MA/MFA Contemporary Curating

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Overview

MA/MFA Contemporary Curating explores the notion of exhibition practice in contemporary culture and considers curatorial methods and strategies in the context of the gallery and museum, as well as in projects such as biennials, public art works and commissions. The course considers ways in which different kinds of art works and projects are mediated through the exhibition process.

The shifting relationship between artist-institution-curator-critic/writer forms a central element to the course. The course also explores the potential of seeing curating as something that can be applied to different forms of knowledge: publications, symposia, events and interventions. 

Find out more about the course at www.art.mmu.ac.uk/ma-mfa-contemporarycurating

Features and Benefits

Career Prospects

The programme would be of interest to those planning to pursue a career in the museum and gallery sector, as well as those interested in related cultural work, such as arts administration, publishing and events organisation. The programme also provides a suitable grounding for further study at doctorate level.

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Entry requirements

You will normally have an undergraduate UK honours degree or international equivalent or a degree-equivalent postgraduate diploma or a professional qualification. Alternatively, you may be admitted if you can demonstrate appropriate knowledge and skills at honours degree standard. 

Course details

You will establish key theories and issues relating to Contemporary Curating, Design Cultures and Contemporary Visual Culture and then develop these into more complex approaches.

You will also be encouraged and supported to extend your experience in the professional sphere either through a practical project, research context, exchange, work experience, or other negotiated professional set of interactions with an external partner, groups of students and creative industry.  

Towards the end of the programme you will undertake a major project to consolidate your past research and practice into fully realised collections, pieces, proposals, business plans, or exhibitions – whatever means is appropriate to the work. You will also have developed a strategy for the continuation of your practice located and contextualised to the profession or discipline.

If you choose to progress to MFA Contemporary Curating award you will study a further two units of 60 credits each.

This award is focused on the continuation of your practice aligned to the research and selection of appropriate public or professional venues and platforms to disseminate a significant body of work. You will be required to produce work for a public audience in the most relevant and appropriate form along with any implicit publicity and dissemination material. 

The MA Contemporary Curating is made up of five units totalling 180 credits.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Professional Platforms

This unit extends your experience into the professional sphere, either through a practical project, research context, exchange, work experience or other negotiated professional set of interactions with an external partner, groups of students and creative industry. Projects and placements take place in a set network of art, design and media organisations in the region, but can also be arranged by individual students if based on similar frameworks of professional development and experience. The PDP also takes place in this unit.

Dissertation/Major Project

The unit is designed to support work towards the development and production of a piece of work that provides a central focus on to the practice (and related histories, of curating or Visual Culture.? The work will provide a synthesis and application of the research into visual or curatorial experiences from the earlier stages, in order to develop a substantial project which reflects on the theoretical, conceptual, contextual and practical elements necessary for contemporary cultural interpretation through written, curatorial or other practice.

Curatorial Models and Themes

Curatorial Models and Themes builds on to the work of the Curatorial Frameworks unit, as it moves from a consideration of frameworks and structures of museum/gallery operation, towards a more applied understanding of exhibition practice. In order to do this, part of the research/discussion will take place in the museum/gallery environment. The unit considers a range of approaches which might be useful in establishing an individual methodology. This will form the basis of the Exhibition/Project Outline and Literature Review.

Curatorial Frameworks

The Curatorial Frameworks unit sets the foundation for curatorial studies at postgraduate level. It consider the  development of the museum/gallery from its modern origins through to its more contemporary manifestations, exploring how the museum/gallery is structured and how curatorial roles work in relation to institutional and independent practices. After looking at collections and the archive, exhibition histories will then form a key element of the unit. There will be a consideration of the role they play in defining the work of contemporary artists, as well as an analysis of the curatorial process involved in developing thematic ideas.

Likely Optional Units

Health and Wellbeing

This unit focuses on public health and wellbeing with an emphasis on Inequalities; Prevention; Promotion and Protection. By building on the strong legacy of art/design in clinical environments, this unit will expand your understanding of theory and practice in the emerging public health agenda and through real-life research opportunities, will offer exploration of individual practice in diverse contexts: eg mental health, long-term conditions, healthy ageing and proactive wellbeing.

Object and Context

This unit will introduce you to notions, ideas, principles and practices concerning objects. A series of delivered lectures, seminars and workshops will discuss and explore the role of objects in design. It will enable the location of these ideas into individual or collaborative practice and give experience of individual and collaborative practice.

The Museum and the City - The City as a Museum

The unit explores the relationship between the museum and the city and the city as museum. Attention shifts between theoretical and historical models, as well as making use of specific locations and institutions within the city.

Negotiated Study

This unit offers you an individual focused opportunity to extend and enhance your practice by including a self-negotiated study. This will enable students to:

  •  Extend ideas and proposals developed in Practice 1
  • Facilitate a deeper level of learning in a particular workshop or subject discipline, or conceptual paradigm
  • Pursue an external project or competition brief appropriate to your practice.
Making Our Futures - Ecological Arts and Sustainable Design

This unit will address the future conceptually, tangibly and critically through ecological arts and sustainable design practices. Adopting a 'question-based learning' approach to 'real world' challenges, students will consider the potential to intervene into and re-invent social and cultural lifestyles, economics, technologies, and their impact on Climate Change, species extinction, natural resources depletion and diminishing civic services. How will we make our futures? How can arts and design promote resilience for adaptation?

