The course will familiarise 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 history, art criticism, performative writing, art fiction, writing by artists, etc.

Ed Ruscha, Oh No, 2011 hand-drilled intaglio on fore-edge of book, photo: Paul Ruscha


Janneke Wesseling, Liesbeth Fit, Anna Arov, Dirk Vis, Sander Uitdehaag, Nicoline Timmer

For whom?

For 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students of KABK, KC and LU


12 Wednesday afternoon sessions, September – December 2016

Is it possible to bridge the gap between language on the one hand and the 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 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’ and approach.

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). KABK students can receive an extra point with designing their portfolio.

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

The course consists of twelve meetings during the 1st semester on Wednesday afternoons from 15.00-17.00 hrs (location follows).

  • Wednesday 28 September 2016 – Writing art criticism 1
  • Wednesday 5 October 2016 – Writing art criticism 2
  • Wednesday 12 October 2016 – Writing as experiment 1
  • Wednesday 26 October 2016 – Writing as experiment 2
  • Wednesday 2 November 2016 – Artists’ writing 1
  • Wednesday 9 November 2016 – Artists’ writing 2
  • Wednesday 16 November 2016 – Performative writing 1
  • Wednesday 23 November 2016 – Performative writing 2
  • Wednesday 30 November 2016 – Fact and fiction 1
  • Wednesday 7 December 2016 – Fact and fiction 2
  • Wednesday 14 December 2016 – Writing art 1
  • Wednesday 21 December 2016 – Evaluation

Apply before 9 September 2016 by sending a brief motivation and a sample of written work to:
The result of the selection will be announced on 16 September 2016.

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 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.

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
    Art critic NRC Handelsblad; Director PhDArts, Leiden University; Professor at the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts, Leiden University; Professor Art and Theory, KABK, The Hague

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 exquise.

  • Lecturer: Sander Uitdehaag
    Writer and photographer

Artists writing on their own work, as critics and/or as researchers.

  • Lecturer: Dr. Nicoline Timmer
    Artist and writer

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 the Interactive/Media/Design department, KABK, The Hague

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? Are there limitations?

  • Lecturer: Dirk Vis
    Writer and editor at De Gids; Lecturer at the Graphic Design department, KABK, The Hague

Final assignment: students choose a personal perspective and approach in writing a text.

  • Lecturer: writing coach Liesbeth Fit
    Independent writer and editor; Lecturer at the Design Academy Eindhoven and KABK, The Hague

What did students learn? Did students develop a personal perspective, or several perspectives, on writing and on art? What is their ambition?
Students hand in their portfolios.

  • Lecturers: Liesbeth Fit, Janneke Wesseling and other writing lecturers

This course is organised in collaboration with the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts (ACPA) of Leiden University.

For more information about the course see: