Art History

We live in a world of images. Art history offers a way of engaging with that world, through the study of art and visual experience.

The Art History programme at Victoria University of Wellington provides contextual frameworks for understanding art and other forms of representation within the visual environment. It examines art within its historical, cultural, aesthetic, and theoretical contexts. It encourages students to develop an interest in all aspects of visual experience and to understand the ideas and theories that surround art and other forms of visual representation.

Art history touches on many other fields, including History, Philosophy, Religion, Literature, Anthropology, Architecture and Design, Classical Studies, Film and Theatre Studies, Māori Studies, and Pacific Studies. Our graduates work in universities, museums, galleries, auction houses, and for publishers, taking with them a greater appreciation of the way that images work and enhanced skills in looking, researching and critical thinking.

Art History staff offer courses in art from the medieval period to the present, including focused study of New Zealand, Pacific and European art. Christina Barton, Adam Art Gallery Director, provides supervision for some Art History Honours and Postgraduate students.

The Art History programme fosters opportunities for students to undertake primary research and to develop skills appropriate to the application of the discipline. At all levels of the teaching programme students have first-hand contact with works of art, collections, commentators and institutions.


We offer undergraduate and postgraduate study options that provide frameworks for understanding visual culture and experience.


The Art History programme has an active and productive research culture.

Adam Art Gallery

Teaching and research in the Art History programme are augmented by two of the University's major assets, the Adam Art Gallery and the Victoria Art Collection.


Meet the staff in Victoria University of Wellington's Art History programme.


A degree in Art History will give you the ability to extract meaning from visual environments—a skill that can be applied to many job areas.