Please be advised that this programme is not being offered for the 2017/18 academic year.
The curriculum of this programme is also under review. Programme structure and course availability is subject to change.
This programme encourages creative, holistic and practical knowledge of this increasingly polymathic field, grounding practical schooling in criticism, art writing and curating in knowledge of key histories and theories of contemporary art. The programme addresses issues raised by the practices of contemporary art, criticism and curating as a means of encouraging you to contribute both critically and practically.
Artists think and act. Being contemporary means engaging with multiple perspectives and different ways of learning. Students of contemporary art theory conduct research in relation to a broad range of creative, cultural and historical contexts in ways that are speculative, writerly, philosophical, organisational, social and economic.
Students apply aesthetics, art theory and criticism, art historiography, anthropology, and critical theory to engage with contemporary art’s variety of media, technologies, images, artefacts, tactics, texts, cultural contexts and professional practices.
Coursework is based on a strategy of blended learning, combining the latest open-source educational technology with more conventional face-to-face lecture, seminar and workshop-based teaching methods. Particular emphasis is placed on the importance of peer learning; group work, field work and experiential learning.
Research projects are student-led, personalised and supervised by a team of academic staff who aim to support whichever direction is most appropriate to your interests, skills and strengths. Theory students form an integral part of our graduate school, writing, producing and commissioning projects in a family of media and adapting approaches drawn from an increasingly wide array of disciplines.
The programme aims to provide you with both an overall level of expertise in recent developments in art practices and theories, and a high degree of specialisation within this field, culminating in an original Research Project. As such, the programme has the following specific aims:
To undertake a systematic examination of major international art practices since the 1970s.
To analyse the major strands of theory and criticism that have informed art practices, institutions and related cultural ecologies.
To explore some of the principal critical and theoretical positions informing the interpretation of contemporary art and its organisational contexts.
To provide you with a set of critical tools necessary for the advanced analysis and creative organisation of art and contemporary culture.
To provide you with a set of competencies, skills and understanding that will enable you either to undertake further academic research and/or to pursue a range of creative careers.
This programme will enable you to develop the creative, organisational and economic knowledge required for a career in the contemporary art world, as a critic or a curator. You will also be qualified to teach studio art and theory in higher education and to work as a self-employed artist.
This one-year programme will allow artists who have already achieved high production values in their studio work to combine this with contemporary critical theory.
You’ll develop your artistic practice in well-equipped studios and work towards an exhibition of your own. At the same time, you’ll explore contemporary art, theory and criticism to inform and contextualise your work – and you’ll specialise in one area of criticism or theory when you choose from a wide range of optional modules.
In a region full of cultural resources, from The Hepworth Wakefield to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the Henry Moore Institute, you’ll learn from expert researchers and practitioners as well as a host of visiting artists and speakers.
You could explore aesthetics, feminist studies, deconstruction and museum practice – and you could even undertake a work placement in a museum, gallery or other cultural institution.
In 2016 the School moves to a new location on campus, offering a modern and well-equipped learning environment in a beautiful listed building. You’ll be able to develop your artistic practice in professionally laid out studio spaces and versatile exhibition spaces.
We have a printmaking workshop on campus with facilities for etching, relief and screen printing, as well as a wet darkroom. Our computer suite has dedicated workstations for offline video editing and other applications. A 3D workshop and fabrication area are also housed within the School, with a dedicated space for casting.
The University incorporates museums and galleries such as the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery and the History of Science, Technology and Medicine Museum, as well as other performance and exhibition spaces.
The course gives you the chance to take full responsibility for your own programme of work. At its core is your studio practice, where you’ll develop your portfolio of work and build towards your own exhibition at the end of Semester 2.
You’ll work with a range of materials and have the freedom to develop your creativity through the media that suit you best. The study of different cultural and critical theories will be integrated into your work, as you attend studio seminars focusing on the links between theory, practice and criticism.
At the same time, you’ll develop your understanding of research methods through separate compulsory modules. As you improve your own research skills, you’ll prepare to submit your dissertation – an independent project on a topic related to your practice – by the end of the academic year.
You’ll also have the chance to expand your studies when you choose from a wide range of optional modules. You could cover topics such as contemporary art, technology and the media, feminism and culture, remembering the First World War or anthropological approaches to art among many others.
If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.
We use a variety of teaching and learning methods. These will vary, but generally include visits to museums and galleries, lectures, seminars, tutorials and online learning.
You’ll also benefit from our extensive programme of visiting artists and speakers. Independent study is vital to this programme – not only is this where you’ll work on your practice and develop your creativity, but it is also an opportunity to build your skills in research, analysis and interpretation.
The assessment methods you come across may vary depending on the modules you choose. However, they’re likely to include your exhibition and supporting written work, your portfolio of studio work, in-course assessment, essays and presentations.
