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Writing Art


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.


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 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 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 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’.

Course objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • have developed writing skills;

  • will 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 meetings of 2 hours in semester 1
Wednesdays from 15-17 hr, at the KABK.

  1. Wednesday 28 September 2016 – Writing art criticism 1
  2. Wednesday 5 October 2016 – Writing art criticism 2
  3. Wednesday 12 October 2016 – Writing as experiment 1
  4. Wednesday 26 October 2016 – Writing as experiment 2
  5. Wednesday 2 November 2016 – Artists’ writing 1
  6. Wednesday 9 November 2016 – Artists’ writing 2
  7. Wednesday 16 November 2016 – Performative writing 1
  8. Wednesday 23 November 2016 – Performative writing 2
  9. Wednesday 30 November 2016 – Fact and fiction 1
  10. Wednesday 7 December 2016 – Fact and fiction 2
  11. Wednesday 14 December 2016 – Writing art 1
  12. Wednesday 21 December 2016 – evaluation


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


  • Lesson 1+2: Writing art criticism > 28 September+5 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; Co-director PhDArts, 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 > 12 + 26 October
    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 > 2 + 9 November
    Artists writing on their own work, as critics and/or as researchers.
    Lecturer: Nicoline Timmer
    Artist and writer

  • Lesson 7+8. Performative writing > 16 + 23 November
    How can writing inform/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 9+10. Fact and fiction > 30 November + 7 December
    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: Dirk Vis
    Writer, editor at De Gids, Lecturer at Kabk, Graphic Design department

  • Lesson 11. Writing art (workshop) > 14 December
    Final assignment: students choose a personal perspective and approach in writing a text.
    Lecturer: writing coach Liesbeth Fit
    Independent writer and editor; Lecturer at Design Academy Eindhoven and Kabk

  • Lesson 12. Evaluation > 21 December
    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

  • Literature reading & practical work: 1 hour p/week

  • Assignments & final essay: 104 hours

Assessment method

  • 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.

  • Dialogue and performance in class.

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

Literature will be announced in class


Enrolling in this course is possible from August 17th until September 5h 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.