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Writing Art


This information is only available in English.

!! This course is an Honours Class and therefore only available for students of an honours college !!

Because of the early start of this class, make sure you enroll between 20 and 31 August (instead of 10 September)!


There are many different ways of writing about art as there are authors. In this series of lectures and workshops, students will experiment with different approaches to ‘Writing Art’.

The course will familiarise students with diverse ways of writing about art. This will be 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 history, art criticism, performative writing, art fiction, writing by artists, etc.

Is it possible to bridge the gap between language on the one hand and the visual or auditive 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 historical writing and 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 briefly 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 and the lecturer will give in-depth feedback. Short writing exercises are part of the workshops.

The final results will be collected in a portfolio. ECTS credits will be awarded on the basis of the portfolio and on the performance in class.

A writing coach will be present at all lectures and workshops and will co-supervise the students’ writing.


1 & 2: Writing Art Criticism, 9 & 16 September
How to write art criticism? What is art criticism? How to convey visual experience and engage the reader? Who is your audience?
Lecturer: dr. Janneke Wesseling
Co-director PhDArts, Leiden University; Professor Art and Theory, KABK, The Hague; Art critic NRC Handelsblad

3 & 4: Writing Art History, 23 & 30 September
How to approach a subject from (recent) art history? How to compare approaches and opinions, what is academic writing and why is this necessary?
Lecturer: dr. Kitty Zijlmans
Professor at the Leiden University Center for Arts in Society. Expertise in contemporary art, theory and methodology, world art studies.

5 & 6: Artists’ Writing, 7 & 14 October
Artists writing on their own work, as critics and/or as researchers.
Lecturer: dr. Nicoline Timmer
Artist and writer

7 & 8: Fact and Fiction, 28 October & 4 November
What is the role of fact and fiction in writing on art? What are facts when dealing with art? How can fiction be applied in writing on art? Is there a limit?
Lecturer: Miek Zwamborn
Artist and Writer

9 & 10: Writing Music?, 11 & 18 November
How to write around music? How to write on something as ephemeral and volatile as music? And how to judge concert reviews?
Lecturer: dr. Marcel Cobussen
Lecturer at the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts of Leiden University; Improvising musician.

11 & 12: Writing as Experiment, 25 November & 2 December
Performative writing: performance, in action.
Investigative writing: exploring and investigating the subject of your writing or thougts, while writing.
Un-creative writing: using ‘constraints’ to write, like a cadavre exquis, or making a poem from an existing page full of words.
Writing as art: the writing is/becomes art, like conceptual art that only exists in words.
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: to be announced

13: Writing Art (workshop), 9 December
Final assignment: students choose a personal perspective and approach in writing a text.
Lecturer: drs. Liesbeth Fit (writing coach)
Independent writer and editor; Lecturer at the Design Academy Eindhoven and the KABK, The Hague

14: Evaluation, 16 December
What did you learn? Did you develop a personal perspective, or several perspectives, on writing and on art? What is your ambition?
Lecturer: drs. Liesbeth Fit, dr. Janneke Wesseling


Wednesday 9, 15, 23, 30 September, 7, 14, 28 October, 4, 11, 18, 25 November, 2, 9, 16 December; 19:00 – 21:00 hrs


Royal Academy of Art (KABK), room PB004, Prinsessegracht 4, The Hague (a 4-minute walk from The Hague CS)

Assessment Method

Portfolio of writings, presentation



Maximum number of students

10 (& 10 students form the Royal Academy of Art)


Because of the early start, enrolling in this course is possible from 20 and 31 August instead of 10 September, via this link .


Dhr. ir. Rogier Schneemann