Curating - MA

This programme, delivered by School of Arts and specialist visiting lecturers, develops your skills and provides experience relevant to a career in curating.

Overview

Based at the School of Arts Studio 3 Gallery, you are involved in all aspects of the running of the Gallery.

You have the opportunity to develop your own project, working within the Gallery’s exhibition programme. In developing your exhibition project for Studio 3 Gallery you will work closely with partner organisations in the Kent region, such as Canterbury Museums, or with international art groups like the Stuckists. Both of these examples relate to exhibitions developed by students taking the MA Curating

About the Department of History & Philosophy of Art

The History & Philosophy of Art Department within the School of Arts, provides opportunities for graduate study with well-established researchers in the fields of art history, philosophy of art and aesthetics. Staff research covers contemporary art and aesthetics, modernism, theories of art, the historiography of art and the Cold War; biographical monographs, the photograph (in its historical, contemporary and critical contexts), and the historical interplay of image, theory and institutions from the Renaissance to the present (especially European and North American).

Developing areas of interest include the cultural and historical significance of the print, and the role of performance and new media in contemporary art practices, which draw upon our links with other subjects within the School of Arts and the Faculty of Humanities. In particular, postgraduates have the opportunity to participate in the activities of the multidisciplinary Aesthetics Research Centre and the Art History and Visual Cultures Research Centre. There is also a full programme of visiting speakers from across the constituent subject areas within the School of Arts, which includes Film and Drama.

Entry requirements

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You are more than your grades

For 2022, in response to the challenges caused by Covid-19 we will consider applicants either holding or projected a 2:2. This response is part of our flexible approach to admissions whereby we consider each student and their personal circumstances. If you have any questions, please get in touch.

Entry requirements

A second class honours degree (2.2 or above), usually in a relevant humanities subject. In certain circumstances, the School will consider candidates who have not followed a conventional education path or who may have relevant experience in the industry. These cases are assessed individually by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Your application should include a sample of your academic writing. Ideally this will be an essay, on a similar or related topic, that you have recently written as part of your undergraduate degree programme. Please upload this to your application portal.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Due to visa restrictions, students who require a student visa to study cannot study part-time unless undertaking a distance or blended-learning programme with no on-campus provision.

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Need help with English?

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

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Course structure

Duration: One year full-time, two years part-time

Compulsory modules provide an overview of the history of collecting and exhibitions through a series of case studies, taking advantage of our proximity to major London collections. We also cover theoretical issues relating to curating and museology.

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

Compulsory modules currently include

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.

Find out more about HART8260

The Curatorial Internship module provides students with the core experience of participating in a team running Studio 3 Gallery in the Jarman Building. Students will undertake key tasks and projects integral to the delivery of the exhibition programme at the gallery, both individually and working in groups, under the direction of the programme convenor and of the gallery's curator and with (or as) exhibition curators. These tasks may include exhibition design and planning, negotiating loans, maintaining partnerships, managing collections, researching and writing catalogues, interviewing artists, fundraising, devising educational programmes, handling, storing and transporting art works, condition reports, designing promotional materials, marketing exhibitions, exhibition analysis and so on. A self-reflective journal will assess what has been learnt from the internship.

Find out more about HART8270

Optional modules may include

The course trains students to communicate confidently and professionally about film form, style, and technique in a variety of spoken, written, and audio-visual formats (e.g. oral presentations, writing, video-essays and/or podcasts). Students will study the theoretical frameworks and specialised terminology which they need to produce accurate, coherent, and effective film analysis. Students will also learn to reflect critically on filmmaking from a variety of modes, genres, historical periods and national traditions (including, where applicable, their own filmmaking).

