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The award
MA

How long you will study
1 year

Domestic course fees
7600

How you will study
full-time

Course starts
October

International course fees
find out

All study options

About Curatorial Practice at Bath Spa University

Studying current theory and history, build your personal curatorial skills and thinking.

  • Taught by curators, working with a rich group of diverse partner organisations in the sector.
  • Combines contemporary practice with theory in a flexible approach.
  • Highlights the roles of audiences, collections and new contexts.

We focus on curating as a contemporary practice, bringing together history, theory and practice. We ask what is it that makes the role of the curator distinct, and how do we understand the essentials of curating, when it has become such a buzzword.

The course embraces contemporary curating in historic and collection-based settings as well as contemporary venues, digital, 'pop-up' and site specific contexts. It is delivered by experts in the field and working curators.

"With the academic understanding and support I received, I feel equipped with theoretical knowledge and confidence in practice to embark on a curatorial future."

Jessica Mathews (Graduated 2014)

What you'll learn

Overview

The course covers a wide range of curatorial approaches, from management of historical collections to creative curating of cutting edge contemporary art, craft and design. Our students come from a wide variety of backgrounds; we challenge you to develop your interests, while understanding what you share with others across our discipline.

Engagement and understanding audiences are central to curatorial practice. You'll develop experience in ways of sharing and presenting ideas throughout the course.

You'll study either in two modules per trimester (one year full-time) or one per trimester (two years part-time).

Modules

Research Methodologies
Introduces generic research methodologies and the ways subject specific material, analysis and evaluation techniques can be a vehicle for personal study. This is shared with other Masters programmes in the School of Art and Design, and so gives an opportunity to share ideas with artists, designers and curators from across disciplines.

The Role of the Curator
Considers the changing role of the curator, the 'politics' of curating and real-world issues through first hand contact with working curators in our region and beyond. It addresses developments in critical theory and their impact on curatorial practices such as representing communities, ethnicities, gender issues, 'interventions', gallery learning, the 'post-museum' and curating in the public realm.

Collections and Collecting
Considers the nature of collecting and the influence of collecting on curatorial practice. We assess the way collections act as a 'ground' for new work by artists, makers and in specialist creative project work, as well as traditional interpretation. You can study private collectors, the transition of 'private' to 'public', and the process of defining objects as 'collectible'. It covers material culture, collecting the digital, oral history and its methods, research in archiving and management of historical and contemporary collections. 

Reaching Audiences
The module allows you to present or study a live project to a real audience. You'll study current discourse around engagement, participation and learning, and link this to exploring how curatorial practices reach audiences.  

Master's Project
The Master's Project can be either text or practice based. It accommodates a variety of approaches for assessment, that can include the traditional written dissertation, the study of historical or archival case studies, curating an exhibition or project in a venue, or forms of digital production, the construction of a museum or gallery specific web site. Many long studies come from the student's own practice, and can be used to broaden or reflect upon work-place or voluntary experience.

How will I be assessed?

Project based work can be developed and assessed as part of the course. Real life projects can be pursued in response to assessment assignments, especially in relation to the final 'Master's Project' double module.

We assess:

  • Your ability to deal with complex issues in the area of curatorial practice history, theory and context, effectively employing skill in analysis and synthesis as necessary.
  • Your ability to independently plan and implement research activities in the subject fields of curatorial practice, demonstrating professionalism, self-direction and originality.
  • Your ability to effectively propose and curate exhibitions, drawing on research and understanding.
  • Your ability to initiate and contribute to debate and discussion in relation to curatorial practice.
  • Your capacity to advance knowledge, learning and skills in the subject fields of curatorial practice.

How will I be taught?

You'll be taught in seminars, complemented with field visits to key venues facilitated by lead curators. We adopt a practice-led approach; while some sessions are delivered by our academics, others are delivered by our collaborators and relate to particular case studies or collections.

You'll frequently link your study to internships, volunteering and project work.

