• CollegeCSM
  • Start dateSeptember 2018
  • Course length3 years
  • UCAS codeW294

BA (Hons) Culture, Criticism and Curation

With a focus spanning art, design, architecture, fashion, film, performance, literature and media, BA Culture, Criticism and Curation equips you for work in galleries, museums and collections, TV, radio and new media, theatre and cinema, teaching, and arts and events management.

This course is part of the Culture and Enterprise Programme.

Great reasons to apply

  • Students produce academic and journalistic writing, and take part in practical projects to form a unique learning experience that places critical thinking, research, intellectual rigour and creative problem solving at its core.
  • The course is delivered by cultural historians, journalists, film makers, curators, arts market professionals and designers.
  • We maintain active collaborations with key cultural institutions and venues including National Trust, The Foundling Museum and 198 Gallery.
  • University of the Arts London is in the top 30 in UK’s latest higher education research audit. We rank among the top research universities with 83% of our research graded as world leading and internationally excellent, following the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF 2014)
  • UAL is in the top 30 UK research institutions for the quality of research submitted. It is a top 5 research university in its broader peer group and first in the Power ranking in the Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory category
  • BA Culture, Criticism and Curation alumni have gone on to further studies at Pratt, Columbia, New York University, Sotheby's, Courtauld and University College London, amongst others. Other alumni have gained jobs at British Film Institute, Emin International, Gagosian, BlainSouthern, Frieze Art Fair, V&A, Tate Modern and more.

 

BA Culture, Criticism and Curation students discuss the value of arts education

Giulia and Håkon discuss studying on BA Culture, Criticism and Curation

BA Culture, Criticism and Curation students discuss the creation of their Degree Show 2016 project 'Crit Lounge'

<b>Shelley Asquith, BA Culture, Criticism and Curation alum</b>

I never expected to be offered a place somewhere as prestigious as Central Saint Martins, but the application process was straightforward, based more on a portfolio or work and interview than exam results.

Shelley Asquith, BA Culture, Criticism and Curation alum

Course catalogues

Course detail

BA (Honours) Culture, Criticism and Curation is part of the Culture and Enterprise programme. It gives students a multi-disciplinary, humanities-based degree scheme with wide-ranging content that spans the history and theory of art, design, architecture, fashion, film, popular culture, performance, media and literature.

BA (Honours) Culture, Criticism and Curation proposes that ‘culture’ – an intentionally broad and contested term – is a provocative starting point for practices of criticism and curation. Critical thinking, research, intellectual rigour, communication and creative problem-solving are at the core of the course, underpinning all written assignments, presentations and projects.

Criticism relates to critical writing on the history and theory of arts criticism, and the critical thinking that is at the heart of cultural practices. Critical writing and thinking are key skills that will develop students’ futures as organisers of, or commentators on, the arts. This element of the course can develop skills for those wishing to become cultural writers or commentators.

Curation refers to specific skills and knowledge required to ‘curate’ exhibitions, such as historical research or the contextualisation of art practice. It also includes the broader meaning of curating as applied to arts events planning, from organising film festivals to local street events. It links to both critical writing and to communication, encouraging students to consider how to communicate narratives and ideas to their audiences, when curating exhibitions or planning public events.

The course is designed to develop students’ individual pathway out into the world, and it takes advantage of its location in an art school, which puts the development of the student’s personal identity and independence at the centre of teaching and learning.

BA Culture, Criticism and Curation runs for 90 weeks full time over three years, and is divided into three Levels, (or Stages) each lasting 30 weeks. The whole course is credit-rated at 360 credits, with 120 credits at each Level.

Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications the Levels for a BA are: level four (which is stage one of the course), level five (stage two) and level six (stage three).

There's a progression point at the end of each Level and, in order to progress, all units of the preceding Level must normally have been passed.

If you're unable to continue on the course, a Certificate of Higher Education (Cert HE) will normally be offered following the successful completion of level four, or a Diploma in Higher Education following the successful completion of level five.

To gain a BA (Honours), students must successfully complete 360 credits. The final award consists of marks from Level 6 units only, weighted according to their credits.

Course outline

BA Culture, Criticism and Curation has three distinct stages (years). Each stage consists of three 10-week terms. Knowledge and skills, history and theory are the threads running through the course.