Find out more about FILM8250

This module focuses on the skills of advanced research writing, providing the training needed to research, plan and communicate with confidence for an academic audience. The course will trace the process through which research is consolidated and prepared for the academic essay, highlighting the importance of structure, signposting and clarity of expression. The course will enable students to refine and develop the skills of constructing a sophisticated argument which engages critically with appropriate scholarship and is clearly articulating an intervention. The module is research-led, meaning the topic through which such skills are developed will be chosen by the course convenor to reflect her/his own research interests. The course will therefore also engage directly with current, innovative research and allow students to gain an understanding of the discipline's larger research community and activities.

Find out more about FILM8260

This module will pursue three interrelated aims through the use and study of drawing:

Firstly, it will introduce students to the range of drawing techniques used by artists, the different types of drawings they produce and their function in the process of designing and executing works of art. It will equip students with the tools for analysing and identifying drawings, and provide foundations for effective connoisseurship.

Secondly, it will equip students with a practice-based understanding of the role of drawing in artistic training and of its importance as a tool for creative work. Students will participate in drawing seminars where they will carry out exercises modelled on artistic practice. To give some indicative examples, these may begin with rudimentary conventions for drawing eyes and ears, through copy drawings to mechanical drawing methods like perspective and shadow projection, tracing and the use of the grid. The exercises may then build on these simple beginnings and develop towards portrait drawing informed by anatomical analysis of the skull, drawing from sculptural casts, from the draped and nude figure, sketching the landscape, and finally working towards the compositional drawing and methods for enlarging it. Drawing exercises will clarify for students the processes of artistic visualization and design, and make available to them an important tool of visual and art historical analysis.

Finally, the module will enable students to relate the analysis of historical drawings and the practice of making drawings to the theory of drawing and its significance in western culture generally.

Find out more about HART8101

The course begins with an analysis of Raphael's frescoes in the Stanza della Segnatura of the Vatican Palace, as a means of introducing the key themes which will be considered throughout: proportion in architecture, the body and the geometry of vision; rhetoric, both verbal and visual, and the related concepts of variety, decorum, and composition; poetic inspiration, emulation and imitation; and the revival of antiquity. These themes are then reviewed as they occur in the writings of Leon Battista Alberti, the most evolved theoretical texts on the visual arts of the period. Alberti’s works raises the question of whether he was describing current practice or setting out an ideal, and also whether he was writing principally for artists or for their patrons? Alberti’s elevated claims for painting, architecture and, to a lesser extent, sculpture as liberal arts, are then compared with the contemporary status of artists, whether operating from a workshop or employed at court. The course continues by looking in detail at the works of four key Italian artists – Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Titian – to assess how far they engaged with, or departed from, the Albertian paradigm. Albrecht Dürer, a northern European artist excelling in the less "noble" medium of printmaking, but also profoundly interested in issues of perspective and proportion, is considered to provide a non-Italian point of view on the Renaissance. Interspersed with these studies of single artists lectures may consider in greater detail particular themes raised by these artists’ works, such as the extent of artists’ knowledge of anatomy, the influence of the ruins of Rome, the Renaissance ideal of love, the creation of new styles by transgressing architectural rules for playful effect or to achieve “grace”, and the development in Venice of the genre of pastoral landscape. Alternatively, the work of other major artists may be considered such as Correggio, Parmigianino, Bandinelli etc. Having, broadly speaking, covered the period 1470-1550 chronologically, the course concludes by looking at the mid sixteenth-century reassessment of these artistic achievements in the writings of Dolce, Varchi and Vasari.

Find out more about HART8102

This module aims to give students an advanced understanding of concepts and methods involved in the study of portraits. A programme of seminars will explore recent philosophical and art historical literature on portraiture and related research topics. The historical development of portraiture and its different subgenres will be traced, influential portrait artists will be discussed and their work will be critically analysed – all of which will be addressed within a broader theoretical framework, focusing on philosophical issues such as the nature of personal identity, objectification, the definition of art, and theories of representation and genre.

Find out more about HART8360

This module will introduce you to key concepts that are central to understand fundamental debates in history and philosophy of art as well as art criticism. Some examples of key concepts are the notion of originality, influence, race, the aesthetic, fiction, beauty, gender and taste. The key concepts discussed in the seminars are subject to change.

