Sophie Gilmore believes that studying art history is very important.
"We live in a very visual world. Films and images are all around us, so I think learning to understand an image is one of the most important skills you can have. Art history (and visual culture) really helps you gain that kind of knowledge. Employers value what they call visual literacy, and you’ll definitely get that from art history (and visual culture)."
Not only is it important to study art history, it’s lots of fun as well.
"I loved it, I had such a good time. The department is wonderful, it’s quite small so you get this engagement with all of your lecturers, which is really important."
There are no prerequisites for studying art history. All you will need is "an interest in art. The first year paper ‘Interpreting Artworks’ is made to engage you in art, to introduce you to the kind of concepts that are going to help you to interpret art."
One of the main reasons Sophie came to Otago to study art history was the variety of topics and artistic traditions on offer. "I knew I wanted to study art history and I was really drawn to the wide range of topics they have at Otago. The film papers were really appealing, as were topics like Renaissance Art (which is not something you can do easily elsewhere) and Japanese Art."
The flexibility in the Bachelor of Arts degree meant that Sophie was "able to do what I was interested in, which is really important".
Sophie’s exploration of cinema led her to study a Master of Arts in art history, where she looked at the relationship between cinema, digital technology and other art forms.
Sophie’s passion for her subject has taken her to Harvard University on a PhD scholarship.