This programme will allow you to develop your practice as an artist and write thoughtfully about the practice and context of artistic work.
It will also give you the chance to gain skills in organising and curating events and exhibitions, researching, interpreting and analysing artistic work and cultural, visual and critical awareness.
All of these traits are valuable in a wide range of careers. Fine Art graduates have gone on to work in curatorial and educational roles around the world, both on a freelance basis and for major art institutions. Others have decided to develop their research interests through PhD study and academia, or pursued careers in teaching.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website
This interdisciplinary programme will equip you with valuable skills and a critical understanding of issues in curatorship, museology and museum management.
You’ll develop your understanding of the ways in which historians and cultural theorists have interpreted and represented architecture, material culture and museums over the past 2,000 years. You’ll look at different methods of display and interpretation and the methodologies behind museum practice and country house collections. Then you’ll choose from optional modules on topics such as cultural theory, sculpture, Hollywood icons or cinema.
At the same time, you’ll develop practical skills. You’ll work on an interpretation project in our Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery and you’ll even undertake a negotiated work placement in your second semester. Supported by the Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills for a successful career in the museum and art gallery sector.
You’ll study in the heart of a cultural hub for this diverse and vibrant region. Leeds is home to a national museum, nine council-run museums, galleries and heritage sites and many private and charitable museums and galleries.
We’re also a short bus or train journey away from everything the rest of Yorkshire has to offer, from The Hepworth Wakefield to the National Media Museum, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the Bronte Parsonage Museum. We have close links with many of these cultural institutions to support your practical learning.
Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage
All students on the degree become members of the Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage and enjoy opportunities from networking events and links to alumni to conferences, seminars and reading groups.
A set of core modules form the bedrock of the programme, introducing you to the concept of the ‘museum’ and the ways in which Western museums have represented and interpreted history and historical material.
You’ll also use contemporary theory to consider 20th-century museum practice and key questions around curatorship, museology and museum management. The role of the curator, funding and sponsorship and the display and interpretation of objects are among the topics you’ll cover.
Your core modules will give you the chance to apply your theoretical knowledge and gain practical skills. You’ll take part in an interpretation project in the University’s Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery, as well as completing a work placement in an external arts or heritage organisation.
All MA students in the School take two core modules which develop the research skills to complete research projects such as your essays and dissertation.
This will build to our unique MA Symposium in Semester 2, where you present some of your own research across interdisciplinary panels, and a dissertation which enables you to undertake research in a topic of interest to you.
If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.
You’ll be taught by leading researchers and experienced practitioners in their fields, and you’ll benefit from a range of teaching and learning methods. They include lectures and seminars, gallery and museum visits, as well as hands-on experience of specific collections in library sessions.
You’ll also learn from practical experience when you undertake your work placement, and a variety of external speakers will give you an insight into contemporary practice in the sector. Independent study is an important element of the degree, allowing you to develop your research and critical skills.
We use a range of assessment methods including essays, presentations, assignments and literature reviews among others, depending on the modules you choose.
Through a combination of theory and practice, the programme produces graduates who are able to develop professional careers in the museums and heritage sector whilst retaining a critical and reflexive eye on their own practice and that of the institutions in which they work.
It will equip you with a good understanding of the issues and approaches to art gallery and museum studies, as well as practical work experience – a combination which is very valuable to employers. You’ll also develop advanced skills in communication, research and analysis as well as cultural awareness.
Our graduates now work as heads of collection, curators and education staff in local authority museums, for national heritage organisations like the National Trust, charitable trusts and in arts marketing and public relations.
A significant number have also returned as research students and have secured scholarships to pursue their research topics, including Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) scholarships. Former research students are now forging academic careers in the UK, Canada and the US.
To get a flavour of the kinds of career trajectories our graduates have taken see the ‘news’ section of the Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage and the alumni pages of the School website.
The programme will deepen your knowledge and understanding of the history and theory of modern and contemporary art, and prepare you for further research and/or a range of careers in the art world.
The MSc combines academic study, including compulsory courses on Research, Theories & Methods and Cultures and Politics of Display alongside option courses on critical subjects and themes, with more practical, vocational elements, appropriate to studying in a major international art centre.
There is a mixture of group teaching, individual tutorials and supervision, and research seminars. You will be taught by research-active staff, including leading experts in their fields. You are also expected to undertake independent study and research.
Formal assessment is by means of academic essays, a dissertation, and project work where appropriate.
The optional internship involves learning by direct practical experience. The MSc is offered full-time or part-time.
Students will acquire knowledge and understanding in the field of modern and contemporary art, as well as transferable research skills. The programme offers the possibility of an internship in a museum or gallery.
The comprehensive nature of this programme, including the specialised courses it offers, will equip you for further research in this fascinating field, and perhaps an academic or curatorial career. In helping you gain vocational skills, experience and contacts, the optional internship can open doors to a career in a museum, gallery or other cultural institution.