Find out more about HART8380

The dissertation module gives students the opportunity to write a dissertation of around 12,000-15,000 words on a topic of their choosing relating to history of art or philosophy of art and aesthetics. The process of developing a topic and writing the dissertation is closely supported through classes during terms 2 & 3, and individual meetings with the student's dissertation supervisor. Supervision is usually by staff with direct research expertise in the student's chosen topic.

Find out more about HART8980

This module explores the dynamic relationship between the cult of relics and Gothic art. It will begin by retracing the aesthetics of devotion across Western Christendom, culminating in the creation of towering Gothic cathedrals. Throughout history, the design of cult images could reveal sacred presence, testify to miracle-working powers, and explicate the significance of a holy place using visual narratives. Through pilgrimage, gift-giving, and even theft, people acquired relics and 'invented' new cults. The success of a relic cult would benefit from the design of a magnificent reliquary, the depiction of pictorial programmes (in glass, sculpture, and painting), and the placement of the relic within a spectacular architectural setting. Together we will explore the development of Gothic art in light of changing devotional needs. Using a number of diverse case studies, students will acquire a wealth of historical information and develop a variety of intellectual approaches to function and significance of visual culture. Beginning with Paris and its surrounding cathedrals, we will extend our analysis to Gothic Canterbury, London, Castile, Prague, Siena, and Florence. Above all, this course will encourage students to think critically about the influence of art in the religious imagination.

Find out more about MEMS8030

This interdisciplinary course will focus on a number of inter-related themes which will be studied through differing types of evidence from written and printed texts to objects and standing buildings. Thus, as a way of aiding students to expand their intellectual horizons, some seminars will take place outside the seminar room to look at evidence in situ. Topics will include medieval topography, parish churches and lay piety, houses and shops, pilgrimage, and urban defences, using Canterbury as a contextualised case study.

Find out more about MEMS8640

You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.

Teaching and assessment

Assessment is through a combination of coursework essays, critical logbooks and practice-based exercises. A long dissertation is required for the Exhibition Development and Design module.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

  • create and interpret knowledge at the forefront of the discipline through the development of critical, conceptual and practical abilities
  • develop a self-directed programme of practice and related research
  • contextualise and theorise practice in relation to, and through critical evaluation of, the work of contemporary practitioners and leading researchers within the discipline
  • develop a comprehensive understanding of methodologies applicable to independent research
  • develop autonomy in practice work within a context that fosters collaborative learning
  • sustain an advanced practice that encompasses the disciplines of writing, discussion and producing practice-based outcomes
  • achieve high-level skills and competencies as a preparation for professional practice and further development in the field of curating
  • embed your research within the context of the University and utilise the resources offered in the research environment such as staff expertise, symposia and colloquia
  • develop public outcomes outside the University in a range of formats
  • attract students from a diversity of arts contexts and contexts that inform artistic practice, including fine art, history of art, sociology, journalism, English literature, film studies architecture and philosophy
  • attract intellectually able and talented students who are enquiring, open to experimentation, discussion and collaboration as well able to work independently
  • provide a forward-thinking, dynamic learning environment that responds to the current climate of debate and production in the arts. 
  • forge an international identity within the field of study through developing partnerships with international universities and non-HEIs
  • support specialism and progression by allowing students to opt for specific routes of study that include curating, art history, cultural history, arts management, conservation or museum studies.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

We aim to help you understand:

  • the contemporary and historical contexts for your individual practice and related research
  • the formative debates in the wider contexts of cultural production
  • the contemporary and historical critical and theoretical debates in your chosen topic area and in wider cultural contexts
  • how to evaluate research methodologies, apply methods and propose new hypotheses applicable to specific research intentions
  • the interdisciplinary field through fostering an awareness of, and involvement within, a diversity of research orientations and pathways in curating and museum studies
  • the definitions and practice-based assertions of what defines critical discourse in contemporary arts practices, including curating
  • interdisciplinary practice: the relation between and interactions within disciplines of art criticism in relation to curating
  • the approaches to producing professional practice-based outcomes in a range of media for a range of institutions and settings
  • high-level skills and competencies within professional practice and their application.

