MA Curating the Art Museum - The Courtauld Institute of Art

MA Curating the Art Museum

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MA Curating the Art Museum

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Postgraduate Taught Courses

MA Curating the Art Museum
MA Curating Exhibition
ma curating
MA Curating 4
MA Curating exhibition 3
MA Curating Exhibition
GENERATIONS: Connecting Across Time and Place, MA Curating exhibition, 2019
ma curating
GENERATIONS: Connecting Across Time and Place, MA Curating exhibition, 2019
MA Curating 4
GENERATIONS: Connecting Across Time and Place, MA Curating exhibition, 2019
MA Curating exhibition 3
GENERATIONS: Connecting Across Time and Place, MA Curating exhibition, 2019
MA Curating Exhibition
GENERATIONS: Connecting Across Time and Place, MA Curating exhibition, 2019
ma curating
GENERATIONS: Connecting Across Time and Place, MA Curating exhibition, 2019
MA Curating 4
GENERATIONS: Connecting Across Time and Place, MA Curating exhibition, 2019
MA Curating exhibition 3
GENERATIONS: Connecting Across Time and Place, MA Curating exhibition, 2019
MA Curating Exhibition
ma curating
MA Curating 4
MA Curating exhibition 3

Course Overview

This programme is an excellent entry point for a career in museums and galleries. It puts the physical object at the heart of curatorial training whilst placing specialist knowledge firmly within the context of the contemporary museum. The course offers a wide range of learning environments and exercises, from taught seminars to group projects and hands-on work experience, and encourages a wide range of expression, written and oral, from academic writing to public debates and gallery talks.

This broad-based programme, which has run since 2007, attracts students with a range of interests, across all periods and media, with a strong focus on contemporary and innovative approaches to curating in public museums and galleries. The programme’s teaching draws widely on the expertise of the art history faculty, the conservation department and The Courtauld Gallery, and benefits from close relations and excellent connections with museums and galleries across London and the UK, and internationally. Curators and other professionals in museums including Tate and the National Gallery are actively involved in the programme, leading practical exercises such as the Virtual Display. Individual placements are arranged for each student with museums and galleries in London: students work closely with mentors in a range of national museums, public galleries and other organisations in London, one or two days a week over a six-month period. There is a strong emphasis on collaborative working, in taught sessions and in the organisation of museum debates; field trips, in the UK and Europe, are organised across the year to ensure the widest contact with curators, museum professionals and artists, as well as with exhibitions, displays and museum spaces. The programme culminates in a collaborative exhibition project, and the mounting of a public exhibition and related public events.

The programme aims to address a wide range of interests and equip students with the expertise, research and professional skills for an equally wide range of career paths. Over 140 students have graduated from the Programme to date; around 90% of them have progressed within the museum and gallery sector, in a variety of curatorial and management roles as well as in public programmes, marketing and development; some enter private galleries or practise independently, while others go on to further research in the fields of curating or art history.

The programme places a strong emphasis on collaborative working, in taught sessions and in student-organised museum debates; field trips, in the UK and Europe, are organised across the year to ensure the widest contact with curators, museum professionals and artists, as well as with exhibitions, displays and museum spaces. The programme culminates with a student-led collaborative exhibition project, and the mounting of a public exhibition and related events.

Key Facts

Status: Full-time

Location: Vernon Square Kings Cross, London WC1X 9EP (during The Courtauld Connects project)

Duration: 1 year (12 months, October – September)

Awarding Body: University of London

Intake: 12 students per year

Applications: Applications for 2021/22 entry are now open. Please see the ‘How to Apply‘ page.

Entry Requirements

UK qualifications: Students will normally have achieved a good 2.1 in their Bachelor’s degree, considered to be an overall average 65% or above.

Overseas qualification: Equivalent to a good 2.1 in a UK first degree (e.g. US applicants should have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above).

Personal Statement: You will be asked to provide a statement of up to 500 words detailing your reasons for applying for the course, supplying any information and experiences relevant to your application.

Interviews: Selected applicants will be asked for interview before offers are made.

English language requirements: If your first language is not English, we require proof of English language proficiency –please see the English Language Requirements page.

Teaching & Programme Structure

TERM ONE

  • Introductory sessions to the Programme, The Courtauld’ s collections and the various programme elements.
  • Ethics and practice of Conservation (five sessions).
  • History and Theory of Museums (eight sessions, seminars and museum visits; essay).
  • Virtual Display exercise: four sessions, with a professional curator, at the National Gallery or Tate Britain.
  • Contemporary Approaches to the Museum (four seminars).
  • Individual Work Placement in a London museum or gallery, 1 or 2 days per week, from November to April.

TERM TWO

  • Contemporary Approaches to the Museum (4 sessions, museum visits or presentations from external curators, architects or artists; essay).
  • Development of an Exhibition project (from December).
  • Language and Interpretation (10 sessions, seminars, visits and group exercises).
  • Student- organised public Museum debate.

TERM THREE

  • Continuing development and delivery of the exhibition project (exhibition runs mid-June to mid-July).
  • Leadership session with a prominent museum director or curator.
  • 10,000-word Dissertation on a curatorial or museological subject (from June; submission mid- September).
Assessment

The MA Curating the Art Museum is formally assessed on:

  • Two 4,000 word essays (one each in terms 1 and 2)
  • Exhibition project
  • A 10,000-word dissertation
  • Placements are assessed pass/fail based on mentor’s report following self-reflective report written by the student
Careers & Employability

The programme aims to address a wide range of interests and equip students with the expertise, research and professional skills for an equally wide range of career paths.