Opportunities

Study in current working galleries, museums and venues

You'll benefit from opportunities to visit, study and work through well-established relationships with a range of museums, galleries and contemporary art organisations of national and international significance.

We work with colleagues in the wide range of organisations in the city of Bath itself, in nearby cities such as Bristol and Cardiff, and in the major institutions beyond. This ensures you can explore a unique range of organisational contexts in which collecting and curating are sited.

Our links include:

  • the Holburne Museum;
  • a wide range of artist-run venues and civic museums in Bath;
  • Arnolfini and Spike Island;
  • Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery;
  • Hauser & Wirth Somerset;
  • Salisbury Arts Centre; and
  • National Museum Wales' sites in Cardiff.

Volunteer and internship placement opportunities

We encourage you to work or volunteer, giving you flexibility to find an area related to the course that suits you. We'll advise you on the current range of internships and volunteer roles on offer in organisations across the region, as well as using our professional networks to put you in touch with the right people and organisations.

Recent projects have seen students work in pop-up venues and social contexts, the Venice Biennale, charity auctions, national open submission shows, and touring exhibitions.

Careers

Recent graduates have found work in:

  • Curatorial work in museums and galleries;
  • Galleries/arts administration;
  • Self-employed freelance curatorial work and consultancy;
  • Publishing and media work;
  • Education, gallery and museum learning and teaching;
  • General project management outside the visual arts and museums;
  • Critical writing; and
  • Academic study and teaching.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

The course is taught at the Sion Hill and Corsham Court campuses and in the Palace Yard Mews University building. However, much of the course occurs in the galleries, museums, venues we visit.

We have access to the Sion Hill campus exhibiting space, which you can use for your own projects or course work.

Study options for this course

  • The award How you will study How long you will study Course starts Domestic course fees International course fees
  • The awardMAHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study1 year
    Course startsOctoberDomestic course fees 7600International course fees find out
  • The awardMAHow you will studyPart-timeHow long you will study2 years
    Course startsOctoberDomestic course fees 7600International course fees find out
  • The awardPG CertHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study1 trimester
    Course startsOctoberDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out
  • The awardPG CertHow you will studyPart-timeHow long you will study2 trimester
    Course startsOctoberDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out
  • The awardPG DipHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study2 trimester
    Course startsOctoberDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out
  • The awardPG DipHow you will studyPart-timeHow long you will study4 trimester
    Course startsOctoberDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out

Notes about fees for this course

Fees

UK and EU students full time

Course fees

2018/19 entry 7,600 2019/20 entry Published Jan 2019 2020/21 entry Published Jan 2020

UK and EU students part time

Fees shown below are for part time study over two years, although some courses may be available over longer periods.

2018/19 Entry

Course fees

Year 1 £3,800 Year 2 Published Jan 2019

2019/20 Entry

Course fees

Year 1 Published Jan 2019 Year 2 Published Jan 2020

2020/21 Entry

Course fees

Year 1 Published Jan 2020 Year 2 Published Jan 2021

International students full time

Course fees

2018/19 entry £14,500 2019/20 entry Published Jan 2019 2020/21 entry Published Jan 2020

Entry requirements

What we look for in potential students

We normally accept individuals with a good first degree (2:1 or above) in a relevant subject. However, you can apply without such a qualification if your personal and professional experience shows a high level of commitment and understanding in a relevant field.

We want you to be able to succeed in and enjoy the course, and be able to be a contributor to a busy, diverse, active and engaged group of your peers.

If English is not your first language and you are not fluent in spoken and written English we require a minimum language certificate of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent.

What students think about Bath Spa University

    Yasmina Van De Peer, BA (Hons) English Literature and Film Studies, Spain

    Where to start with this year? There have been so many new friends, a new life-style with freedom and no muYasmina Van De Peerm bossing me around. My year has not been easy but I would do it all again, life challenges you in many ways and this experience definitively has.

