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Open Arts Objects

Open Arts Objects (OAO) is an open access platform which provides free films to support the teaching of Art History.

Watch this short film outlining the Open Arts Objects project

Open Arts Objects:

  • inspires wider and diverse audiences to enjoy and understand art works and visual culture, leading to a change in museums’ educational programmes and professional practice, and has increased public awareness about a global approach to Art History.
  • supports teachers by providing free open access materials including films, activities for students, and teaching support documents. OAO films are a recommended resources for the new A-level Curriculum by Pearson, covering the themes of Identities, Nature, and War, but they can also be easily adapted to the Cambridge Pre-U. They are an ideal resource for any teacher who incorporates art and design into their teaching.
  • underpinned by the research of members of the Art History department at the Open University, OAO promotes the understanding of art informed by the innovative methodologies of mobility and global approaches.
  • emboldens communities, regional groups, school children, teachers, and OU students with art historical skills, with a mandate to widen participation in Art History.
  • ensures the sustainability of Art History at all teaching levels, advocating for the democratisation of the subject and the decolonisation of the curriculum, and promotes educational opportunity.

We need your help! Our funding and support depends on feedback from you. Please take a few minutes to fill out this very short survey (6 questions, approx. 4 minutes). If you’d like us to visit your school or community group, get in touch: openartsobjects@open.ac.uk.

Partake in our Facebook group and check us out on Instagram and twitter (where every Monday when we post an interesting object/work of art at the start of every week for #materialmondays).

In 2017-18 members of the Open Arts Objects team served as academic consultants for the 9-part BBC series Civilisations produced in partnership with the OU, reaching over 13.7 million viewers. In 2019 OAO was short-listed for the Times Higher Education Awards in the category of Knowledge Exchange/Transfer Initiative of the Year.

Leon Wainwright and Leah Clark discussing the complexities of the term globalisation for Art History in relation to Renaissance and contemporary art. Includes Chinese porcelain, De Bry prints, and works on canvas by Frank Bowling.

Bryony White (Senior Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art) discussing Bridget Riley, Kashan, 1984, National Museum Wales, Cardiff.

Francesca Leoni (Curator of Islamic Art) discussing a Spanish cylindrical ivory casket (pyxis) lid with huntsmen and animals, 389 in the Islamic calendar, or 998-999, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

An Van Camp (Curator of Northern European Art) discussing Jan van Kessel, Decorative Still-Life Composition with a Porcelain Bowl, Fruit and Insects, 17th century, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

Kathleen Christian discussing Michelangelo’s Pietà, 1498-99, St. Peter’s, Rome.

Angeliki Lymberopoulou and Rembrandt Duits discussing the term iconography. Includes Giotto, Entry into Jerusalem, Arena chapel; a Byzantine panel painting (icon) of the Virgin and Child; Gianlorenzo Bernini’s sculpture of Apollo and Daphne; Jacob Matham’s engraving of ‘Envy’; Bellini, Madonna of the Meadow.

Leah Clark and Kathleen Christian discussing the term mobility, and how it has changed the way we approach Renaissance works of art. Includes Holbein’s Ambassadors; Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel and its circulation in print; a devotional diptych with a portrait of Joos van der Burch.

Susie West and Leah Clark discussing commemoration and how it can be applied to works of art and architecture. Includes war memorials; tomb sculpture; Paul Cummins and Tom Piper, Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, Tower of London.

Renate Dohmen and Kathleen Christian discussing the complexities of the term essentialism, exploring the ideas of art and culture it produced in the nineteenth century and what its legacies are today. Includes James Stephanoff, An Assemblage of Works of Art in Sculpture and in Painting, 1845; Johann Zoffany, Major William Palmer with his second wife, the Mughal princess Bibi Faiz Bakhsh; Rembrandt, Man in Oriental Costume.

Warren Carter and Paul Wood discuss the complex and shifting status of the term modernism from the nineteenth century through to the present.

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