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The Cultural Field in Practice


Admission requirements

Same as admission requirements for the BA Art History/BA Arts, Media and Society.


In this course students will be introduced to the debates, as well as to the kind of cultural activities involved within (the history of) the cultural field. We depart from a definition of the cultural field as the whole of professional organisations and institutes involved in cultural production, reception, collecting, preserving and in allowing access to art and culture, as well as organizations and institutes involved in studying art and culture and those that facilitate such activities (i.e. artists initiatives, centres for visual arts, cultural trusts, foundations, galleries, libraries, museums, theatres, universities etc.). The focus is obviously on institutes concerned with the visual arts. The objective is to conceptualise the cultural field as embedded within present-day society from a historical and a theoretical perspective, and from an outlook on the student’s future role as an academic professional employed within the cultural field. The course will therefore consist of both lectures as well as excursions to cultural institutes (to be announced on Brightspace). Themes that will be addressed concern art education, community art, governmental cultural policy, working in an international environment, public representation and participation, cultural entrepreneurship and the frontiers of the field, such as artists initiatives and creative hotspots and the opportunities and challenges posed by digital environments within which the visual arts circulate.

Course objectives

  • Students acquire knowledge about the scope of the cultural field.

  • Students learn to reflect on the history of the cultural field from a theoretical perspective.

  • Students acquire knowledge and understanding of the current debates at stake in the cultural field and learn to reflect on these debates as well as learn to express themselves about these debates.

  • Students learn to know the different professional career opportunities within the cultural field.

  • Students learn to view their own academic skills and competences in relation to different career opportunities within the cultural field.

  • Students learn to know professionals working in the cultural field.

  • Students learn to describe what motivates them from the perspective of future professional options.

  • Students learn to document their experience of future possibilities within the cultural field by means of (digital) media.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Excursion

Assessment method


  • Take home assignment

  • Individual paper (self-reflection report)


  • Take home assignment (60%)

  • Individual paper (self-reflection report) (40%)

The weighted average of the (constituent) examinations must be at least 6.0 (= a pass). The mark for the final paper must be at least 6.0 at (= a pass). The mark for all other constituent examinations must be at least 6.0 (= a pass).


A rewrite can be done in case of failing the individual assignment. In the case of failing or missing out on the group assignment and/or practical assignments, an alternative assignment should be requested with the Board of Examiners. As far as applicable all rewrite examinations take place at the same time, after the final (constituent) examination.

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 have to be organized.

Reading list

Literature will be announced on Brightspace.


Enrolment through My Studymap (Login | Universiteit Leiden) is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website


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

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