A Queer History of Art

Online course

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Join some of the most prominent thinkers in the field of LGBTQ+ art history and culture, as we explore the queer history of art, from the medieval period to the present day.

Learn from our world-class experts wherever you are, whenever suits you: watch lectures live or view the recording later in your own time. You can experience the full breadth and depth of the V&A's collections with 12 hours of study over 6 weeks. Learn at your own pace: lecture recordings and study materials, lecture notes, copies of the presentations, and additional study materials are available in our secure Microsoft Teams environment for 6 weeks after the course ends, so you'll never miss a thing. And finally, join the conversation: share your perspective with your fellow students, and support each other in your further enquiries outside of class time.

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course photo
Portrait of Course Leader Holly James Johnston

Course Leader
Holly James Johnston

Holly James Johnston is a writer, presenter, and performer. They have presented short films for Tate and The National Gallery, and recently created queer history podcast 'That World Inverted'. Alongside their creative projects, Holly is currently reading for a DPhil in English at the University of Oxford, and also performs as drag king 'Orlando'.

Thank you for making these courses possible. I love the opportunity to learn with people who are so knowledgeable and interesting. Previous V&A Academy Student

Course overview

This six-week course explores the queer history of art. Each week we will encounter art, objects, architecture, and design that tell stories about gender and sexuality in the past.

Hearing from scholars and museum professionals who are changing the way we understand queer art, discover how art has been utilised as a mode of queer expression throughout history. From medieval English manuscripts to Renaissance Italy, to the Pre Raphaelites and the Aesthetic movement and beyond, we will uncover how art motifs and mediums have been variously appropriated and/or subverted and by a vibrant cast of queer artists, makers, collectors, and viewers.

Taken as a whole, this queer art course is about the ways in which kinship and community can be found in the ways individuals have looked, and continue to look at art, across time and place. As much about the present as it is about the past, this course also shines a light on how museums and galleries are showcasing queer art for audiences today.


V&A Academy Online. A learning environment you can trust.

V&A Academy Online courses are built using the latest Microsoft software. Tune in to expert lectures live, or catch up later on demand. Download handouts and presentations. Join the discussion in a secure, closed class environment, wherever you are.

Enrol now

Online course: A Queer History of Art

30 May 2024 - 4 July 2024


Need help enrolling? Talk to the admissions team:

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Open 10.00 - 13.00, Monday to Sunday (closed 24-26 December)

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