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Art Ethics and Social Change (Online Short Course)

Art, Ethics and Social Change (Online Short Course)

Central Saint Martins
Taught by
Sara Shamsavari


Art can move us and challenge our views. At a time where cultural sensitivity and environmental responsibility are central to our lives, the contribution of socially motivated artists is pivotal. This course will give you a critical overview of the role of art, artists and art institutions in challenging and shaping the beliefs of our society as well as ethical considerations in art.

You will learn about ethical issues in art, such as cultural appropriation, gender and the gaze, ethnicity and environmental and ecological concerns. You will contextualise these issues by learning about the history of art and social change and the ethical responsibility of artists.

You will explore these themes through personal research assignments on different types of ethics in art, including power relations and environmental concerns. Each week you will present your research and gain feedback from your tutor and peers. Through these tasks you will develop an understanding of critical research and how to conduct it.

By the end of this course, you will have a better understanding of how current social issues can be addressed through art and have a deeper knowledge of how to be culturally sensitive within your work or social environment. You can able to apply this knowledge and implement an ethical framework in your own art or within an art organisations.


  • History of art and social change
  • Current themes and debates around the responsibilities of artists and art institutions
  • Socially motivated art
  • Power relations in art
  • Gender and the gaze
  • Ethnicity and the post colonial
  • Art, environmental and ecological concerns
  • Othering and otherness
  • Cultural appropriation
  • The canon and cultural value

Course Outcomes:
By the end of the course you will have an understanding of;

  • The history of art and social change and the responsibility of art and artists
  • Power relationships in art relating to gender, race and other identities
  • How to discuss current debates around cultural appropriation
  • The impact of art exploring social, environmental and ecological issues
  • Critical research and how to conduct it

Who is Art, Ethics and Social Change (Online Short Course) for?
This course is perfect for anyone interested in or engaging with social, cultural and environmental issues in art whether in the role of artist, curator, collector or enthusiast.Individuals within arts organisations wishing to implement an ethical framework would also benefit.

Level: All Levels.

Why choose an CSM Online Short Course
Our online learning short courses allow you to experience Central Saint Martins wherever you are in the world. The real-time chat sessions are fully interactive allowing you to communicate easily with the tutor at the same time as fellow students. Additionally all CSM Online Short Courses include;
  • Live sessions with expert
  • Lesson recordings
  • Practical assignments
  • Personal feedback
  • VLE with course content
  • Forums for support
  • 3 months online access
  • CSM Certificate upon completion

Please note that all courses are taught in UK time. To check and compare times please click here

Please note: This course is for students aged 18 and older

Please note that Online courses are closed to all new bookings 48 hours prior to the course starting.

Tutor Description

Sara Shamsavari is an inderdisciplinary artist and educator whose works explore global identity, inclusion and transformation. Several of her projects centre around challenging stereotypes and common preconceived judgements at a time of increasing division, conflict and polarisation. While each of her photographic series has a distinct focus, together, they seek to encourage our nuances as human beings.

Sara’s work has exhibited internationally in galleries, museums, public and political spaces including the Southbank Centre, City Hall, Museum of ContemporaryPhotography (Chicago), Lowe Museum of Art (Miami)), Espace Pierre Cardin (Paris), Museo Bardini (Florence) and Nathan Cummings Foundation (New York). Her work, exhibitions and profile have been featured multiple times across media and publications including BBC1, New York Times, i-D Magazine and the Guardian.

Shamsavari is a visiting lecturer at NYU Abu Dhabi and has guest lectured and delivered workshops internationally at cultural institutions including Tate Britain, National Gallery and the Royal Institution of Great Britain as well as guest lecturing at UAL, UCA, and John Cabot (Rome).

Available dates