Stage One provides a foundation in the histories and theories of culture from the late 18th century to the present day. It also offers an introduction to skills appropriate for the course including journalistic and academic writing, library research skills, group presentations in collaborative curatorial work, and appropriate digital technologies.

An important function of this stage is to encourage students to begin to research, explore and develop their individual strengths and approaches to their subject interest. Students study together as a whole class and in smaller seminar groups. Working collaboratively is a feature of all three stages of the course, to enhance bonding, trust and teamwork, and to adequately prepare students for the workplace.

Stage Two continues to explore the practices of BA (Honours) Culture, Criticism and Curation; students will also begin to develop a variety of approaches, demanding individual and experimental responses as they work on extended pieces of academic research and writing. Through a combination of seminars, lectures, personal research, independent study and team projects, students will explore the breadth of the subject and develop their individual talents in relation to it. Students have an opportunity to study a chosen subject in depth with students from the final year, and begin work on their dissertation.

Stage 3 is mostly organised in workshop and tutorial formats to support predominantly self-directed student learning. The focus is on the further development of independent working as students undertake their dissertation and final year project. They will also engage in further formal study of a chosen topic and work collaboratively with the whole year group towards the degree show, which is a major opportunity to curate an exhibition. The final year project and the degree show provide opportunities to respond to real project briefs, with the potential of connecting up with cultural and arts organisations.

Personal and professional development activities take place in all three stages of the course and aim to improve your capacity to understand what and how you are learning, and to help you to review, plan and take responsibility for your own learning. A considerable number of the skills learned in the academic context offer students transferable skills that are highly valued by employers.

For more information on the unit structure please consult the programme specifications by following the link below:

BA Culture Criticism and Curation Programme Specification 2018/19 (PDF, 521KB)

External Partnerships

Working with cultural organisations on live briefs will give you valuable curatorial and project planning experience. In recent years, students have worked on creative briefs provided by a wide range of organisations, including National Trust, Soane Museum, Zabludowicz Collection and 198 Gallery. Recent projects have been with Paintings in Hospitals (‘Art in Large Doses’) and the Foundling Museum.
 
By responding to live briefs, students gain experience of carrying out curatorial research, developing ways to fund, promote and publicise their project, and planning technical requirements. Project briefs can sometimes result in students’ work being taken forward for production, which can be a valuable first step in working professionally in a chosen discipline.

Staff

Course Leader: Dr Michaela Giebelhausen
Stage (1) Leader: TBC
Stage (2) Leader: Dr Diane Silverthorne
Stage (3) Tutor: Andrew Marsh
Senior Lecturer: Dr Alison Green
Professor of Popular Culture: Prof. Roger Sabin
Professor of Cultural History:Caroline Dakers
Associate Lecturer and Unit Leader: Dr Natasha Adamou
Associate Lecturer: Ben Bethell
Associate Lecturer: Mary Cork
Associate Lecturer: Louise Garrett
Associate Lecturer: Simon Hollington
Associate Lecturer: Nathalie Khan
Associate Lecturer: Nick Kimberley
Associate Lecturer: John Miers
Associate Lecturer: Harry Meadows
Associate Lecturer: Colin Perry
Associate Lecturer: Bill Risebero
Associate Lecturer: Lindsey Moore
Associate Lecturer: Alice Holmberg
Associate Lecturer: Jona Piehl
Associate Lecturer: Stephanie Dieckvoss



How to apply

When to apply

The UCAS deadline for all applications (Home, EU and International) is 15 January 2018.

Please note that not all courses are able to consider late applications. Applicants may only change their course choice within 14 days of submitting an application. Any changes made to your application after 15 January 2018 will result in the application being marked as late.

Applying and how your application is considered

You will need to apply through the UCAS online application system.

Go to ‘Apply’ from the UCAS homepage, where you will be able to register and create a password that gives you unique access as you complete your online application form. Central Saint Martins (CSM) courses are listed under University of the Arts London.

  • University code: U65
  • Course code: W294
  • There is no 'campus code' for CSM
  • This course does not accept Year 3 Entry.