Over 140 students have graduated from the Programme to date; around 90% of them have progressed within the museum and gallery sector, in a variety of curatorial and management roles as well as in Public programmes, marketing and development; some enter private galleries or practise independently, while others go on to further research in the fields of curating or art history.

Fees & Funding

Fees are subject to change each academic year. 2020/21 fee information, including what qualifies as home, EU, and overseas fees, can be found here.

Financial support for your studies:

Postgraduate Master’s Loan: Please visit the Student Finance England website for further information and to apply online.

Courtauld Institute of Art Scholarships: Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit combined with financial need. The average postgraduate scholarship awarded in 2019/20 was £6,000. Applications are welcomed from Home, EU and Overseas students applying to or currently studying in 2020/21.

Alumni Loyalty Scheme: This scheme is open to any graduate of The Courtauld Institute of Art admitted to a taught postgraduate programme of study. Recipients will receive a 10% loyalty discount off their tuition fee for the duration of the course.

Further information about loans, grants, and bursaries to support you during your studies at The Courtauld can be found here.

Support

To support you through the degree, we offer:

Wellbeing: We have a dedicated Wellbeing team, with counsellors and advisors.

Academic Skills: The academic skills tutor offers group and one-to-one help to develop the skills and confidence you need to succeed on the degree. We also have two Royal Literary Fund fellows who will help you with your writing skills – concentrating on how to structure and improve your writing.

Frequently Asked Questions

 Do you need degree in Art History to embark on this course? 

Most applicants have a degree in Art history, but the programme also accepts applicants with degrees in other, related disciplines; many of these have included modules with art history or visual studies content.  A broad and demonstrable knowledge of art history is useful; the programme itself does not include teaching in art history.

 

Would it be possible to do this course if you live outside of London? How many days per week would we need to be in London? 

The programme is a full-time course, requiring attendance at classes or placements three to five days per week.

 

What is the application process?  

Our applications will be open by the end of November this year. Once they are open, you can apply here.

The deadline is 15th January 2021. Once we assess your application, successful applicants will be invited to interviews around February onwards. No offer will be made without an interview. All applicants will be notified by the end of April.

 

Do you accept mature students?

The majority of students join the Programme following graduation, or in the years immediately following; however, mature students are welcome to apply.

 

Would you say this course is more ‘academic’ or ‘vocational’? 

The two are not exclusive terms.  Academic standards expected for this programme are as high as for the MA in History of Art, and written coursework and dissertation are integral. The programme is also vocational in the sense that it is designed to prepare students for a career in the museum and gallery sector, in a variety of roles.

 

Have previous students ever gone on to study a PhD in Art History (a more general course)?  

Some students graduating from the Programme in most years have continued to PhD research, both in museum/curating and in art history.

 

Do you look more at grades or recommendation letters? Are the latter absolutely compulsory?

Both academic qualifications and references are required.

 

What do you look for in a personal statement?

Demonstrable evidence of knowledge and interest in art, museums and galleries, and commitment to pursuing a curatorial career in whatever capacity; particular interests in the field, expressed with energy and flair. The statement is an opportunity for you to express your particular interests and skills, and serves as a basis for discussion at interview.

 

If one has worked for over three years after MA in Art History – for the letters of Recommendation do you prefer letters from my professors from the universities , or may we submit letters from our place of work as well? 

At least one academic reference would be expected, but professional references may also be submitted if you feel the referee speaks effectively and with authority to your suitability for the programme.

 

Are the applications on a first-come first-served policy, or will they all be looked at together after the deadline in January? Will interviews take place before the application deadline?

Applications are generally looked at straight after the applications deadline. It is intended that interviews take place in late January/early February.

 

Are the seminars / courses / trips mentioned all exclusive to MA Curating the Museum, or are there opportunities for MA History of Art students to participate in some?

The classes in the MA Curating programme are for MA Curating students only.

 

What is the biggest difference between this course and the MA History of Art?

MA Curating the Art Museum is a separate programme from MA History of Art; it is a twelve-month programme, while History of Art is nine months.  All programme elements are specifically curatorial; practical exercises, including the Virtual Display and the exhibition project, are group exercises, and involve teaching from the Art History faculty as well as associate lecturers and curators, both from the Institute and outside.

 

The content of the programme is very diverse – is it largely inclined towards western or Eurocentric art? 

The programme works closely with The Courtauld Gallery and other galleries and museums across London, both as active collaborators and as sources for study.  It therefore reflects and embraces the full range of these institutions, and their current preoccupations, whether with British, Western or global art.

 

Who teaches on the programme?

Teaching is by Institute faculty members and associate lecturers, and curators and conservators within the Institute as well as external.  Guest lecturers – curators, art historians and artists – are invited on occasion.

 

How is the group exhibition developed?

Students work as a group on a single exhibition, working to an open set brief to develop a concept and a full exhibiting proposal, based on works in the Courtauld collection and/or the Arts Council collection.  In organising the exhibition students elect to take the lead in different roles, typically loan arrangements, installation, interpretation, budget, press and marketing, project management and interpretation.

 

How are placements assigned?

The Head of Programme identifies opportunities for placements among a wide range of museums and galleries across London, and mentors for each placement in curatorial departments.  Placements ae allocated following discussion with students on their interests and aspirations in the autumn term.

 

Ae there any elements of this course which will remain online post-Covid? 

Of course, we do not know when Covid restrictions will be lifted, but the intention is to return to face-to-face teaching as soon as possible.  The programme thrives on active contact with works of art, the spaces of art and those working within them.

Virtual Open Day presentations

 

 

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Postgraduate Prospectus 2020/21

Download the prospectus

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