Course overview

If there is such a thing, at any time the “national mood” in any country is reflected in the cultural products of the period - visual works, theatre productions, the movies, the literature. The course will provide an overview of the decade from the artistic and cultural viewpoint. This will include the art movements which emerged such as Abstract Expressionism, exemplified by people like Jackson Pollock, music developments such as rock'n'roll famously promoted by Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and many others and epoch-making movies such as West Side Story.

Course description

After two decades dominated by the nightmare of World War II, the 1950s saw a significant lightening of national moods in the Western world. This period, marked by a sense of relaxation and burgeoning optimism, fostered a vibrant cultural renaissance reflected in various artistic forms. However, it is important to note that Spain and Portugal remained under the oppressive regimes of fascist dictators Franco and Salazar, whose influence starkly contrasted with the general spirit of renewal and creativity elsewhere.

This course will explore the rich tapestry of the 1950s cultural landscape, delving into the era's significant artworks, films, operas, music, and poetry. Each week, students will be introduced to a curated selection of pieces that exemplify the decade's artistic and cultural dynamism. We will examine how the newfound sense of freedom and hope post-WWII influenced artistic expression, from abstract expressionism in painting to the burgeoning of modern cinema and the evolution of musical genres.

Through in-depth analysis and engaging presentations, students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the 1950s' cultural contributions. The course will highlight key works and movements, providing insights into how art and the arts mirrored and shaped societal changes during this transformative decade. By the end of the course, students will appreciate the enduring impact of 1950s art on contemporary culture.

What financial support is available?

We don't want anything to stand in your way when it comes to bringing Adult learning within reach so if you need anything to support you to achieve your goals then speak to one of our education experts during your enrolment journey. Most of our courses are government funded but if you don't qualify or need alternative financial help to access them then let us know.

What other support is available?

All of our digital content, teaching and learning activities and assessments are designed to be accessible so if you need any additional support you can discuss this with the education experts during your enrolment journey and we will do all we can to make sure you have optimal access.

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