Intellectual skills

You will gain the following intellectual skills:

  • to critically reflect upon the theories, concepts and ideas that shape work in the field of curating to an advanced level of achievement
  • to analyse complex issues and communicate their conceptual understanding to a range of audiences
  • to critically reflect upon, refine and present the theoretical framework for independent practice
  • to realise and present a body of critical work that demonstrates inventiveness in the application of knowledge
  • to develop a curating practice that is self-reflexive
  • to demonstrate independent and creative approaches to research, including planning and problem-solving
  • to exercise the initiative, responsibility and decision-making necessary to support continued professional development
  • to demonstrate self-direction and inventiveness in work and discourse, and act independently in planning and implementing practice to a professional standard
  • to understand and evaluate the conceptual and practical concerns that arise within public contexts.

Subject-specific skills

You will gain the following specific skills:

  • the ability to effectively deploy terms and concepts relevant to understanding curating in a contemporary context
  • the ability to locate evidence from a wide range of primary and secondary sources, and interpret it in relation to the aims and conceptual framework of curatorial practice
  • the ability to present and discuss cultural material in the context of the arts, heritage, exhibitions, museums, and galleries, employing argument and interpretative skills relevant to professional practice
  • the ability to draw upon your understanding of the materials and processes central to a variety of cultural practices in the practice of curating
  • the ability to critically evaluate a range of different conceptual and practical methodologies and approaches to understanding curating in a contemporary context
  • the ability to reflect upon practical work in a gallery context and to assess its significance  in the form of a research journal. 

Transferable skills

You will gain the following transferable skills:

  • the ability to articulate ideas and information comprehensibly in visual, oral and written forms
  • the ability to organise information effectively and respond to written sources
  • the ability to communicate to a range of audiences
  • the ability to source, navigate, select, retrieve, evaluate, manipulate and manage information from a variety of sources
  • the ability to select and employ communication and information technologies
  • the ability to produce written documents
  • the ability to interact effectively with others, for example through collaboration, collective endeavour and negotiation
  • the ability to accurately define and review the work of others
  • the ability to negotiate regarding the planning and execution of a project or the dissemination of its outcomes
  • the ability to study independently, set goals, manage workloads and meet deadlines
  • the ability to explore your strengths and weaknesses
  • the ability to develop autonomy in learning
  • the ability to listen effectively and so to learn from and participate constructively in discussion
  • the ability to seek and use feedback, and critically reflect on and improve your performance
  • the ability to identify and define intellectual and practical problems
  • the ability to explore alternative solutions to research problems and discriminate between them
  • the ability to gather, organise and deploy ideas in order to formulate arguments cogently and express them effectively orally, visually and in written form
  • the ability to research and evaluate sources in the process of carrying out independent study.

Fees

The 2022/23 UK fees for this course are:

  • Home full-time £9300
  • EU full-time £13000
  • International full-time £17400
  • Home part-time £4650
  • EU part-time £6500
  • International part-time £8700

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact information@kent.ac.uk.

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Additional costs

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 

Funding

Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:

We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.

Search scholarships

Independent rankings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, Arts at Kent was ranked 1st for research power and in the top 20 in the UK for research quality.

An impressive 98% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.

Research

Research areas

Research areas

The Department has a collective interest in developing interdisciplinary projects, including projects informed by art history, curation and the philosophy of art or aesthetics. Shared areas of research interest include: photography, art theory from the Renaissance onwards; modernism and contemporary art.

