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, experimental writing, writing by artists, etc.


Janneke Wesseling, Liesbeth Fit and guest tutors

For whom?

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


12 Wednesday afternoon sessions, October 2017 – January 2018


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 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 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 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.

Max. 20 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 16.00-18.00 hrs (PC.202).

  • Wednesday 4 October 2017 – Writing art criticism 1
  • Wednesday 11 October 2017 – Writing art criticism 2
  • Wednesday 25 October 2017 – Writing as experiment 1
  • Wednesday 1 November 2017 – Writing as experiment 2
  • Wednesday 8 November 2017 – Writing & image 1
  • Wednesday 15 November 2017 – Writing & image 2
  • Wednesday 22 November 2017 – Artists’ writing 1
  • Wednesday 29 November 2017 – Artists’ writing 2
  • Wednesday 6 December 2017 – Performative writing 1
  • Wednesday 13 December 2017 – Performative writing 2
  • Wednesday 20 December 2017 – Writing art (workshop)
  • Wednesday 10 January 2018 – Evaluation

Apply before Monday 11 September 2017 by sending a brief letter of motivation (max. 400 words) and a sample of written work to:
The result of the selection will be announced on Friday 15 September 2017 at the latest.

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 (group feedback) and the lecturer will give in-depth feedback. Short writing exercises are part of the workshops.

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • Have developed writing skills;
  • Be able to use different ways of writing to express ideas and opinions about art and design and 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.

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

An exercise in the relation between text and image. How can they be used interrelated? How can they both influence and steer each other, and what are the possible effects on the narrative?

  • Lecturer: Marieke Barnas
    Writer, poet and artist

How do artists write on or for their own work, as critics and/or as researchers? How to become specific about your own (art)world?

  • 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

Final assignment: students choose a personal perspective and approach in writing a text on a work of art.

  • 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?

  • Lecturers: Liesbeth Fit & Janneke Wesseling

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