For me, this is an article that desperately needed to be written. Despite not going to a private school or college, I was lucky enough to be able to study art history AS Level (the full A Level was not available). But even then, my class consisted of about 7 girls, all of whom had come from artistic backgrounds, including myself. I spoke to several of my male friends about subject choices over the course of that first year at college, and I was quite surprised at how many of them had considered choosing art history, but backed out because of preconceived ideas about the subject. A sad, sad thing, I think you’ll agree.
Overall, some excellent and relevant points are made in this article (though referring to ‘Princess Kate’ as early on as the piece’s sub-description, however ironically, was perhaps not the best way to start). The direct quote from teacher Caroline Osborn summarises the real concept of the subject pretty perfectly. Art history is a way of thinking; it is the study of visual history, visual philosophy, visual anthropology, visual archaeology - in fact, most ‘-ologies’ and ‘-ographies’ could probably be applied here. (Note, I said ‘most’, not ‘all’!)
I’m not entirely sure whether I agree that getting rid of AS Levels won’t encourage students to ‘take a chance on an unfamiliar “minority” subject such as art history’. I took 5 AS Levels - which was a horrendous decision - but if I’d been forced to choose 4, then I probably would have left out art history. Purely for the fact that I had never studied it before and wasn’t sure what to expect! And this was due to no fault of anyone at my college, but more to a wider issue of the poor communication of art historical theory and ideas.