Course overview



This one-day course will explore the relationship of art to politics and the methods of public persuasion before advertising was widely used and social media had been invented.

Space donated by the Fondazione Bulgari

Fascinating course.

I have found the course excellent, very informative and accessible.

When Lenin came to power in October 1917, his party (the Bolshevik party) comprised of at best 350,000 people in a country of 140 million. Quickly the ruling party, the Bolshevik victory in Russia needed significantly greater support to assume the mantle of sovereign legitimacy – previously claimed by the provisional government and before that by the Tsars. One of Bolsheviks’ solutions was the use of the power of mass propaganda in order to establish:

  • That the Revolution was a large-scale, mass event
  • That the (proletarian) people had participated, and were participating in it.

In addition, they had to unite into the proletariat the still-religious and largely self-employed peasantry with the wage-dependent urban working population, and to overcome the problem of very significant illiteracy.

The above explains in part why Lenin’s Plan for Monumental Propaganda, street theatre performances and decorations as well as early Soviet films were considered to be so vital.

These will be used as case studies, and we will consider various forms of Socialist experiments in propagating the new ideology, and in some cases re-writing history.

In this course you will learn about:

  • What happens when artists work on behalf of a political program?
  • When does art become propaganda?
  • Is art tainted, diminished, or elevated by its political content?
  • Which artistic style is best suited for propaganda?
  • Mind influences.

Is this course for me?

This course is suitable for students and members of general public interested in art, propaganda and persuasion, psychology, political studies, history, and sociology.

The course is directed by Dr. Natalia Murray, who is one of the world’s leading specialist in the history of Russian art. She is a visiting lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art and a Senior Curator. In 2017 she curated a major exhibition Revolution. Russian Art. 1917-1932 at the Royal Academy of Arts in London and is currently working on exhibition of Malevich and Kandinsky in Paris. Her books and articles extend across the wide field of 19-20 century Russian art, and she has featured in films dedicated to the Hermitage museum and the Russian revolution and in programmes for BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service. Natalia is also trustee of the Russian Avant-Garde Research Project - a UK-based charity which shares one of her aspirations to reduce the number of fakes on the Russian art market.

Her most recent book Art for the Workers. Proletarian Art and Festive Decorations of Petrograd. 1917-1920 was published by ‘Brill’ in May 2018.  In autumn 2018 the Russian translation of her 2012 book The Unsung Hero of the Russian Avant-Garde will come out; and The Life and Times of Nikolay Punin will be published by ‘Slovo’ in Moscow.

This course can be best complemented with the 1-day course: Neural and Psychological Processes in Decision Making.



Booking information


  • 10% when a participant enrolls for more than one of our courses (at the same time)
  • 20% UK students
  • 25%Members of the UK Law and Society Association (UKLSA) 
  • If five people register from the same institution for the same intake, the fifth place is free
  • Goldsmiths students, staff and alumni - email us for current discounts

As a University, we are able to offer our courses at minimum prices, and free of VAT - to make knowledge available to as wide audience as possible.

Refund policy: See AIR courses main page


If you have any questions about this course please contact air ( or call +44 (0)20 7078 5468.

For information on our upcoming short courses please sign up to our mailing list.


Goldsmiths' main campus, New Cross; or 

Goldsmiths' Senate House venue, Bloomsbury

See booking page for the specific date.

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