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Writing Art


Deze informatie is alleen in het Engels beschikbaar.

Admission requirements

This course is an Honours Class and therefore in principle only available to students of the Honours College. There are a few places available for regular students.


The course will familiarize students with diverse ways of writing about art. This is achieved through a series of lectures by experts and through workshops in which students will experiment with different approaches to ‘Writing Art’. There are as many different ways of writing about art as there are authors. However, it is possible to distinguish specific genres and traditions in writing art, such as art criticism, performative writing, art fiction, experimental writing, writing by artists, etc.

Is it possible to bridge the gap between language on the one hand and the visual experience of an art work on the other? How can a personal experience of art be conveyed to the reader in a convincing and engaging way? What is the status, or the function, of text in relation to the art work, what are the possibilities and the potential limits in writing on art? Is it possible to engage in an art critical, academic or artistic discourse on visual imagery and auditive experience on the basis of text; and if so how does one do that?

The course considers a wide range of writing on art, from examples of art criticism to contemporary and experimental modes of writing on art.

The aim of the course is to stimulate students to write and to develop a personal ‘voice’.

The set-up of the course is thematic. A guest lecturer who is an expert in the particular field of writing will address each theme in a lecture or presentation. The lecturer will expand on the theme, using examples from writing practices. Preceding the lecture, each lecturer will give students an assignment to write a particular type of text. The texts will be commented on at the end of the lecture. Students will then rewrite the text for the workshop the following week. During the workshop all the texts will be discussed in the group (group feedback) and the lecturer will give in-depth feedback. Short writing exercises are part of the lectures or workshops.

Course objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • have developed writing skills;

  • be able to use different ways of writing to express ideas and opinions about art and design and, in the case of art students, on one’s own work;

  • be able to critically reflect on art and design and on one’s position in the field as an artist, designer, critic or researcher.


12 Wednesday afternoons from 16.00-18.00. October: 4, 11, 25. November: 1, 8, 15, 22, 29. December: 6, 13, 20. January: 10.


Royal Academy of Art (KABK), Prinsessegracht 4, Den Haag. Zaal PC 202.


Lesson 1+2: Writing art criticism > 4 + 11 October
How to write art criticism? What is art criticism? How to convey visual experience and engage the reader? Who is your audience?

Lecturer: Janneke Wesseling
Art critic NRC Handelsblad; director, Leiden University; Professor at the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts, Leiden University; Professor Art and Theory, Kabk The Hague

Lesson 3+4. Writing as experiment > 25 October + 1 November
The subject or topic of a text will be explored in and through the writing itself, for example by using ‘constraints’, such as a cadavre exquis.

Lecturer: Sander Uitdehaag
Writer and photographer

Lesson 5+6. Artists’ Writing & Image > 8 + 15 November
An exercise in the relation between text and image. How can they be used interrelated? How can they both influence and steer each other, and what are the possible effects on the narrative?

Lecturer: Marieke Barnas, Writer
poet and artist

Lesson 7+8. Artists’ writing > 22 + 29 November
How do artists write on or for their own work, as critics and/or as researchers. How to become specific about your own (art)world?

Lecturer: Nicoline Timmer
Artist and writer

Lesson 9+10. Performative writing > 6 + 13 December
How can writing inform and transform our artistic practice and vice versa? We will be exploring this two way process by applying a performative approach to the written word through poetry.

Lecturer: Anna Arov,
Artist and poet, Editor of Versal, Lecturer at Kabk, Interactive Media Design department

Lesson 11. Writing art (workshop) > 20 December
Final assignment: students choose a personal perspective and approach in writing a text on a work of art.

Lecturer: writing coach Liesbeth Fit
Independent writer and editor; Lecturer at Design Academy Eindhoven and Kabk

Lesson 12. Evaluation > 10 January
What did students learn? Did students develop a personal perspective, or several perspectives, on writing and on art? What is their ambition?

Lecturer: writing coach Liesbeth Fit & Janneke Wesseling & other writing teachers

Course Load

This course is worth 5 EC, which means the total course load equals 140 hours.

  • Seminars: 12 seminars of 2 hours (= 24 hours)

  • Literature reading & practical work: 0.5 hours p/week (= 6 hours)

  • Assignments & final essay: 110 hours

Assessment method

Course Evaluation

  • Seminar Assignments 90% (Every theme (six in total) is connected to a writing exercise, this text will be rewritten. All texts together will form a portfolio that will be assessed).

  • Performance in Class 10% (Dialogue and performance in Class).


  • Shows initiative and originality in the handling of assignments

  • Gives expression to a distinctive (artistic/discursive) ambition or vision

  • Develops and explores (offered) techniques and theories

  • Demonstrates a critical and inquiring attitude toward the techniques and theories that are offered

  • Effectively organizes the process (e.g. meets deadlines and assignment requirements, presence in Class)

  • Engages in dialogue about one’s writing and that of others

  • Draws insights from discussions and implements feedback

  • Productively collaborates with fellow students

Seminar Assignments and Evaluation

  • The final mark for this Class is based on performance in Class, weekly assignments and a portfolio.

  • After or during each Class students receive an assignment which they must hand in at least 3 days before the next Class.

  • The evaluation of the performance of each student in Class considers: commitment, motivation and curiosity.

Students are allowed to be absent at 2 meetings at the most without further consequences. Being absent at more than 2 meetings implies that a student cannot pass.

Blackboard and uSis

Blackboard will not be used in this course.

Please note: students are not required to register through uSis for the Honours Classes. Your registration will be done centrally.

Reading list

Janneke Wesseling. Why Write? On Writing as Art Practice.
Other possible literature will be announced in Class and is different per lecturer.


Enrolling in this course is possible from August 21st until September 6th 23:59 through the Honours Academy, via this link


Dhr. ir. Rogier Schneemann


This course will admit a maximum of 10 participants from Leiden University, and a maximum of 10 participants from the Royal Academy of Art.