After you have successfully submitted your application online, you will receive an email confirming your application and providing your login details for the UAL Applicant Portal.  Please do log into your applicant portal as this is where we will send you important updates and requests, as well as allowing you to contact us with any questions you may have about your application.

What happens next

If you meet the entry requirements you will be invited to submit 3 written pieces of work:

  • A humanities-based essay of no more than 2000 words already written from a previous or current course (A-Level history, literature etc)
  • 500 words on why you wish to study this course saying why you think the course is right for you and what differences might there be between study in a college of art and design like CSM and a 'traditional' university.
  • A short piece: 'Describe in 500 words a cultural project that you have done or would like to do. This can be supplemented with images or any kind of media.' 

Following a review on your written work, you will either be invited for an interview or your application will be rejected via UCAS Track.

Interview

You will only be invited to attend an interview if you have been successful with the review of your written work.

  • If you currently live in the United Kingdom, you will be invited attend an interview at the college normally taking place between February and March.
  • If you are unable to attend the interview in person, you will be asked to attend an interview via Skype.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the outcome of your application through UCAS track and UAL Applicant Portal.

Deferred entry

Please note that CSM does not accept application for deferred entry. 

When to apply

The UCAS deadline for all applications (Home, EU and International) is 15 January 2018.

Applicants may only change their course choice within 14 days of submitting an application. Any changes made to your application after 15 January 2018 will result in the application being marked as late.

Please note that some courses will continue accepting late applications after the above deadline, subject to spaces available on the course. We recommend you apply by the end of March at the very latest to avoid disappointment.

Applying and how your application is considered

There are three ways international students can apply to an undergraduate course at CSM: 

Go to ‘Apply’ from the UCAS homepage, where you will be able to register and create a password that gives you unique access as you complete your online application form. Central Saint Martins (CSM) courses are listed under University of the Arts London.

  • University code: U65
  • Course code: W294
  • There is no 'campus code' for CSM.
  • This course does not accept Year 3 Entry.

Please note that you can only apply to the same course once per year whether you are applying via UCAS, UAL Representative or using the UAL online application system. Any duplicate application will be withdrawn.

For further advice on how to apply please visit the UAL International Application page

After you have successfully submitted your application online, you will receive an email confirming your application and providing your login details for the UAL Applicant Portal.  Please do log into your applicant portal as this is where we will send you important updates and requests, as well as allowing you to contact us with any questions you may have about your application. 

Immigration History Check (for International Applications only)

Whether you are applying online via UCAS or through a UAL representative or direct application you will need to complete an Immigration History check.

Please note: If you do not complete the Immigration History Check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

What happens next

If you meet the entry requirements you will be invited to submit 3 written pieces of work:

  • A humanities-based essay of no more than 2000 words already written from a previous or current course (A-Level history, literature etc)
  • 500 words on why you wish to study this course saying why you think the course is right for you and what differences might there be between study in a college of art and design like CSM and a 'traditional' university.
  • A short piece: 'Describe in 500 words a cultural project that you have done or would like to do. This can be supplemented with images or any kind of media.'

Following a review on your written work, you will either be invited for an interview or your application will be rejected via UCAS Track.

Interview

You will only be invited to attend an interview if you have been successful with the review of your written work.

  • If you currently live in the United Kingdom, you will be invited attend an interview at the college normally taking place between February and March.
  • If you are unable to attend the interview in person, you will be asked to attend an interview via Skype. 

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the outcome of your application through UCAS track and UAL Applicant Portal.

Deferred entry

Please note that CSM does not accept application for deferred entry.

Study Abroad applicants

International undergraduate students may apply to join a BA course for a period of up to three terms as a study abroad student.

Please visit the UAL Study Abroad for details of how to apply to one of our courses or contact the UAL Study Abroad Team central offices for more information:

T: +44 (0)20 7514 2249
E: studyabroad@arts.ac.uk
W: UAL Study Abroad

Entry requirements

Selection to BA Culture, Criticism and Curation is determined by the quality of the application, meeting the minimum entry qualifications and how well the written work meets our criteria. 

