The course will familiarise students with different ways of writing about art. This is achieved through a series of combined lectures and workshops by experts (writers and artists) in which students will experiment with different approaches to ‘Writing Art’.


Liesbeth Fit, Janneke Wesseling and guest tutors

For whom?

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


9 Wednesday afternoon sessions, September 2019 – January 2019


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, experimental writing, 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 on the basis of text; and if so how does one do that?
The course considers a 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’. The emphasis therefore lies on ‘learning through doing’, which means that the experiment with and the practice of the writing itself rather than the theoretical input is the basis for learning.

For 2nd, 3rd and 4th year BA students of the Royal Academy of Art (10 students) and Leiden University (10 students).

Full attendance is obligatory in order to receive study points towards the Individual Study Trajectory (5 EC + 1 EC for portfolio design).

Max. 20 students will be selected for the course.

The course will be in English.

Participants will be selected on the basis of their motivated application. Apply before Sathurday 7 September 2019 23:59 h (CET) by registering for this course in Osiris. To complete your application, you will be required to upload a brief letter of motivation (max. 300 words) and a sample of written work (both in PDF). The result of the selection will be announced on Tuesday 10 September 2019 at the latest. Incomplete or late submissions, or applications sent by email, will not be accepted.

For questions, please contact Liesbeth Fit at or Emily Huurdeman, coordinator of the lectorate, at

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, presentation or workshop. The lecturer will expand on the theme, using examples from writing practices. Preceding or after 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 or after the lecture. Students will then rewrite the text for their portfolio. The texts will be discussed in the group (peer feedback) and the lecturer will give in-depth feedback. Short writing exercises as well as a performance 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 assignments, 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.

The course consists of nine meetings during the 1st semester on Wednesday afternoons from 16.00-18.00 hrs (Room TBA).

11 September - Janneke Wesseling + Liesbeth Fit

18 September - Janneke Wesseling + Liesbeth Fit

2 October - Anna Arov + Liesbeth Fit

16 October - Nicoline Timmer + Liesbeth Fit

30 October - Sander Uitdehaag + Liesbeth Fit

6 November- Sander Uitdehaag + Liesbeth Fit

20 November - Liesbeth Fit

27 November - Liesbeth Fit

11 December - Evaluation: Janneke Wesseling + Liesbeth Fit


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

How can writing inform and transform our artistic practice and vice versa? We will be exploring this two-way process by applying a performative approach to the written word.

Lecturer: Anna Arov - Artist and poet; Editor of Versal; Lecturer at the Interactive/Media/Design department, KABK, The Hague

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: Nicoline Timmer - Artist and writer

The subject or topic of a text will be explored in and through the writing itself, for example by using restrictions.

Lecturer: Sander Uitdehaag - writer and photographer

Final assignment: students choose a personal perspective and approach in writing a text on a work of art. Special attention to fiction as a narrative component.

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.