Out in Public Contextualising Art and Monuments in Urban Spaces

Since the second half of the 20th century, publicly commissioned artworks and monuments have been playing an increasingly important role in shaping public urban spaces – for the purpose of mediating an aesthetic experience, at times in line with a certain pedagogical programme (quite prominent so in socialist countries), for representative purposes or those of remembrance.

Until today, public artworks and monuments remain crucial elements to urban design. They shape, interpret and re-contextualise public spaces. In the course of this study project, students will examine a self-chosen publicly commissioned public artwork or monument in their proximity installed since 1990. The aim is to examine their political and artistic backgrounds and aesthetic approach, their integration into the public space, as well as their reception by the public. More often than not, such projects result in controversies stemming from clashing interests and perceptions of the different stakeholders: those commissioning the work, those planning and executing it and the public viewing and living with it.

Methods for art and site analysis will be provided as well as criteria for text reviewing and editing as the final outcome of this project will be a digital booklet comprising case study articles written by the students. With that, this project can be understood as a small survey of public art and monuments installed in urban contexts worldwide in recent decades. Another focus point of this project, besides its immediate topic, lies on training skills of critical analysis and critically assessing one´s own texts as well as those of your peers and by that sharpening writing skills.

Format of course
The module will mainly be conducted in an asynchronous mode through Moodle and requires a high level of independency and self-administration on the students’ side. The teaching staff will closely supervise their work progress and provide consultation.

Examination performance
The study project will be examined and graded in continuous assessment mode, meaning that different assignments to be submitted to Moodle throughout the semester will form the final grade with a special weight on the final case study article.

Main Lecturers
Anna Derriks, Sophie Thorak


An initial live session will take place via Webex on 12 April 2023 from 11:30 to 13:00 CET and will be recorded for those who cannot attend. The meeting link will be published on Moodle.
Further Sessions: 12 April, 31 May, 12 July