SOAS University of London

Academic Services: Widening Participation

Critics Programme 2020

Total places available: 15

A 4-week online programme for undergraduate offer-holders to develop their critical thinking and writing skills. Priority will be given to applicants from an under-represented group in Higher Education. The programme has weekly critical thinking workshops led by a SOAS academic on analysing and reviewing different art media including visual art, literature, and film, followed by small group discussions facilitated by Student Ambassadors.

At the start of each week, students will choose an artwork from our lists to review based on the week's theme. On Thursdays, Student Ambassadors and the SOAS academic will give feedback and facilitate peer reviewing on the first drafts submitted and students will be given another opportunity submit a second draft of their review to receive written feedback from Student Ambassadors.

The programme consists of 20 hours for the students (comprising of contact hours and independent work hours). Students will be asked to keep a reflective journal of what new skills, knowledge, and behaviours they have developed and how they feel about their progress on a weekly basis.

By the end of the programme, the final review will be considered for publication on our website if it meets our success criteria. All participants that engage throughout the programme will receive a certificate upon completion.

This programme aims to:

  • Support students in developing their critical thinking and writing skills
  • Prepare students for university assignments by enhancing their communication, research, and presentation skills
  • Develop their confidence and to foster a sense of belonging in creative spaces
  • Equip them to engage critically with art through facilitated activities
  • Inspire independent engagement with arts and culture after the programme

Programme Outline

Dates, times, themes, writing skill focus, & art medium:

Week 1: Decolonisation | Observation & Description | Visual Art

Monday 27 July – 13:00 to 14:30
Tuesday 28 July – 13:00 to 14:30
Thursday 30 July – 13:00 to 14:30

Week 2: COVID-19 | Evaluation & Analysis | Literature

Monday 3 August – 13:00 to 14:30
Thursday 6 August – 13:00 to 14:30

Week 3: Climate Change | Judgement & Recommendation | Film

Monday 10 August – 13:00 to 14:30
Thursday 13 August – 13:00 to 14:30

Week 4: Identity | Final review 

Monday 17 August – 13:00 to 14:30
Thursday 20 August – 13:00 to 15:00


Priority will be given to students who:

  • are or have been eligible for Free School Meals
  • are first generation in their family to attend university
  • have experience of care
  • have a disability
  • are displaced persons/refugees/asylum seekers


Any undergraduate offer-holder from any UK university can apply to this programme however SOAS undergraduate offer-holders will be given priority.

This programme will be accessible on mobile phones as well as on tablets or personal computers. Participants can choose to join the sessions via audio only or video. Sessions will be recorded for internal use and will be accessible to the participants after the event.

To apply, please complete the Critics Programme 2020 Application Form.

The deadline to apply is 1pm on Thursday the 16th of July 2020.


Further enquires

For further enquiries, please contact