Writing About Art

w/ Anwen Crawford

Our encounters with art and with artists – be it through film, music, television, literature, visual art and more – can shape us indelibly, and provide rich material for our writing. Whether you are working on reviews, essays, poetry or even fiction, this cross-genre course will provide you with tools for thinking and writing about art.

1 July – 29 July 2021

5 x Thursday evening sessions 6.30pm – 8.30pm (AEST)

$ 475/ $ 403.75alumni

Over this five-week course we will consider ways to write effective description of art forms, how to develop a critical argument, how and when to incorporate writing about ourselves in our writing about art, the relation of the critic to the fan and vice versa, and the ways in which responding deeply to an artwork or artist can lead us to new art – our own art of writing.

Each week’s class will include suggested readings, writing exercises and workshop, feedback and time for questions and answers. This course will show you how to capture your own encounters with art in writing, while using these engagements to kindle your own writing.

Writers you'll be working with:

Anwen Crawford

Anwen Crawford is a Sydney-based writer, critic and visual artist. She is the music critic at The Monthly, and her essays have appeared in publications including The New Yorker, The White Review, Frieze, Best Australian Essays, Meanjin, Overland and Sydney Review of Books. Her book Live Through This (2015), on the Hole album of the…

Course outline

Session One: Thursday 1 July

What art are you writing about and why? In this session we will introduce ourselves and our writing, and consider the relationship between writer and subject – are you writing about art as a critic? As a fan? Something (or someone) else? We’ll take an overview of ways in which to bring your response to art alive on the page.

Session Two: Thursday 8 July

Description is vital to writing effectively about art, but what can “description” mean, in practice? In this session we will look at how to make description more than just a rendering of literal facts: how vocabulary, rhythm and tone can all evoke an artwork, how the materiality and medium of the work itself can provide us with clues (and cues) as writers, and how to not get tangled up in adjectives!

Session Three: Thursday 15 July

Whether or not you are writing criticism, the development of a critical argument can still be crucial to your writing about art. In this session we will think about how to develop and strengthen your critical acumen: considering artworks and artists in their context, moving beyond responses of “good” or “bad”, and effective means of articulating your argument to a readership. 

Session Four: Thursday 22 July

Sometimes writing about art means writing about ourselves, which is not an easy task. This week we will consider how our personal encounters with artworks can be the basis for our writing, and how questions of memory, obsession, epiphany and more can be explored on the page.

Session Five: Thursday 29 July

The most effective and affecting writing about art – whether it’s criticism, fiction or something else – sticks with us because of its own artistic merit. To wrap up our course, we will encourage each other into those leaps of imagination and inventiveness that make our writing about art distinctive and original, and think about how to get that writing out into the world!

How to Book


To secure your place in this course you can choose to pay either the full course fee, or a deposit only. If you choose to pay the deposit one further payment will be required. We will send payment instructions for these closer to the time.