Psychology Of Aesthetics, Art And Creativity

Why are we moved by the arts? This interdisciplinary course explores various theoretical approaches to understanding the ways in which art is created and perceived. The course will help you understand psychological theories of aesthetic appreciation and the ways in which brain mechanisms of pleasure and reward work in response to aesthetic stimuli. Art forms that will be considered are visual arts (painting and sculpture), music, and performing arts (dance and theatre). We will look at the most recent psychological findings from the subfields of perception, neuroaesthetics, creative cognition and studies of emotion. Together we will explore how the arts are used in society to sell products and ideas as well as provide pleasure. You will gain an understanding of the role of the arts and creativity in mental health and well-being. An ideal course for those interested in the arts and the psychological mechanisms behind them.

Who is this course for

In order to take this course you do not need any previous knowledge or experience in the field just interest in the arts and psychological mechanisms behind them. This course is designed to be informative and provide a systematic overview of the main theories and approaches to the arts, aesthetics and creativity. It is an ideal course for those interested in learning how advances in the field of 'neuro-aesthetics' have laid foundations for the biological basis of aesthetic experience challenging our views on why and how we respond to the arts and beauty in general

What does this course cover

Course content includes a summary of the basic theories of perception, neuro-aesthetics, creative cognition and emotion. By viewing and interacting with the arts you will gain better insight into how and why they impact our emotions and challenge our opinions and beliefs. The art forms that will be reflected and deliberated upon during the twelve-week course are visual arts (painting and sculpture), music, and performing arts (dance and theatre). We will explore the most recent psychological findings from the sub-fields of perception, neuro-aesthetics, creative cognition and studies of emotion. We will investigate how the arts are used in society to sell products and market ideas as well as provide pleasure. You will gain an understanding of the role of the arts and creativity in mental health and well-being. By the end of this course you will:
- Familiarise yourself with various theories and perspectives of art appreciation
- Understand the ways in which brain mechanisms of pleasure and reward work in response to aesthetic stimuli
- Recognize what constitutes creative thinking and how to enhance it
- Understand how advances in neuro-aesthetics challenge our view of artistic experience
- You will gain an understanding of the role the arts play in mental health and well-being
- You will develop a deeper understanding of how the arts are used to sell products and ideas.

What will it be like

The course will be run online using Zoom for the live class sessions and either the Moodle page for the course or some other system for the distribution of the electronic resources for the session sitting alongside this. Although there will be some adjustments that need to be made for the online version of this course, we will aim to keep the experience as close as possible to that of a face to face course taught in the Centre.

The course uses a combination of lecture, videos and group interactions. Videos and other media will be used to demonstrate art stimuli. Through group discussions and examination of personal feelings and responses you will be able to engage with a range of different art stimuli and explore variety of artistic experience. The sessions will be in the form of PowerPoint presentations which are designed to be interactive. Planned activities such as brain storming on a given topic or the use of media (YouTube) will ensure that participants remain engaged and actively involved. As the course progresses participants will be given the opportunity to do individual/group research projects and present a topic of their choice. Each session will end with a brief question/answer time aimed to summarise the main points of the day as well assess the learning outcomes of the session. Self-assessment activities will be used to monitor progress and provide feedback for future development

What else do you need to buy or do

The course will be run on Zoom, please make sure you have installed it in advance of your first class on your computer or mobile device. You can sign up for free here:

https://zoom.us/support/download

You will need a microphone (it's fine to use whatever is built into your device) and camera, so we can see you via video. You may also want to use headphones during the session.

You can participate in class sessions through the use of a computer, laptop, tablet or other similar internet enabled device. Please note that if you only have access to a smartphone, you will be able to attend the class sessions and participate in them but you will find it more difficult to benefit from the full range of materials and activities involved in the course if this is your only means of connection.

Make sure you have a small space to work in during the session and that as far as possible that you can keep this space quite and clear of interruption so that you can concentrate on what is happening in the class.

By signing up to the course you are consenting to being on camera. The content of the lesson may occasionally be recorded by the tutor for internal education and training purposes but any such recordings will not be made available to anyone outside of the Mary Ward Centre organisation without us asking you again for further permission to do so.

All the material for the course will be available via the Moodle web-page for the course so you do not need to purchase any additonal reading material.

What this course could lead to

If you find this topic interesting you may want to delve deeper into the issues raised during the sessions by taking a course in neuropsychology or the psychology of emotion. On the other hand you may want to consider exploring your own creativity by joining one of the numerous art and music courses we run.

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I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.

MWC student

Got a Question about this Course?

Contact The Departmental Administrator.

Why choose Mary Ward?

Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening and weekends to suit your timetable. You can learn face to face at one of our centres (Bloomsbury or Waterloo) or take an online course

Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’