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Curating Contemporary Design (in partnership with the Design Museum) (MA)

Run jointly with the Design Museum, London this course is taught by leading curators and designers within the field. Through its projects at the Design Museum and with prestigious cultural organisations, including the British Council, Architecture Foundation, British Museum and the V&A, the course gives you the opportunity to curate live projects and build your own professional profile.

The Kingston School of Art environment, which includes the Stanley Picker Gallery, Dorich House Museum and outstanding workshop facilities, encourages creativity and experimentation as responses to interrogations of contemporary conditions and concerns.

This course is unique; it is both research and practice-led in the field of curatorial studies. The course has taught aspiring curators for more than 15 years and is widely recognised as a pioneer of its kind, leading the new discipline of design curation. Graduates have pursued successful careers in museums, galleries and cultural organisations around the world and the course has developed an extensive international network of curators.

This degree is taught in the Department of Creative and Cultural Industries, part of Kingston School of Art.

Key features

  • Professional practice modules at the Design Museum underpin modules on the history and theory of curating and design taught at Kingston School of Art.
  • A strong focus of the course is on project work with project briefs set by leading curators and designers which can be experimental or address real world issues. The projects are designed to develop skills in research, analysis, experimentation, communication and presentation to peers, tutors, industry and collaborative partners.
  • The partnership with the Design Museum offers access to inspiring curators and experienced museum staff and also to the Design Museum's collections, library, archives and a changing programme of exhibitions and events.
  • Study visits throughout the year bring you in contact with design and curatorial studio practice, museums, galleries and alternative curatorial spaces and format. Students can also participate in an optional international study trip; previously students have visited New York, Berlin and Amsterdam.
  • The art school context provides students with direct contact to contemporary designers, artists and architects and encourages interdisciplinary collaborations. These have previously included Sustainable Design, Fashion, Art and Design History, Art Market and Appraisal.
  • Our outstanding workshops are accessible to all students. Collaborations with the Stanley Picker Gallery and Dorich House Museum allow for experimentation with curatorial formats, media and techniques.

Guest speakers in recent years have included:

  • Simon Andrews (Christies)
  • Marloes van Bhomer
  • Annabella Campbell (Crafts Council)
  • Oriole Cullen (V&A)
  • Niamh Dillon (British Library) 
  • Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg 
  • El Ultimo Grito
  • Edwin Heathcote (Financial Times)
  • Matylda Krzykowski (Depot Basel)
  • Onkar Kular
  • Olivia Oldroyd (V&A)
  • Mariana Pestara (V&A)
  • Lucia Pietroiusti (Serpentine Gallery)
  • Libby Sellers
  • Jane Withers.

What will you study?

Through a rigorous and critical framework and practical experience you will engage with contemporary design and curatorial practice, its history, theory and discourse. You will be equipped with the creative and practical skills necessary to curate design exhibitions and events including devising exhibition briefs, researching and selecting exhibits and curating learning and public programmes. This is combined with an historical and theoretical framework interrogating the object, collection and display of design in museums and the expanded field.

At the end of each year, students will work on a live project, which will allow you to gain first hand curatorial experience and develop practical skills. 

The dissertation and/or project provides an opportunity to work independently to realise a body of work which demonstrates an original and creative approach in the field of design curation. It supports the development of professional practice or has the potential to be developed for research at higher degree level.

A carefully composed curating visits programme runs alongside the main teaching programme and includes visits to exhibitions, studios and other sites of design or curatorial practice.


Visit the Curating Contemporary Design (in partnership with the Design Museum) (MA) page on the Kingston University website for more details!

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