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Art History & Curating

BA (Hons)
Art History and Curating
UCAS 8N73
3 years (full-time)
4 years (with placement year and/or overseas study)

This course combines the study of art history, focusing on developments since the nineteenth century, with the essential practical skills and critical perspectives needed by the contemporary curator. And Manchester School of Art school provides a distinctive, vibrant environment in which to consider art’s historical development and its relationship to society.

The course shares much of its teaching with BA (Hons) Fine Art and Art History, and students from the two courses collaborate on projects and exhibition-making. It is taught by a multidisciplinary team of practising artists, art historians, curators and theorists.

The University's exhibition spaces, cultural programmes and collections are used in the course’s teaching, providing opportunities to acquire valuable, professionally relevant experience and skills. The course also enjoys links to the city and region's galleries and arts organisations.

Special Features

  • The course works closely with arts institutions and galleries in Manchester and beyond, helping students to foster professional skills and contacts.
  • 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.
  • Opportunities for national and international study trips.
  • Manchester Metropolitan is committed to engaging with the Turing programme, the newly announced UK government scheme to support students to study and work abroad.

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

The first year introduces students to key skills and contexts for art history and curating. Important movements in art from Romanticism to Modernism are surveyed, placing these in their social contexts. Students also consider the contemporary contexts in which we encounter images and works of art, and the ways in which collections and exhibitions produce historical understandings. 

Unit X

At Level 4, this unit encourages some collaborative, interdisciplinary practice and shared experience. There are lectures and talks from key research staff, students and external experts. Teaching will be in the form of tutorial groups, weekly meetings and presentations. The set projects will vary from year to year and are designed to be responsive to current creative opportunities. 

Contextualising Practice 1: Critical Analysis

Students are allocated to a pathway according to their programme to introduce ideas relevant to their studies. The unit introduces some of the broad over-arching themes and concepts – historical, cultural, social, political, and economic – that affect and inform the production of art, design and/or craft.

Contextualising Practice 1: Critical Reflection

This unit is delivered and assessed by individual programmes and relate directly to students’ personal practice and the contexts that inform making in professional art, design and/or craft practices. The unit asks students to begin to form a critical understanding of their own practice.

Encountering Art

The unit explores how we encounter art in gallery spaces through exercises that introduce students to a number of key art institutions in the city.

Year 2

In the second and third years students survey movements and themes in art up to the contemporary, and develop their knowledge and understanding of art's historical, theoretical, and institutional contexts. Alongside this they develop practical skills and professional perspectives relevant to curating. Students have the option to plan and realise an exhibition for a final curating project. Students will also conduct an independent research project leading to an extended piece of writing, which may be an extended essay or a full-length dissertation.

Writing for Art’s Audiences

This unit looks at how art is mediated for its audiences through different forms of writing, such as art criticism and gallery interpretation strategies.

Year 3

In the second and third years students survey movements and themes in art up to the contemporary, and develop their knowledge and understanding of art's historical, theoretical, and institutional contexts. Alongside this they develop practical skills and professional perspectives relevant to curating. Students have the option to plan and realise an exhibition for a final curating project. Students will also conduct an independent research project leading to an extended piece of writing, which may be an extended essay or a full-length dissertation.

Projects in Curating A

In this unit, students work individually on the comprehensive development and planning of hypothetical thematic exhibitions for a specific contemporary art space.

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

Student Work

Visit our online digital showcase to view the work of final year Art History and Curating students.

End of Year Show 2021

Staff


Dr Fionna Barber's 'Elliptical Affinities' displays work by two generations of Irish women artists

Art History and Curating students and staff have created an open social space, workshops and activities

Graduates

The course allows students to develop into informed, critically capable art historians and curators, able to take their place as professionals in the arts and the wider cultural industries. The course also offers students the opportunity of enhancing their employability through placement and overseas study sandwich year options.

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 Required

104-112.

A levels ­– e.g. BCC-BBC

Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma – DMM

Pass Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 106 UCAS Tariff points

Equivalent qualifications and combinations will be considered, including Extended Project (EPQ). AS levels (or qualifications equivalent to AS level) are not accepted.

Specific GCSE Requirements

GCSE grade C/4 in English language.

Equivalent qualifications (e.g. Functional Skills) may be considered

International Baccalaureate26 IB Diploma Points or 104-112 UCAS tariff points from Higher Level. Points

International Students

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

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

Tuition Fees 2022 Entry

UK and Channel Island Students

Full-time fee: £9,250 per year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.

EU and Non-EU International Students

Full-time fee: £17,000 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. The tuition fee for the placement year for those courses that offer this option is £1,850, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study). The tuition fee for the study year abroad for those courses that offer this option is £1,385, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

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 (costs approximately £200-£800). However there are computer facilities on campus.

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.