courses are conducted in a bilingual environment, with bilingual courses and some exclusively in French or English
- ART 4990 Venice Biennial Field Research Course is open to graduate and undergraduate students and is offered every second year. The Venice Biennial is considered the most important and influential contemporary art event in the world. In past years, our students have not only toured the international pavilions with Visual Arts faculty and a curator from the National Gallery of Canada but also participated as volunteers at the Canadian Pavilion, which showcases the work of a major Canadian artist on the global stage.