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Art: Citing references

A guide to finding information in art. Includes links to key resources and sources of help.

Whenever you refer to another person's work in your own essay, dissertation or article you must acknowledge them and give full details of your source. You risk being accused of plagiarism if you fail to do so.

For general information on referencing, including an explanation of different citation systems, and guidance on citing specific types of publication, see our Citing references guide.

For help with citing specific types of publication contact your librarian (details below).

For advice on using references in your work, and how to use them to support your arguments, consult the guidance on the Study Advice website or make an appointment with them.

Reading school of Art has specific guidance in your programme handbook for which referencing style you should use. Sometimes the lecturer for a specific module may require another referencing style so check the assessment information in the BlackBoard course.

2022-23 guidance

Undergraduate programmes - use Chicago author-date style

Taught postgraduate dissertations - use Harvard style (see guidance below.)


Harvard referencing

Also known as 'author-date' style. In Harvard style the in-text citation is in brackets in the body of the text, and uses the author's surname and the date of publication, with the page number if you are referencing a particular page. Full details of the item are listed in the bibliography or reference list.

Note that because Harvard is a 'style' rather than a system or set of rules, recommended punctuation and formatting of the text may differ depending on what advice you are reading. Use the examples from 'Cite them right' Harvard and be consistent throughout your work.

This online guide has examples of how to reference books, articles, conferences, archives, all different types of art works, performances and exhibitions, digital and social media - literally anything you can think of!

Cite them right page with guidance on citing multiple formats in Harvard style

Harvard referencing examples

Every time you write about something in an essay, including quotations and if you are simply referring to an idea, fact or academic argument, let your reader know where you found it by referencing the relevant book, article, website, publication or object. When using Harvard referencing, you include a brief in-text reference in brackets before the full stop of your sentence, giving the author's surname and the year of publication (Guest, 2023).

Then at the end of your piece of work, include a Reference List, listing all items referenced with their full publication details, in alphabetical order of the authors' surnames. These full references must be laid out with specific details, in a specific order with the required formatting and punctuation for Harvard style - see the examples on the other tabs for further guidance.

Reference List

Guest, N. (2023) How to do referencing. London: Penguin. 

For more explanation, examples and helpful videos take a look at the Cite them Right Harvard articles link below;

In text: (Author's surname, Year)

In bibliography: Surname, Initial. (Year of publication) Title. Edition. Place of publication: Publisher.


In text: (Grant, 2022)

In bibliography: Grant, Catharine. (2022) A time of one's own: histories of feminism in contemporary art. Durham: Duke University Press.

Book details for example reference shown in Enterprise catalogue

In text: (Editor's surname, Year)

In bibliography: Surname, Initial. (ed.) (Year of publication) Title. Edition. Place of publication: Publisher.


In text: (Murphy and Rascaroli, 2020)

In bibliography: Murphy, J. and Rascaroli, L. (eds.) (2020) Theorizing film through contemporary art: expanding cinema. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

book details in Enterprise catalogue

In text: (Surname, Year)

In bibliography: Surname, Initial. (Year of publication) 'Article title in single quotes', Journal Title, Volume(Part), pp. page-page.


In text: (Schiwy, 2019)

In bibliography: Schiwy, F. (2019) 'Thresholds of the Visible. Activist Video, Militancy, and Prefigurative Politics', ARTMargins, 8(3), pp. 7–28.

Article details in Summon discovery service

For websites, it's sometimes not obvious who the author is. In these cases you can use the name of the organisation responsible for the website instead. If you're unsure of the date the website was published, try one of the methods on Wikihow: 4 ways to find the publication date of a website

In text: (Author Surname OR Organisation, Year published OR updated)

In bibliography: Organisation (Year that the page was published/last updated) Title of web page. Available at: URL (Accessed: date).


In text: (BBC Arts, 2021)

In bibliography: BBC Arts. (2021) Abandoned industrial landscapes are brought to life in sound. Available at: (Accessed: 16 June 2023).

Cite them right has information about how to cite different kinds of webpage depending on what information you have

Where you don't know the artist name, or the exhibition was put on after the artist has died

In text: Title of exhibition (Year)

In bibliography: Title of exhibition (Year) [Exhibition]. Location. Dates of exhibition. Available at: URL (Accessed: date).

You only need to add a URL and Accessed date if the exhibition is held online.


In text: The Moki Cherry: 'Here and Now' exhibition (2023) ...

In bibliography:  Moki Cherry: 'Here and Now' (2023) [Exhibition]. Institute of contemporary arts, London. 31 May - 3 September 2023. 

Where you know the artist name

In text: Title of exhibition (Year)

In bibliography: Artist (Year) Title of exhibition [Exhibition or Online exhibition]. Location. Dates of exhibition. Available at: URL (Accessed: date).

You only need to add a URL and Accessed date if the exhibition is held online.


In text: (Kusama, 2021-2024)

In bibliography: Kusama, Yayoi (2021-2024) Infinity mirror rooms [Exhibition]. Tate Modern, London. 18 May 2021 - 28 April 2023. 

Cite them right has examples of how to reference all kinds of material - from text based publications like books, articles, chapters and reference works, to social media posts, software, audio and music, video, fine art and mixed media, graphic design, maps, photos, performances, interviews, sculptures, unpublished research and reports, legal and government sources, conferences and personal communications - everything you could need!

There are also articles explaining how to reference more than one work at a time, how to reference someone you found out about in a work by a different person (secondary referencing,) how to set out quotations and deal with non-English names and scripts.


EndNote logoWhen you do your dissertation you could consider using EndNote to manage your references. This bibliographic management package can be used to store references, and then insert the citation in your Word document, automatically building the bibliography for you in the correct style.

Find out more on our EndNote webpages:

For information on other options for electronic management of your references see our guide to Managing references:

Get help from your librarian

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Natalie Guest
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Get my help with finding relevant books and articles for your research, help with accessing library materials and collections, referencing and reference management software.

Email me with your question or book an appointment

0118 3783415