Writing Research and Funding Proposals

An introduction to writing proposals to funding bodies such as the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Arts Council England (ACE).  This unit will cover such topics as: generating fundable ideas; developing critical and conceptual frameworks; establishing credible methodologies and approaches; awareness of the the parameters of the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership, AHRC and ACE; the importance of collaboration; working in groups, public engagement and impact; presenting ideas to the group, giving and receiving informed criticism; developing an effective writing style; structuring proposals and writing to length; writing a budget and the importance of cost-effectiveness and match-funding; time management; familiarity with Je-S.

Images and Archives

This unit explores theoretical, critical and practical perspectives on art, photography and the archive.

SciArt

You will learn about the interdisciplinary field of SciArt by developing a body of personal work that is technically proficient and intellectually resolved.

Digital Futures

This unit offers focused opportunity for students to extend and enhance their practice by including, exploring and developing digital content in a wider research community.

Contested Territories

This unit will address the contested nature of the conceptual and material territories upon which human identities and cultures are developed.

Commercial Aspects of Design

This unit includes topics such as market research and service design; consumer behaviour – needs and attitudes; diffusion of innovation; commercial aspects of product design including bringing product to market eg production and distribution channels, costing and pricing, and advertising and promotion.

The MFA Contemporary Curating continues with the following two units totalling 120 credits.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

MFA - Practice 3: Contextualising

This unit is centred on continuation of your practice aligned to the research and selection of appropriate public or professional venues or platforms with which to disseminate a significant body of work.  Through the unit you will be asked to approach, propose, negotiate and progress a plan for the dissemination of your body of work.

MFA - Practice 4: Realisation and Publication

This is the final unit towards an MFA award in which you are required to realise a significant body of work for a public audience in whatever form is most appropriate along with any implicit publicity and dissemination material. Work at this level is significantly self-determined and as such you will be asked to define and appraise your own learning outcomes through negotiation.

Assessment weightings and contact hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A Masters qualification typically comprises of 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits and an MFA 300 credits. The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:

Study
Assessment

Additional information about this course

There are variations to the standard University Assessment Regulations on this course. Progression on to the MFA requires at least a 50% pass of the 180 credits of MA units that constitute the first 180 credits of the MFA award. There are also limitations on re-sits in the MFA units. The MFA units are assessed as Pass or Fail and do not count towards the final MFA Award classification.

Placements options

Placements can be arranged as an optional element. 

Manchester School of Art

Our School of Art is the second oldest design school in Britain, offering courses designed to serve specialist industry needs and give students the tools for their chosen career.

Like the city of Manchester, the school prides itself on being creative, unconventional and professional, providing a broad range of architecture, art, design, media and theatre undergraduate and postgraduate courses in a unique creative environment that encourages creative collaboration across the disciplines.

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Taught by experts

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject.

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Fees

UK and EU students

UK and EU students: Full-time fee: £1542 per 30 credits per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

UK and EU students: Part-time fee: £1542 per 30 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU and Channel Island students

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £2750 per 30 credits per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Part-time fee: £2750 per 30 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A Masters qualification typically comprises 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits, and an MFA 300 credits. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of study provided the course is completed in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Part-time students may take a maximum of 90 credits each academic year.

Additional costs

Specialist Costs

Students follow an individualised programme of study in relation to their practice interests. Costs of materials will be dependant on the development of these personal practices and will vary dependant of materials necessary to realise ideas. There may also be some travel costs involved in pursuing personal lines of research. Students are not required to build a working toolbox from scratch, or to bring a camera or buy a laptop. The costs of materials may vary from expensive glass blowing to costless digital programming it depends on individual practice.

Placement Costs

The professional platforms unit may require some travel/subsistence costs should the student choose to take a placement that requires travel.

Professional Costs

There are no additional professional membership fees required for full qualification.

Other Costs

Some students may prefer to print and bind their written assessment material and would incur a cost of up to £100. Many students choose to submit written work and some portfolio work electronically at no cost.

Postgraduate Loan Scheme

Up to £10,609 available to students who live in England

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Alumni Loyalty Discount

Rewarding our graduates

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Want to know more?

How to apply

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Apply online now

If you are unable to apply online, you can apply for full- and part-time taught courses by completing the postgraduate application form. There are exceptions for some professional courses – the course information on our on-line prospectus will give you more information in these cases.

Please note: to apply for this course, you only need to provide one reference.

You can review our current Terms and Conditions before you make your application. If you are successful with your application, we will send you up to date information alongside your offer letter.

MANCHESTER IS YOUR CITY. BE PART OF IT.

Programme Review
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.

Important Notice
This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate. Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us to access the most up to date information for your chosen course of study.

Confirmation of Regulator
The Office for Students is the principal regulator for the University. For further information about their role please visit the Office for Students website. You can find out more about our courses including our approach to timetabling, course structures and assessment and feedback on our website.

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