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University of Birmingham Masters Degrees in Curatorial Studies

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Are you fascinated by visual culture and exhibition practice?. Do you want to pursue a career in the gallery and arts sectors? . Read more

Are you fascinated by visual culture and exhibition practice?

Do you want to pursue a career in the gallery and arts sectors? 

The MA in Art History and Curating is one of the few postgraduate programmes in the country that offers you the opportunity to work in a team with academic and museum professionals to curate an art exhibition in a public gallery. This will take place in the Barber Institute of Fine Arts on campus or at Grand Union in Birmingham city centre. 

We are also delighted to announce a new partnership with Royal Collection Trust. Students co-curating the exhibition at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts will have the exceptional opportunity of working with objects from the Royal Collection.

Please note: Places on this programme are limited due to the placement and curatorial experience, so early applications are encouraged and deadlines apply. See 'How to apply' in course details for more information.

Course details

This unique programme enables you to develop the knowledge and skills to conduct original research into art objects, to understand at first hand the history, theory and contemporary practice of their curation, to co-curate a public art exhibition and complete a 15,000-word dissertation.

The core components of the programme include the double module ‘Curatorial Practices’ that provides you with a range of skills to curate an exhibition and the opportunity to put those skills into practice, and two single modules, 'Postgraduate Research Training and Methods,' which will help you to develop essential research skills, and 'Criticism and Methods in the History of Art and Visual Culture,' which provides a theoretical foundation for your studies.

The programme also offers you the flexibility to select a further two options from a range of complementary practical, theoretical and historical modules. These include: a placement with a local gallery or other arts organisation set up on your behalf; the history and theory of exhibitions; aesthetics and the philosophy of art. As a result, this unique programme will provide you with the knowledge, experience and employability skills invaluable to the museum, commercial and academic sectors whilst enabling you to establish professional networks in both.

Assessment

Your modules will be assessed by a range of written and oral assessments. You will also complete a 15,000-word dissertation, supported through one-to-one tutorials with your academic supervisor. Your dissertation topic is chosen by you, with close guidance from academic staff. Recent subjects have included topics relating to art history and/or gallery practices, such as: art forgery; art interpretation; art dealers; films and aesthetic theory; art historiography; artist and exhibition case studies; fashion plates and art journals. 

Learning and teaching

The teaching on the MA programme mainly takes place in the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, which houses the Barber Institute Gallery, and is used by members of staff on a regular basis as part of your learning.

The Gallery features an excellent and representative collection of post-medieval European art, including paintings, engravings and drawings by artists such as Rembrandt, Turner, Van Dyck, Veronese and Vigée-LeBrun, as well as a major collection of 19th- and 20th-century works by artists such as Degas, Gauguin, Käthe Kollwitz, George Grosz, Manet, Miró, Picasso and Whistler.

The Barber Institute is home to an on-site research library which, in conjunction with the holdings of the University Main Library and the Special Collections of the Cadbury Research Library, makes Birmingham one of the best resourced Departments of History of Art in Britain.

Support with academic writing

As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.

International students can access support for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).



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