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Contemporary Curating

MA/MFA
Contemporary Curating
MA 1 year (full-time), 2 years (part-time)
MFA 2 years (full-time), 4 years (part-time)

MA/MFA Contemporary Curating explores the notion of exhibition practice in contemporary culture and considers curatorial methods and strategies in the context of the gallery and museum, as well as in projects such as biennials, public art works and commissions. The course considers ways in which different kinds of art works and projects are mediated through the exhibition process.

The shifting relationship between artist-institution-curator-critic/writer forms a central element to the course. The course also explores the potential of seeing curating as something that can be applied to different forms of knowledge: publications, symposia, events and interventions. 

Features

  • Opportunity to work on Holden Gallery exhibitions programme which generates four new shows a year, artists have included: John Baldessari, Sophie Calle, Liam Gillick, Jenny Holzer, Cornelia Parker, Roman Signer, Mark Wallinger
  • Curator talks and seminars from a range of galleries and programmes,such as: Liverpool Biennial,  Manchester Art Gallery, Open Eye, Tate Liverpool, The Whitworth among others
  • Partnership arrangements with Castlefield Gallery and HOME for placements and work experience. 

Course Content

You will establish key theories and issues relating to Contemporary Curating, Design Cultures and Contemporary Visual Culture and then develop these into more complex approaches.

You will also be encouraged and supported to extend your experience in the professional sphere either through a practical project, research context, exchange, work experience, or other negotiated professional set of interactions with an external partner, groups of students and creative industry.  

Towards the end of the programme you will undertake a major project to consolidate your past research and practice into fully realised collections, pieces, proposals, business plans, or exhibitions – whatever means is appropriate to the work. You will also have developed a strategy for the continuation of your practice located and contextualised to the profession or discipline.

If you choose to progress to MFA Contemporary Curating award you will study a further two units of 60 credits each.

This award is focused on the continuation of your practice aligned to the research and selection of appropriate public or professional venues and platforms to disseminate a significant body of work. You will be required to produce work for a public audience in the most relevant and appropriate form along with any implicit publicity and dissemination material. 

Year 1 (MA Full-Time)

The MA Contemporary Curating is made up of four core units plus one option unit, totalling 180 credits.

Practice 1: Curating Spaces

The focus of the unit is on the framework of curatorial practice through the diverse spaces in which work is exhibited. There is a consideration of the institutional as a condition of influence on exhibition practices and the subsequent relationship to audience. This is further extended through the exploration of the diversity and difference within international contemporary art and curatorial practice.

Practice 2: Curatorial Process

The unit considers the nature of the ‘curatorial’ in terms of the processes associated with a contemporary exhibition programme, as well as related activities. In effect, it offers a more applied understanding of exhibition practices. The unit considers a range of approaches which might be useful in establishing an individual methodology. It also serves as preparation for the professional practice and the start of the development of an individual voice that is thoroughly grounded in research skills.

Practice 3: Major Project

The unit is designed to support work towards the development and production of a piece of work that provides a central focus on one area of curatorial practice. The work will provide a synthesis and application of the research in relation to curatorial practice, in order to develop a substantial project which reflects on the theoretical, conceptual, contextual and practical elements necessary for a curated project.

Professional Practices

This unit extends your understanding of the professional context of Contemporary Curating, contemporary Fine Art, and Painting practices. Through an examination of artworld institutions and structures you will be guided to consider a range of possible positions that the contemporary artist or curator can occupy in the professional domain. The unit will extend your experience into the professional sphere, either through a practical project, research context, exchange, work experience, or other negotiated professional set of interactions with an external partner and/or peer group of students.

Year 2 (MFA Full-Time)

The MFA Contemporary Curating continues with the following two units totalling 120 credits.

Practice 4: Contextualising

This unit is centred on continuation of a curatorial practice which is aligned to the research and selection of an appropriate public or professional venue or platforms through which to disseminate a significant curatorial project. The unit will help develop the necessary skills to engage fully with external organisations or other collaborating partners in order to realise an appropriate route for the dissemination of a curatorial project.

Practice 5: Realisation and Publication

The final unit towards the MFA award requires the realization of a significant body of work for a public audience in whatever form is most appropriate along with any implicit publicity and dissemination material. This unit builds upon practice and work initiated and developed in earlier units and as such will be used as the realization and publication of an ambitious final project. The work would acknowledge the ways in which it engages with a public/peers as part of the critical process.

Placements

Placements can be arranged as an optional element. 

Resources

We have developed a dedicated postgraduate area occupying an entire floor of the main School of Art building, offering an exciting space to be, both intellectually and practically. The centre is located in the newly refurbished Chatham Tower with studios, design laboratories, seminar rooms and extensive workshops that form the nucleus of this vibrant, cross-disciplinary learning environment.

Find out more about Manchester School of Art's facilities.

Student Work

Visit our online MA Show galleries to see examples of recent work by our postgraduate students.

MA Show 2019 - View Work Online       MA Show 2018 - View Work Online

MA Show 2017 - View Work Online       MA Show 2016 - View Work Online


Graduates

The programme would be of interest to those planning to pursue a career in the museum and gallery sector, as well as those interested in related cultural work, such as arts administration, publishing and events organisation. The programme also provides a suitable grounding for further study at doctorate level.

Making an Application

Entry Requirements

You will normally have an undergraduate UK honours degree or international equivalent or a degree-equivalent postgraduate diploma or a professional qualification. Alternatively, you may be admitted if you can demonstrate appropriate knowledge and skills at honours degree standard. 

Overseas applicants will require IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with no less than 5.5 in any category, or an equivalent accepted English qualification. Accepted English qualifications can be viewed here.

How to Apply

Please apply directly to MMU using our Application Form.

Download Application Form

Fees 2020 Entry

UK and EU students

UK and EU students: Full-time fee: £1542 per 30 credits 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).

UK and EU students: Part-time fee: £1542 per 30 credits studied 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).

Non-EU and Channel Island students

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £2834 per 30 credits 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).

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Part-time fee: £2834 per 30 credits studied 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 Masters qualification typically comprises 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits, and an MFA 300 credits. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of study provided the course is completed in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Eligible alumni receive a 10% discount on their postgraduate tuition fees. Find out more about our Alumni Loyalty Discount.

Also see Postgraduate funding and financial support.

Course Leader