John Berger's Ways of Seeing at 50


This half-day school marks the forthcoming 50th anniversary of the series of short films, Ways of Seeing, first broadcast on BBC television in January 1972. The films, and the book which was an adaptation from the series, were hugely influential and indeed transformative in the ways in which we look at visual culture. But the forthcoming anniversary seems the perfect opportunity to pose the question - are Berger’s ways of seeing ours?

The speaker, John Rolfe, has been engaged in an “archaeology” of the programmes and the book and will share his discoveries as one way to answer the question above. The event will be divided into four talks, corresponding to the four episodes of the original broadcast (which are all available on YouTube).

Between the presentations there will be opportunities to discuss questions with others. We will finish by 1pm, allowing time for in-person participants to go and explore galleries, museums, and other sites of interest related to the discussions.

Programme details

9.45am: Registration

10.00am: Welcome and introductions

10.15am: Berger’s Ways of Seeing art in colour supplements and on colour TV

10.45am: Coffee/tea

11.00am: Berger’s Ways of Seeing women in art

11.30am: Discussion

11.45am: Berger’s Ways of Seeing possessions in art

12.15pm: Discussion

12.30pm: Berger’s Ways of Seeing the language of art in advertising

1.00pm: Event closes


Description Costs
Tuition - in-person attendance £50.00
Tuition - virtual attendance £50.00


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

If you do not qualify for the concessionary fee but are experiencing financial hardship, you may still be eligible for financial assistance.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Mr John Rolfe


Head of Arts, St Clare’s, Oxford 


Accommodation is not included in the price, but if you wish to stay with us the night before the course, then please contact our Residential Centre.

Accommodation in Rewley House - all bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.  Please contact our Residential Centre on +44 (0) 1865 270362 or email for details of availability and discounted prices.

IT requirements

You can opt to attend this hybrid teaching event either online (via a livestream) or in person at Rewley House, Oxford. You will be given the option of how you wish to attend during the enrolment process. You can only pick one option. If your preferred attendance format is fully booked, you can email us to be put on the waiting list.

For those joining us online

The University of Oxford uses Microsoft Teams for our learning environment. If you’re attending online, you’ll be able to see and hear the speakers, and to submit questions via the Teams interface. Joining instructions will be sent out prior to the start date. We recommend that you join the session at least 10-15 minutes prior to the start time – just as you might arrive a bit early at our lecture theatre for an in-person event.

If you have not used the Microsoft Teams app before, once you click the joining link you will be invited to download it (this is free). Once you have downloaded the app, please test before the start of your course. If you are using a laptop or desktop computer, you will also be offered the option of connecting using a web browser. If you connect via a web browser, Chrome is recommended.

Please note that this course will not be recorded.