History and Theory of Curating - HART8260

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 7 30 (15) Catherine Hahn checkmark-circle


This module will introduce students to the history and theory of curating through a series of detailed case studies from the early modern period to the present day. These will focus on how collections have been formed and maintained, the nature of key institutions in the art world like museums and galleries, and in particular it will examine the phenomenon of the exhibition. Different approaches to curating exhibitions will be examined, and the responsibilities of the curator towards artists, collections, and towards the public will be analysed. Broad themes in the theory of curating and museology will be examined. Wherever possible the case studies chosen will draw on the resources and expertise of partner organisations, such as Canterbury Museums and the Institute for Contemporary Art.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20
Private Study Hours: 280
Total Study Hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Written Assignment 1: Essay (1500 words) – 30%
Written Assignment 2: Essay (3000 words) – 50%
Presentation – 20%

Reassessment methods
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Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices. The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages: https://kent.rl.talis.com/index.html

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module Level 7 students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of aspects of the history of collecting, including both private collections and public institutions, through relevant case studies;
2 Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of aspects of the history of exhibitions and a sense of their wider cultural impact through relevant case studies;
3 Demonstrate full knowledge and understanding of the institutions of the museum and of the gallery in their wider historical context through relevant case studies;
4 Demonstrate understanding of aspects of museology, the study of various approaches to the display of collections and how such displays address their audiences, through relevant case studies;
5 Debate about the cultural role of museums, galleries and exhibitions in relation to wider society, and their educational, recreational and other roles;
6 Demonstrate an understanding of the role of the curator in relation to collections management and exhibition design and development.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module Level 7 students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate at an advanced level the key skills of critical reading and analysis of a range of primary and secondary texts, including visual materials;
2 Demonstrate at an advanced level the key skills of written communication and problem solving, and have attained responsibility for their own learning and be able to reflect on it in a critical manner;
3 Use relevant Information Technologies to research and present their work;
4 Demonstrate at an advanced level the key skills of oral communication and working with others in a group, as well as gaining confidence in participating in critical discussion and debate while remaining open to the viewpoints of others;
5 Use relevant learning and reference resources (including visual resources) within the Templeman Library and the internet, and be able to use them effectively to support their arguments and analyses;
6 Demonstrate their ability to write coherent, informed and logical arguments in a well-organised and well-presented form, and to be able to present the outcome of their work in a clear and comprehensible way – whether this is in a written form, or in the form of a display of objects.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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