MA Curating & Collections

Location: Chelsea
Start date: October 2017
Course length: 1 year

MA Curating and Collections at Chelsea College of Arts focuses on developing the skills needed to curate a range of art and design objects within the context of public and private collections.

You will work alongside the established curatorial team at Chelsea Space, our on-site gallery. You will handle a range of collections held by UAL, which will help you explore current debates and practices in curating.

The UAL collections include Chelsea's Special Collections, which have a strong emphasis on modern and contemporary art and design, Camberwell's ILEA collection of ceramics and glassware and Central Saint Martins' Museum and Study Collection, which includes early printed books, prints, illuminated manuscripts, embroideries, 1920s German film posters, textiles and garments.

Watch the course video

Dr David Dibosa and Donald Smith talk about MA Curating and Collections at Chelsea.

Fees & Funding

Home / EU£8,500 per year

International£17,920 per year

Scholarships4 available

Find out more about fees and funding

Content & Structure

What students can expect

  • Practical skills to sit alongside critical reflection that will help you develop a balanced approach to curatorial methods
  • A course that focuses on working with contemporary and historic collections, exhibition design, concept development, marketing, press releases and budgeting
  • To explore current critical debates, keeping up to date on issues such as participation, the artist-curator dynamic and thinking about the public realm
  • Our curatorial team at Chelsea Space to provide training within an active and supportive curatorial environment, engaging you with the best examples of contemporary practice
  • To have access to the Chelsea library Special Collections, which have a strong emphasis on modern and contemporary art and design
  • To handle a range of collections held by the UAL, including Camberwell's ILEA collection of ceramics and glassware and Central Saint Martins' Museum and Study Collection


  • Phase 1: Analysis of curatorial practices
  • Phase 2: Methods of curatorial display
  • Phase 3: Enacting curatorial strategies

Throughout the three assessed units of the course, you will study in the following ways:

  • Exhibition studio workshop: practical sessions focusing on exhibition-making
  • Curatorial studies: ‘think-tank’ sessions focusing on historical and theoretical framing of curatorial practice
  • Collections visits: engagement with museums, events, exhibitions and displays
  • Lecture programme: lectures from professors, readers and other invited speakers

During the course, you will participate in individual and group tutorials developing your skills through the taught sessions alongside the professional practice activity with staff at Chelsea Space. Individual research will be guided to help you make the most of the Special Collections, as well as, library and learning resources across UAL.

Download the programme specification to find out more about what you'll learn. 

MA Curating and Collections Programme Specification (PDF - 356 KB)

Learning and teaching methods

  • Collaborative work with peers
  • Gallery, museum and other visits
  • Presentations and crits
  • Research topic groups
  • Self-directed study and research
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Visiting artist and practitioner talks and tutorials

Assessments methods

  • Critical writing
  • Presentations
  • Project portfolios


Dr David Dibosa - Course Leader

Dr. David Dibosa is co-author of Post-Critical Museology: Theory and Practice in the Art Museum (Routledge, 2013). He trained as a curator, after receiving his first degree from Girton College, Cambridge. 

He was awarded his PhD in Art History from Goldsmiths, University of London, for a thesis titled, Reclaiming Remembrance: Art, Shame and Commemoration. 

During the 1990s, he curated public art projects, including In Sight In View, a billboard project in Birmingham, England, as well as a sculpture park in the West Midlands. From 2004-2008, he was Senior Lecturer in Fine Art Theory at Wimbledon College of Arts.

View Dr David Dibosa's research profile

Donald Smith - Director of Exhibitions, Chelsea Space

Chelsea Space is a public exhibition space at Chelsea College of Arts where invited art and design professionals are encouraged to work on experimental curatorial projects. Smith has programmed over 50 exhibitions in Chelsea Space's ten year history. He is also a practicing artist.

Find out more about Chelsea Space

Lynton Talbot - Lecturer

Lynton Talbot is an independent curator based in London, working collaboratively with Hana Noorali. 

Together they have started project spaces in both London and Berlin and curated over 30 exhibitions in commercial galleries, public institutions and project spaces across London and internationally.

