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Studying History, Art History and Theory, and Visual Culture


History, Art History and Theory, and Visual Culture are three of the most exciting subjects offered at university.

They are offered at undergraduate, honours and postgraduate level.

Undergraduate study in History and Art History
Honours study in History and Art History
Postgraduate study in History and Art History


History is much more than the study of the past: it is the study of how and why the past has meaning in the present.

The study of history helps us to recognise the distinctive forces that have shaped our own society and determined our particular place within it.

In a rapidly changing 21st century, it is more important than ever to understand human diversity, the complexity of cultural and social structures, and the processes of change.

Art History and Theory

Art is an essential part of the human experience. It is seen and made everywhere. Works of art provide us with a means of understanding cultural and ideological changes in society through the ages.

The study of Art History and Theory at Otago helps you to interpret the visual, think about how it communicated to people in the past and present, and what it means to people in various cultures in the past and in the contemporary world.

Visual Culture

Visual Culture is a multidisciplinary programme. It seeks both to understand visual artifacts (including, for example, documentary photographs, fashion and cityscapes) and to analyse 'vision' as a social and cultural process.

Visual Culture examines the technologies by which images are produced, circulated and received, as well as the theories of seeing that make the visual world intelligible. It addresses the relationships between images, discourses, societies, and persons.

Much of the research in Visual Culture is concerned with the ways in which images inform our sense of ourselves as subjects, the nature of the society we inhabit, and our imagination of the world.

Resources for History, Art History and Theory and Visual Culture students

In Dunedin students have access to the following resources: