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Art History & Curating

BA (Hons)
Art History and Curating
3 years (full-time)
UCAS 8N73

The contemporary world of galleries and art museums involves a strong link between art history and curating. Art historians work with galleries and museums, while curators use their knowledge of art history to organise exhibitions. This course combines the study of art between 1800 and the present day with the study of curatorial practices during the same period, together with the essential practical skills and critical perspectives necessary to the contemporary curator.

The programme addresses a diverse range of artists, movements, exhibitions and display spaces as well as theoretical approaches to art history and curating. You will be encouraged to engage in independent research and professional development using the many galleries of Manchester and the North West. The staff team delivering the course has expertise and research interests in curatorship and art history in the modern and contemporary periods.

Special Features

  • The course works closely with arts institutions and galleries in Manchester and beyond, helping foster professional skills and contacts.
  • Access to the regular Tuesday Talks of internationally acclaimed speakers organised by the Whitworth Art Gallery.
  • Opportunities to learn a foreign language and access the Erasmus international study programme.
  • Opportunities for national and international study trips.
  • You will have the opportunity to take part in Unit X, an innovative unit offered to students across Manchester School of Art that encourages interdisciplinary study and collaboration on an external-facing project.

Course Content

BA (Hons) Art History and Curating combines the study of Art between 1800 and the present day with the study of curatorial practices during the same period, together with the essential practical skills and critical perspectives necessary to the contemporary curator. The programme addresses a diverse range of artists, movements, exhibitions and display spaces as well as theoretical approaches to art history and curating.

Year 1

In year 1 you will study the art of the modern period (1850 – 1950), which will include an examination of the practices of display, collecting and exhibition making during this period.  You will consider the meanings of images and objects and how meanings are created through exhibitions.

Art History and Curating 1: Modern Art and Curatorial History: 1800-1950

The unit aims to introduce students to the history of art during the modern period (c.1800-1950), together with key ideas surrounding practices of display, collecting and exhibition making during this period. The unit will cover ideas and movements such as: Romanticism, Realism, and Modernism; relationships between modern art and urban modernity; theories of modernism and the avant-garde; relationships between modern art and other spaces such as the rural; relationships between modern art and identity; specific movements such as Impressionism, Expressionism, Futurism, Cubism, Dada; cultures of collecting; practices of display; development of art galleries and museums; power and exhibition making.

Art History and Curating 2: Interpreting and Curating

The unit provides an introduction to art historical approaches and other interpretational theories and practices through the exploration of examples of art and other cultural artifacts, and their use and display.

Unit X

This unit  encourages collaborative, interdisciplinary practice and shared experience. There are lectures and talks from key research staff, students and external experts, tutorial group meetings, and presentations. The set projects will vary from year to year and will designed to be responsive to creative opportunities. The course encourages students to respond to contemporary media and as such, it is a live unit in which we discuss films, television, comics, games and the news relating to the media in any specific week.

Contextualising Practice 1

You are allocated to one of four pathways addressing programme-based clusters of cognate practice areas. Lectures, seminars, guest speakers, visits around cultural contexts and professional issues.

Contextualising Practice with Language 1

You are allocated to one of four pathways addressing programme-based clusters of cognate practice areas. The unit includes lectures, seminars, guest speakers, visits around cultural contexts and professional issues.

Year 2

In year 2 you will explore the spaces of art production and display between 1950-2000 examining social and political conditions of the time and their relationship to art. You will look at how art has been and continues to be interpreted from key theoretical positions and how interpretation takes place in gallery settings through designing an education programme or event for a gallery or museum.

Interpretations: Theories of Art History and Curating

The unit addresses key approaches, methods, and theories relevant to the interpretation of art, visual/material culture, and sites of display during the period c. 1800 to the present. The unit - forming two concurrent elements - examines the way that art and visual/material culture can be interpreted, both theoretically and curatorially. In the first element of the unit, interpretive strategies for the analysis of art and space include, for example, iconography and iconology, semiotics, phenomenology, Marxist approaches to cultural production and consumption, the social history of art and Identity Politics, feminist approaches to art and design, post-colonial theory, picture theory, cultural geography and psychoanalysis. The second element of the unit focuses on interpretive strategies employed by museums and galleries to engage different audiences including, for example, case studies of educative programmes, artists' responses to collections and digital projects.

Post-War Art and Curatorial History 1950-2000

This unit explores art and spaces of art production and display c.1950-2000 in different geographical locations, considering approaches to art historical study and curatorial practice. The unit addresses the historical conditions and art historical and curatorial issues arising from the assemblage of art during the late-Modern and Post-Modern period. Movements in art practice and its relationship to different types of art institution and space will be interrogated chronologically and via gallery visits, whilst focusing on the surrounding social and political factors.

Unit X

This unit explores collaborative and interdisciplinary art and design practice.  You will have the opportunity to engage in a range of external-facing learning opportunities which will encourage collaborative, interdisciplinary practice and shared experience; this may take the form of spending time outside of the university and working within the creative community and the public domain.

Contextualising Practice 2

Delivery of critical, historical and professional issues to enhance your development within practice-based clusters. Delivery to clusters of cognate practice areas. Content consists of selected thematic options in critical and historical areas plus cluster-wide professional and employability issues, facilitating and enhancing the development of both studio-based work and identity as a practitioner.

Contextualising Practice with Language 2

Delivery of critical and historical issues to enhance the student's development within practice-based clusters.  Content consists of selected thematic options in critical and historical areas facilitating and enhancing the development of both studio-based work and identity as a practitioner. Modes of delivery include lectures, seminars, tutorials, guest speakers, visits and placements.

Year 3

In year 3 you will examine the work of contemporary artists and curators, looking at how the range of media and art practices adopted by contemporary artists has generated new approaches to curating exhibitions in both local and global environments. You will develop curatorial projects informed by these debates.

Contemporary Art and Curating: 2000-the Present

The unit will consider contemporary art practices and art spaces (2000-present) in relation to the areas of painting, sculpture, public art, installation and site-specific work, lens-based practices, digital art, participation, relational aesthetics, activist art, commercial galleries, biennials / mega-events, National Portfolio Organisations, R & D labs and pop-up spaces.The aim of the unit is to explore the curatorial, technical and aesthetic forms of these practices as well as their discursive, institutional, professional, political, global, and ethical contexts and ramifications

Framings: The Contexts of Art

This unit deals with the different contexts within which art (both historical and contemporary) is produced, seen, interpreted and circulated.  This unit deals with the different contexts within which art (both historical and contemporary) is produced, seen, interpreted and circulated. This subject will be approached from historical, theoretical and practical perspectives, examining for example, developments in the arts funding system, interpretation and education in gallery contexts, the role of art criticism and critical communities and arts marketing stategies

Unit X

On the third year Unit X, there is a student authored final project leading to a showcase of finished work. The unit includes a brief generated by the student, which leads to the presentation of a significant body of final work. Collaborative and interdisciplinary work can be incorporated into the project in relation to the professional context and ambition of the student.

Contextualising Practice 3

Programme of research and critical analysis of cultural and professional issues related to a student's individual practice interests.

Contextualising Practice with a Language 3

Programme of research and critical analysis of cultural and professional issues related to a your individual practice interests. A negotiated project focused around an individually defined area appropriate to your aims and ambitions.

Assessment Methods

End of unit course work assessments including: projects, essays, blogs, group work and exhibitions. Ongoing formative assessment and feedback.

Assessment Weightings & Contact Hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A three year degree qualification typically comprises 360 credits (120 credits per year). The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be—

Study
  • Year 1 20% lectures, seminars or similar; 80% independent study
  • Year 2 20% lectures, seminars or similar; 80% independent study
  • Year 3 20% lectures, seminars or similar; 80% independent study
Assessment
  • Year 1 100% coursework
  • Year 2 100% coursework
  • Year 3 80% coursework; 20% practical

You can find further details about the curriculum in the Programme Specification Document

Staff


Graduates

This course is appropriate for careers in a range of cultural roles e.g. gallery/museum curator, archivist, art historian, arts manager, cultural event organiser, art writer/journalist, as well as being appropriate for postgraduate study.

Making an Application

How to Apply

Apply through UCAS.

You will be notified of our decision through UCAS.

Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff Points/Grades Required112-120.

Minimum 112 - 120 at A2 or equivalent (which can include Foundation Diploma in Art & Design). A Level General Studies is not accepted.

Specific GCSE Requirements

GCSE English Language at grade C or grade 4. Equivalent qualifications (eg. Functional Skills) may be considered

Non Tariffed Qualifications

112-122 UCAS Tariff Points from Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject with at least 45 credits at Level 3

International Baccalaureate26 Points

International Students

A minimum IELTS score of 6.0 with no element below 5.5 is required.

Check our MMU International site for further information if you are applying with non-UK qualifications.

Tuition Fees 2017 Entry

UK, EU and Channel Island students

UK, EU and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £9,250 per year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government approval, and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy.

Non-EU international students

Non-EU international students: Full-time fee: £14,100 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A degree typically comprises 360 credits, a DipHE 240 credits, a CertHE 120 credits, and an integrated Masters 480 credits.

See Money Matters for further information and advice.

Additional Costs

Specialist Costs

Optional £500* Students often choose to buy their own laptop in their first year. However there are computer facilities on campus. £200-£800

Trips and Placement Costs

Optional £1,140* Educational visits to European centres during each year. These are optional and if related to a unit of study, local alternatives are identified.

Professional Costs

There are no additional professional membership fees required for full qualification.

Other Costs

£150*  plus optional £300* Books and digitised readings are available from the library. However you will be required to purchase a small number of core books. There will also be some costs associated with printing (core and optional). Materials (core and optional) relating to the practice of curating and the staging exhibitions.

* All amounts shown are estimates.

Find out more about our Art School Credit scheme that you can use to help pay for materials needed on the course.