    When I arrived in September, I felt like a lost girl trying to find something that I could grasp and change my life forever. My first year in a foreign country was fantastic and thanks to the creative writing department, I will never forget my second year as I have the privilege of studying in Chicago for a full academic year! However, this has no real connection with why I chose Bath Spa University.

    I worked as an ambassador for this University and a lot parents have asked the same question, why did I choose it? After 50 parents it gets tiring- especially when I was unsure. As everyone else I want to succeed in life. I have dreamt about going to Oxford, Harvard or any well known University. But the one thing that I have learnt in life is that you can be successful and come from the smallest place in the world. The key to success requires determination to reach your goal.

    Bath Spa just felt right and it allowed me to combine my subjects [English Literature and Film Studies], be myself and it also has an inspiring and picturesque scenery. For me it was perfect.

    Johannes Gerdes, BA Business and Management, Germany

    I chose BA Business and Management as I have always been inspired by my dad who runs a world leading business. The opportunity to work for him during holidays gave me a chance to look inside a company and to experience what management, leadership and communication is all about. I wanted to widen my knowledge and hence started my Business & Management career here at Bath Spa.
    My parents always wanted to give me the opportunity to study abroad. My old school, near Bristol, where I stayed as a boarding student for the last two years, helped me to discover where most of my interests lie. In addition, friends of mine started studying here at Bath Spa.

    I would describe Bath Spa in three words as: Cultural, Wonderful, Friendly.

    In the future I hope I will be working together with my dad and widen the market to countries which haven't been discovered yet.


    Don't be afraid of university life. University is the best time in your life. You meet so many new people from different nationalities and all come together! You will settle down easily. You make friends so fast and there is always someone around to help you! Even language barriers can be fixed with a perfect Writing and Learning Centre [the English Language Unit (ELU) is also available for all international students to access where English is not their first language] here at Bath Spa. Come to Bath and experience the whole range of activities they offer and be open to new things!

    Nassos Polyzoidis, MMus Songwriting, Greece

    Even though I live in Greece, I'm familiar with many British Universities, as I work for some English Examination Boards for Music and I've attended some Summer Schools in UK over the years. Bath Spa University's reputation in Songwriting and Commercial Music was known to me for a long time. Being a guitarist and working for the RGT at the same time, I have heard stories about Bath being the birthplace of guitar magazines and other music and artistic events. I was accepted to study Commercial Music as an undergraduate student about 4 years ago, but due to some sudden accidents I have to decline my offer. After this unfortunate event, I decided to become better Musician and Songwriter, so that I can return as a postgraduate applicant. When I noticed that there was a distance learning degree, MMus Songwriting, I knew I had to do this. Meanwhile, I did my research, which only lead me to ensure my initial decision to study at Bath Spa University.


    I was attracted to this course as I was already familiar with Bath Spa University's reputation in this field. In addition to that, Songwriting isn't taught in my home county at all. I knew that only few Institutes offer Songwriting as a postgraduate degree, so I did my research over the last 3 years. During this time, I was only ensuring myself that I have to apply for this course. I really want to become a successful songwriter, and also, probably one of the first songwriting teachers in Greece, so I know that this course is best for me. I knew that the course will help me become more confident and enhance my professional skills in the field. Finally, being mainly inspired by British Songwriters, it was really important that my songwriting skills would develop a lot lyrically, which can help me open the door to an international market.


    I would describe Bath Spa University in three words as: Innovative, modern, artistic.


    Once I have my degree, I am really hoping to become a successful songwriter. Being inspired mainly by British Songwriters, I would really like to write songs for the UK and international market. In addition, I will probably become one of the first songwriting teachers in Greece. Last, but not least, as I'm already collaborating with several English musicians, I'm considering in my future plans to apply for a PhD and probably seek for more collaborations in UK, which might extend my visits there.


    My advice I would you give to other international students who want to study in the UK would depend on the ethics and societal context of each county. So, a general advice I would give is "Do not be afraid of failure, do your best and apply to the courses that you really like!"

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