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Listening and Looking

Course 2016-2017


The course is taught by Prof. dr. Janneke Wesseling & Prof. dr. Marcel Cobussen
For 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students of KABK, KC and LU
8 Wednesday afternoon sessions, February – April 2017

Application deadline: 8 February 2017

Our first encounters with art works or art events usually happen through our eyes and/or ears. However, there are many different ways in which to look at art or listen to music. Not only are we always already culturally situated and determined, individual circumstances also influence the way we experience art/music. What is attentive looking/listening and is this how we always (should) approach art/music? Is there a difference between looking and seeing, between hearing and listening? And, given the fact that our relation to art and the world is usually multi-sensorial, can we also look at music and listen to visual arts?
Although mainly theoretical, the course will also comprise visits to (sounding) arts exhibitions and/or performances in order to be able to relate theoretical knowledge to “auto-ethnographic” experiences.


  • An introduction to different ways of looking and listening, both through literature and in practice.

  • To reflect critically on leading contemporary literature on looking at art and listening to music.

  • To reflect on looking and listening from philosophical, historical, biological, and aesthetical perspectives.

  • To practice alternative ways of looking and listening to art/music.

  • To learn how to read scientific and philosophical texts on aesthetics; to practice so-called “close reading”.

Dates, times, location

2016-2017, Second semester.

The courses take place at the Lipsius building (Cleveringaplaats 1, Leiden), room 228 (please note: on 15 March only, in Lipsius 227!), on Wednesdays from 15.00-17.00 hrs.

– 15 February 2017 (Lipsius 228)
– 22 February 2017 (Lipsius 228)
– 8 March 2017 (Lipsius 228)
– 15 March 2017 (Lipsius 227!!)
– 22 March 2017 (Lipsius 228)
– 29 March 2017 (Lipsius 228)
– 5 April 2017 (Lipsius 228)
– 12 April 2017 (Huizinga Building, room 025)
– 19 April 2017 (Lipsius 228)
– 26 April 2017 (Lipsius 228)

PLEASE NOTE: There will not be a meeting on Wednesday 1 March 2017.

Course type

Interactive seminar.
Course is taught by Dr. J.C. Wesseling and Dr. M.A. Cobussen.




Homework assignments and multi-media essay.

Studied literature

Texts and other materials on Blackboard.


ACPA: Ir. R.T.W.L. (Rogier) Schneemann;

Prof. dr. J.C. Wesseling:

Prof. dr. M.A. Cobussen:


For 2nd, 3rd and 4th year BA students of the Royal Academy of Art, Royal Conservatoire and Leiden University.

Full attendance is obligatory in order to receive study points towards the Individual Study Trajectory (5 EC).

15 students will be selected for the course.
The course will be in English.

Register for this course via uSis.
Please note: students who register after 8 January 2017, will be placed on a waiting list, due to the maximum group capacity of this course. You will receive an update regarding the possibility of final enrollment.

For other courses in the domains of music and fine arts, please visit:
Elective courses music and fine arts