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AMS on Site: Curating the City


Admission requirements

The following courses need to be passed:

  • Freshman's Class

  • Academic Skills II

  • One BA2 Seminar


The city is a site of curation. The urban landscape is constantly changing, both in expected and planned ways as well as in unforeseen, surprising ways. These changes affect those living within the city borders, at times improving their living conditions, at other times worsening them. In this course we will discuss various experiences of urbanization, in different time periods, by focusing on one physical sense at a time. We will discuss the effects of seeing the city, listening to it, smelling it, touching it and imagining it. These five different perspectives allow us to pay special attention to the details of these experiences and go beyond our everyday superficial ‘sensing’ of the cities around us. In studying the ways in which people throughout history have experienced their cities, we will look at artworks which represent, or reflect on, these sensual experiences, exploring the strategies artists have used to capture and reproduce sensory observations, going from Early Modern paintings of the senses as allegories, to artistic audio walks through cities, to contemporary artworks reproducing smellscapes.
Each of the senses will be discussed in a lecture and an accompanying seminar session. For each of the seminar sessions, the students will perform an individual assignment in the city; they will for instance record soundscapes, keep a smell diary, draw mental maps and make imprints of surfaces in the city. Each of these explorations is then discussed in the context of the assigned readings and the lecture material. These research findings will be collected and submitted as an individual portfolio. In addition, students will submit a final essay relating an artistic case study of their own choosing to one of the theoretical frameworks from the course.

Course objectives

  • Students learn to engage with enquiries into real-world issues and practices through the lenses of Arts, Media and Society.

  • Students learn to study the built environment and learn to draw parallels between the present-day city and those of the past, thereby bridging historical and contemporary notions of the city.

  • Students learn to develop the skills necessary for remembering and recording ‘evidence’ of their observations and experiences.

  • Students learn to use material gathered as a basis for critical reflection and further research.

  • Students learn to use methods to critically analyse their own experiences and positionality in relation to concepts and theories.


Please note: for the final schedule refer to Collegeroosters / Timetable BA Arts, Media and Society on the Arts, Media and Society (BA) website.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

  • Lectures

  • Fieldwork

Assessment method


  • Individual Research Portfolio (50%).

  • Final essay (50%).


The average of both exams must be at least a 5.5 (which is rounded off to a 6.0), in order to pass the course. Grades below 5.0 for either of the exams are not permitted. A grade between 5.0 and 5.5 for one of the exams can be compensated by the other grade; so if you wish you can retake the assignment in this case, but you do not have to. A grade below 5.0 always requires a resit.


In case one (or both) of the assignments receive a grade below 5, a resit is possible, in the form of a essay (instructions identical as for the initial essay, with the exception that a new case study and theoretical framework need to be selected). This resit is for the course as a whole and the grade for this assignment comes to replace the two partial grades of the other assignments. The resit grade is therefore automatically the final grade for the course.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.

Reading list

Literature will be announced on Brightspace.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website

Registration À la carte education, Contract teaching and Exchange

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of À la carte education (without taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of Contract teaching (with taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.
For the registration of exchange students contact Humanities International Office.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Student administration Arsenaal.