Aesthetics Research Centre

The Aesthetics Research Centre coordinates, enables and promotes research in philosophy of art and aesthetics at the University of Kent. Its focus is on the dynamic and growing field of philosophy of art and aesthetics in the analytic tradition, and it is deeply committed to making connections and exploring synergies between that tradition and other approaches to thinking about art and culture, including those from other philosophical traditions, the humanities more broadly, the sciences, and all forms of art making and cultural production. ARC comprises a vibrant community of staff and postgraduate students across the School of Arts and Philosophy, and its activities include an annual programme of research seminars, workshops, symposia and conferences. 

Histories: Art, Drama and Film Research Group

The Histories Research Group promotes and co-ordinates research amongst the growing community of staff and PG students active at Kent in the field of Visual and Cultural Histories. The Histories research culture brings together staff and post-graduate students from across the School of Arts whose research involves a cultural historical approach to their field. Whether it is in theatre, film or art history, the Histories group promotes and enables cultural historical research by holding a regular research seminar and supporting student-led initiatives, such as organizing conferences. For the range of world-leading research carried out by members of the Histories research group - from Raphael to Doris Day.

 

Other Research Centres within the School:

Performance and Theatre Research Group

The Performance and Theatre Research Group’s mission is to create a warm and dynamic research community, welcoming everybody from fresher to professor. We are a delightfully broad church, with well-established expertise in a very broad range of subjects, including theatre history, performance and health, theatre and cognition, physical acting, applied theatre, performance and philosophy, performance and politics, European theatre, Greek theatre, Modernist theatre (especially the Bauhaus), theatre and adaptation, audience studies, cultural industries, variety theatre, puppetry, dance theatre, popular performance and stand-up comedy. As well as traditional academic research, we have led the field in creative practice-based research – and continue to do so.

Film, Media and Culture Research Group

The Group’s main objective is to support and produce cutting-edge research in the areas of film, media and culture. A broad and welcoming church for the manifold approaches to our subject, we specialise in research that is collaborative, of high impact, international and interdisciplinary in scope. We recognise film, media and cultural activity is best understood comprehensively in terms of aesthetic shapes, social roles, discursive formations, cultural meanings, psychological effects and/or economic realities, and best explained through attention to both institutional imperatives and individual agencies. Drawing together scholars from across the University – including Arts, European Culture and Languages, Digital Arts and Engineering, History, English and American Studies, Law, Sociology and beyond – the Group furnishes a lively, member-led research culture that serves as a forum for Kent-based researchers and as a beacon for the international community. Through our journal Film Studies and pioneering research projects and outputs we actively seek to shape the field, open lines of communication with the local community and engage with colleagues worldwide.


Careers

Arts postgraduates have gone on to work in a range of professions, from museum positions and teaching roles to marketing and gallery assistants. Our graduates have found work with Tate Britain, the V&A, Museum of Childhood and other arts, culture and heritage-related organisations.

Study support

Postgraduate resources

There is a large and wide-ranging library holding for History & Philosophy of Art, covering the fields of painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, aesthetics and contemporary visual communications. There is a substantial stock of periodicals, online access to e-journals and a slide library with well over 100,000 images, covering areas such as contemporary art, visual cultures, garden history and the film still, as well as traditional media. Kent is ideally located for access to galleries in London and on the continent.

In 2010, we moved into the purpose-built, and RIBA award-winning, Jarman Building located at the centre of the Canterbury campus. The new building is home to the Studio 3 Gallery and a range of teaching and social spaces as well as a dedicated postgraduate centre.

Support

All postgraduate students are offered research skills training and the opportunity to take part in reading groups and research seminars at departmental, school and faculty level. Research students have the added opportunity for funded conference attendance. There is also a dedicated student support office at our Canterbury campus, which can offer support and guidance throughout your studies, in addition to an office in Paris.

In recent years, several members of the History & Philosophy of Art Department, both full-time and part-time, have been awarded University prizes for excellence in student support, curriculum innovation and research-based teaching – an ethos which we seek to extend to the postgraduate community.

Dynamic publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: British Journal of Aesthetics; Art History; History of Photography; Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism; Journal of Visual Arts Practice; and The Philosophical Quarterly.

Global Skills Award

All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.  

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