The first year combines learning through practical experience with historical, theoretical and critical reflection. Students work on various exhibition projects, and research and write two essays. They also undertake a number of study trips.
Practical Projects Students work on a portfolio of practical exhibition projects. Projects offered in the past have included: curation of a week-long artists’ retreat at Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridgeshire; curation of a section of CCA’s exhibition as part of the Goethe Institute Cultural Project Europea n; curation of a project at ACME Project Space, London Teaching Blocks The programme is structured around a series of intensive taught thematic teaching blocks. Recent teaching blocks have included: What is a Curator?; Performance; Art and the Public Domain; Moving Image; Coloniality; Exhibition/Audience. Block teaching is provided by programme staff and practising professionals, including curators, artists and critics. Courses In parallel with the teaching blocks and practical projects, a series of seminar-based and workshop-based courses led by programme staff run throughout the first year: 'Curatorial Practice' comprises a range of collaboratively realised curatorial projects. Participation in these projects is designed to equip you with the knowledge and understanding as well as the practical skills that you will need to curate exhibitions in a variety of contexts (commercial, institutional, etc.) and with a range of content (collections, film and video etc.) It involves active, practice-based thinking about ways in which exhibitions shape cultural history and enter curatorial discourse.
Critical Theory is designed to introduce and discuss critical concepts and theories of art and culture relevant to the production, consumption and interpretation and understanding of contemporary art.
Writing for Curators aims to equip students with three distinct skills related to writing: to develop a personal writing style; to write in the ‘range’ of voices required of curators and construct appropriate texts and documents; and to produce academic writing appropriate to MA level. The course is designed to complement the various real and hypothetical curatorial projects which students work on in the first year, as well as preparing them to produce a final dissertation in their second year. Each session is focused around a separate exercise in reading, writing or text analysis.
Study in the second year is largely student-led and individuals are encouraged to develop and deepen their own research interests. Each student is required to produce a 6–10,000 word dissertation on a subject of their own choosing. This is submitted in draft form at the end of the summer break between the first and second year, for final assessment in the second year. As part of their second year work, students will realise a major exhibition project. In previous years, CCA has mounted successful exhibitions in the public gallery spaces of RCA, as well as collaborated with key art venues across London. The CCA programme affords the opportunity for students to work in a professional capacity as curators, utilising the gallery spaces of the College, as well as collaborating with art venues and partners in the public presentation of their work.