July 28, 2016 | Login | UBC.ca

The Department of Art History, Visual Art & Theory

About the Department


Art History and Visual Art were first taught at The University of British Columbia when noted Canadian painter, B.C. Binning, was appointed to the faculty of the newly-formed School of Architecture. The Department of Fine Arts was established as an independent department within the Faculty of Arts in 1958. Since its inception the Department has grown steadily and now includes 23 full-time members of faculty (13 art historians and 10 visual artists). In 2001, the Department changed its name from Fine Arts to the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory to better to encapsulate the innovative teaching and interdisciplinary research interests of the faculty.

The Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory comprises three streams of research-based learning and practice: Art History, with a particular focus on theoretical and critical discourses concerning the social impact of art and visual representation at both the undergraduate and graduate levels; Critical and Curatorial Studies, examining through research and exhibition projects issues in contemporary visual culture and display; and Visual Art, with an undergraduate curriculum placing art production, academic learning and a graduate emphasis on preparation for participation in the field of contemporary international art.

The Department’s faculty are actively involved in research and bring this strength into their teaching at all levels. Undergraduate and graduate seminars enhance student experience in advanced academic research and practice. As a result many of our graduates have established distinguished careers in the creative, scholarly and gallery fields.

The main goal of Art History, Visual Art and Theory is to foster critical and reflexive thinking within an inclusive and supportive environment. The Department thus maintains the highest standards of intellectual and administrative practice, seeking to be innovative in pedagogy and international in scholarly perspective.


Our Galleries

The Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery


The Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery has an international reputation for its exhibitions, publications and projects in the area of contemporary art. Its collections and archives are an invaluable resource for scholars.

Visit the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery »


The AHVA Gallery


The mission of the AHVA Gallery is to promote research and discourse in the field of visual art by facilitating collaboration and experimentation within the department, the university, and the community. The gallery is dedicated to providing resources and opportunities to students, faculty and the community through exhibitions, public programs, and providing a venue to engage in dialogue.

Learn more about the AHVA Gallery »


AHVA Events


June 02, 2016

MARINA ROY Your Kingdom to Command
Offsite Opening | Thursday June 2, 2016 | 6-8pm  (more) »


Critical and Curatorial Studies

July 29, 2016

Three Kinds of Abstraction
Graduating exhibition by Critical and Curatorial Studies MA student April Thompson  (more) »



August 04, 2016

Public lecture by Professor Mark Meadow
Prudently Abandoning Wonder: On changing the governing concept of the Wunderkammer  (more) »



Featured Profile

Samuel Sackeroff
MA in Art History degree, 2011

Sam Sackeroff graduated from UBC with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History in 2009 and in 2011 with a Master of Arts in Art History. He recently entered Yale University's PhD program in the History of Art, where he is specializing in the Italian Renaissance.  (more) »