World Art

Art world first went on-line in 2000 as a JISC funded documentation and learning resource for Higher Education. Originally it was a collaboration with the Oriental Museum at the University of Durham and included tools and resources for wiki-style contributions and for the creation of mini-websites for teaching. In the course of its history it has been re-programmed several times to update its databases and web-functionality, but these interactive elements were removed. However the texts remain substantially as they were originally entered. Should you experience any problems or wish to comment please contact the webmaster,

The idea of World Art focuses on the processes of making, seeing, and engaging with visual and material artefacts that humans make as part of their sensory and social interaction in the world. While a world art approach provides conceptual space for local particularities, it takes the practices and behaviors surrounding objects as the common element of, and point of inquiry into, human creativity in general. The notion of World Art consequently stimulates thinking about large themes, motifs, and patterns relating to artistic production that can apply to diverse peoples, cultures, and contexts. It immediately sets up the potential to interrogate two broad terms, world and art, provoking us into thinking not only about how we conceptualize the world but also how we understand the nature of art. In raising those issues, the study of World Art moves away from looking to establish firm boundaries and categories of creative behavior to emphasizing exchange, interaction, and the permeability of borders, whether geographic (such as nations, regions, or hemispheres) or conceptual (such as designations like ‘fine arts,’ popular culture, or the idea of originality). A world art approach thus offers a way of seeing that promotes the relational and comparative across cultures and time.