Madonna and Child

MA Curating Contemporary Art

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Fees: £28,500.00


Curatorial practice is at the heart of the contemporary art world, shaping how artists’ work is displayed, contextualised, debated and consumed. From your very first day on this innovative programme, you will operate as a curator in training, developing your research abilities, practical skills, theoretical knowledge and unique creative voice. You will combine rigorous academic study with extensive fieldwork, both in London and internationally, coming into regular contact with leading artists, curators and other art world figures. In the third term of the programme, you will devise and deliver a public exhibition with your fellow students, providing you with invaluable curatorial experience with which to launch your future career.

Fittingly for a curatorial training programme, many study sessions take place in locations where art is produced and displayed: artists’ studios, museums, galleries, and private collections. Students have privileged access to leading artists and exhibition makers, who provide unique insights into their fields. Devised and led by a working curator, the programme is designed to make the most of your creative and intellectual talents, helping you locate, articulate and realise your individual curatorial practice.

Course dates

Course Calendar 2017 - 2018
19 September 2017 - 22 June 2018

Programme Information
Status: Full Time
Duration: MA 12 Months

Programme Fee:

Tom Morton Programme Director
Dr Mike Ricketts Programme Director
John Slyce Senior Lecturer

Indicative study trips include:
Berlin • Venice • Athens • Marrakesh

Curating Contemporary Art is subject to validation by The Open University*


With a firm emphasis on nurturing the next generation of curatorial talent, the programme immerses students in the fast-changing world of contemporary art. In addition to studying key developments and debates in the recent history and theory of curating through lectures and seminars, you will partake in workshops focused on key aspects of the exhibition making process, from initial research and conceptualisation, to the practicalities involved in realising your final vision, to communicating it effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences alike. Sessions with leading artists, curators and other art world figures will provide you with the opportunity to deepen your understanding of current artistic and curatorial production, and its contexts, as will regular fieldwork in London’s world-class museums, galleries, and private collections. Learning through direct contact with artworks, and their display strategies, is further enhanced through study visits to significant art world events such as Documenta, Manifesta, Glasgow International, the Berlin Gallery Weekend, Frieze, and the Venice, Athens, and Lyon Biennales. All study trips are included in the course fees.  

You will be assessed through regular assignments, your work co-curating a public exhibition in a London venue in collaboration with your MA cohort, and a thesis capturing your original curatorial research. A week’s work experience placement in an appropriate department at Christie’s is offered to all students.


Graduates of curatorial training programmes typically take up careers with public museums, galleries, biennales, and the increasing number of large-scale private collections, or choose to focus on the commercial sector, setting up their own spaces, or rising to senior curatorial roles at blue chip dealers or art fairs.

Others use their curatorial training to establish themselves as art consultants, archivists, project / studio managers for leading artists, or in roles within the contemporary arts media. For those wishing to pursue their academic work to PhD level, the growing field of Curatorial Studies provides ample scope for Doctoral research.
Typically, you will have an undergraduate degree (2:1 level or above) in Art History, Fine Art, or another appropriate arts, humanities or social sciences discipline. While we encourage applications from a broad range of educational and professional backgrounds, please note that we require potential students to have a working knowledge of art since 1900, and to be familiar with its attendant theoretical frameworks. Most importantly, you should have an informed and passionate interest in contemporary art, and in developing your own curatorial response to it. Candidates are expected to be highly motivated, excellent at managing their time, and to recognise that Masters level study demands that they take active ownership of their own research and creative practice as curators. We do not require you to have previous curatorial experience, although we welcome applicants who wish to enhance their professional skills through this intense and rewarding period of study.
Admissions Requirements:
  • Completed application
  • A university degree, normally at 2.1 level
  • Applicants whose first language is not English should normally have IELTS 7
  • A brief critical appraisal of a recent exhibition of contemporary art (500 words)
  • A bried proposal for an exhibition you would like to curate (500 words, please include images)
  • CV/Resume
  • Personal Statement
  • Two academic letter references on institutional letterhead (or equivalent professional references for mature students)
  • Scanned colour copy of passport photo page and previous UK visas if applicable.

As a small institution, places are limited. Applicants are advised to submit an application as soon as possible from the October of the year before they wish to study. The priority deadline has now passed however applications will be accepted until a programme is full.

19–23 September 2017

Term 1
25 September – 1st December 2017

Term 2
8 January – 16 March 2018

Reading Week
12–16 February 2018

Term 3
16 April – 22 June 2018<>br/

Bank Holidays
7 May & 28 May 2018

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