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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)

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.
  • Manchester School of Art collaborate with the Whitworth Art Gallery for regular public talks from internationally acclaimed speakers. Find out more here.
  • 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.

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 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.

Art History 3: Post-war Art History

The unit explores art from the mid to late twentieth century in different geographical locations, considering categories of art practice, artists and groups, political and social conditions, and art historical issues arising from the study of art during this period.

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.

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

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

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) at grade C or above. 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 2021 Entry

UK and Channel Island Students

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

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.