Applicants are normally expected to have achieved, or be expected to achieve, the course entry requirements detailed below: 

  • Passes in three GCE A Levels (grade B or above), two of which are in essay-based humanities subjects such as History, History of Art, English Literature, Philosophy, Government and Politics, Classical Studies;
  • Passes at GCSE level in 5 subjects (grade C or above)

OR

  • A Foundation Course in Art and Design;
  • Passes in two GCE A Levels (grade C or above), one of which is in an essay-based humanities;
  • Passes at GCSE level or equivalent in five subjects (grade C or above) including three passes in academic subjects

International candidates are normally required to demonstrate the required educational standard by possession of equivalent qualifications, e.g. International Baccalaureate or High School Diploma.

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered if the course team judges the application demonstrates additional strength and alternative evidence. This might be demonstrated by a combination of the following factors: related academic or work experience; the quality of the personal statement; a strong academic or other professional reference.

English language requirements

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability in order to apply for a visa, enrol, and start your course. The English language requirement for entry for this course is: 

IELTS Academic 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in the writing skill and a minimum of 5.5 in the remaining 3 skills (on one single test).

For further information visit the English Language requirements page.

Applicants who will need a Tier 4 General Student Visa should check the Visa and Immigration page which provides important information about UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) requirements. 

What we look for

We look for students who are passionate about the arts, from fine art, fashion, theatre and performance to graphics, design, architecture and film.

We look for students who may have studied GCSEs and A levels that included the history of art, English literature, history, classical civilisation as well as practice-based subjects and are thinking of taking degrees in history of art, design and architecture; film studies; media and cultural studies; history; English literature; American studies. 

We look for students on foundation courses who decide not to pursue a practical art or design degree but who want to stay at a college offering art and design study. 

Selection criteria

Applicants are selected according to demonstration of potential and current ability to:

Work imaginatively and creatively with the written word and visual presentation

  • Engage with experimentation and invention
  • Show imagination and ambition in proposals for your work
  • Take informed risks

Demonstrate a range of skills and technical abilities

  • Through examples of written work, demonstrate a range of approaches to writing, originated from personal experience or textural and visual research and progressed through logical stages to a finished outcome
  • Demonstrate an awareness of planning and time management skills

Provide evidence of intellectual enquiry within your work

  • Demonstrate relevant research skills
  • Evidence ability to critically reflect and evaluate your achievements

Demonstrate cultural and historical awareness and/or contextual framework of their work

  • Evidence an interest in contemporary culture
  • Identify social, historical and/or cultural influences on your work

Articulate and communicate intentions clearly

  • Discuss your work in individual and group situations
  • Present your work, concepts and ideas appropriately and effectively                                         

Demonstrate commitment and motivation in relation to the subject and the course

  • Show willingness to collaborate
  • Show initiative
  • Reflect your knowledge of this course

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£9,250 (2018/19). TBC

Tuition fees for undergraduate degree courses have been set at £9,250 per year for full-time study. This applies from the 2018/19 academic year, subject to changes in the law. Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students, in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Please visit our Undergraduate tuition fees page for more information.

International fee

£19,350 (2018/19).

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.

Accommodation

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

Careers and alumni

BA Culture, Criticism and Curation develops your knowledge and skills to give you a wide choice of further education and career paths. You can go on to work in arts and heritage management and administration; in museums, collections and archives; as researchers within academic, commercial and not-for-profit organisations; in television, radio and new media; in theatre and cinema; and in teaching and arts entrepreneurship, in London and beyond. 

You might also want to pursue postgraduate study. Many BA Culture, Criticism and Curation students have taken MA courses in a range of fields, including curating contemporary art and design, art history, the theatre in London, business and the arts, cultural theory, and historicism.

BA Culture, Criticism and Curation alumni activity demonstrates the breadth of career paths undertaken by graduates of the course. We have previous graduates working with Bristol City Council, an architectural practice in Hatton Garden, an online fashion business and the British Library. Graduates have also gone on to study on MA programmes at Central Saint Martins as well as The Courtauld Institute of Art, Goldsmith’s and University College London.

Alumni profiles

  • Amelia Scrivier

    Amelia talks about working with Lonely Planet and the National Theatre.

  • Atticus Harris

    Atticus graduated in 2012. He now works at Ontour, Amsterdam as eCommerce & Marketing Manager.

  • Matilda Bevoir-Stephens

    Matilda graduated in 2017, here she discusses her final project turned exhibition 'Twasever-Stow.