Most recently, ‘DM/1978 Talks to DM/2010’ was staged at Chelsea Space, London in April 2016 and ‘The boys the girls and the political’, an exhibition of 10 international, emerging artists at Lisson Gallery, London in July 2015. 

Talbot studied Fine Art at undergraduate level at Chelsea College of Arts and later Architecture and the Built Environment at The University of Westminster.

He is a PhD student and researcher at Chelsea, working towards a thesis that examines the possibility of the curator as an autonomous cultural producer. 

He is a regular contributor to Art Monthly and Art Review and has published essays in exhibition catalogues and artist monographs.

Talbot has developed and taught seminars at The School of the Damned, The Architectural Association and for the Graduate Diploma in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Arts. He has also delivered short courses for UAL on The Art Market, Art Handling and Curating Contemporary Art in London and in the Middle East. 

Fees & Funding

Home / EU fee

£8,500 (2017/18).

International fee

£17,920 (2017/18).

Course fees may be paid in instalments.

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.


Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.

Scholarships search

How to apply

All applicants can apply for this course using our online application form.


Home / EU deadline

Monday 31 July 2017.

International deadline

There is no deadline for international applications, but students are advised to apply as early as possible.

Further information about the application process

You will need to enter the following information in the online application form:

  • Personal details
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history

Once you have submitted the form you will receive a confirmation email.

You will be emailed a link to our online application tool, where you should submit the extra information we require for the selection process:

  • Personal statement
  • Study plan

The course leader will review your work, may invite you to interview, and will then make a decision on your application.

Please note:

We will send you emails throughout the application process that will contain important information about your application. Please check your inbox.

We will contact you separately to ask for copies of certain documents. For example, your English language certificate and copies of any previous UK study visas.

Entry requirements

  • BA (Hons) degree in a related subject or equivalent academic qualifications
  • Personal statement
  • Study plan

If English isn’t your first language

All classes are taught in English. If English isn't your first language you must provide evidence at enrolment of the following:

Personal statement

This should be about 500 words long and include:

  • Your reasons for choosing the course
  • Your current creative practice and how this will help with your future plans
  • If you do not have any formal academic qualifications please describe your relevant education and experience

Study Plan

The study plan is a statement of approximately 800 words describing your current practice and an opportunity for you to explore potential areas that you want to develop in your studies. 

The plan is the starting point for discussions about your postgraduate studies and will evolve during the time you study with us.

When writing your plan you are not expected to have complete answers to all the questions. 

However, you should be able to:

  • Examine your knowledge and experience in relation to your practice
  • Identify questions and areas that you do not know about
  • Demonstrate how you may intend to tackle these questions and areas

How to structure a study plan

You should include links to referenced text or images where appropriate. 

Each of the following sections should be approximately 200 words.


  • Briefly describe your work
  • Outline recent developments
  • Identify those aspects you would like to take further at postgraduate level


Describe specific areas, issues and critical ideas that are central to your area of interest.


How will you go about exploring your area of interest?  

Are there particular methods you will use? For example - drawing, model making, photography.


Are there resources or equipment that you need to access in order for you to successfully engage in your research?

What we look for

  • The ambition and commitment to develop and challenge work in curation and collections at Master level
  • An awareness of current debates and practices in curation and collections
  • The potential to devise and develop a self-directed programme of curatorial practice and related research
  • The ability to analyse and evaluate in both visual and oral terms
  • The ability to develop and contextualise work in written form
  • An eagerness to engage in the critical debate surrounding contemporary and historical practices as well as to develop a critical framework for their practice
  • The potential to develop a range of skills and competencies to a professional level

Successful applicants will be invited to attend an interview.

Deferred entry

This course will give consideration to deferred entry application.

Career paths

Many MA Curating and Collections graduates go on to work as curators either, independently or within galleries, museums or other art and design organisations.

Some of our course alumni develop public programmes, while others choose further study and research exhibitionary practice and typically focus on collections research, exhibitions history and curatorial practice.

MA Curating and Collections at Chelsea provides students with the critical, historical and contextual studies needed to advance their careers.


  • Daisy McMullan - graduated in 2012. Received the Ashley Family Foundation Research Fellowship at Chelsea Space. Works at Camberwell Space
  • Doro Globus - graduated in 2008. Works at the publishers Ridinghouse