• CollegeCSM
  • Start dateSeptember 2017
  • Course length3 years
  • UCAS codeW294

BA (Hons) Culture, Criticism and Curation

Clearing places available
This course has places available for 2017/18 entry. If you are interested in applying for this course, please call us on +44 (0)20 7514 7514. For a full list of UAL courses open for 2017/18 entry, visit the UAL Clearing page.

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

  • Take part in practical projects and academic writing in order to form a learning experience unlike any other. Critical thinking, research, intellectual rigour and creative problem solving are at the core of the course
  • The course is not just delivered by historians and theoreticians but also by journalists, film makers, curators, arts market professionals, photographers and designers
  • We maintain active collaborations with key cultural institutions and venues: current collaborations include projects with 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning, Leighton House Museum and staff of The Evening Standard and The Guardian
  • 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, Sothebys, Courtauld and University College London, amongst others. Other alumni have gained jobs at British Film Institute, Emin International, Sotheby’s (Mumbai), Burberry, Tom Ford and more.

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

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 you a very wide-ranging, humanities-based arts education. Content spans the history and theory of art, design, architecture, fashion, film, popular culture, performance, media and literature.

Culture, criticism and curation refer to bodies of knowledge, skills, outcomes and opportunities within the arts. They are interrelated. Critical thinking, research, intellectual rigour and creative problem solving are at the core of the degree course.

Criticism relates to critical writing (the history and theory of arts criticism), as well as the critical thinking at the heart of cultural practices. Critical writing and thinking are key skills that help BA Criticism, Communication and Curation: Arts and Design students develop successful futures as organisers of, or commentators on, the arts, as writers and as teachers.

Communication refers to today's media, including television, radio, print journalism, publishing, the web and other technologies. It asks how different arts communicate in different contexts. To develop an approach to communication, you'll take practical courses in photography and web design, and in how to use these tools within your assignments. You'll be introduced to journalistic writing. And you'll consider how to communicate narratives and ideas to your audiences when curating exhibitions or planning public events. Personal communication skills - key to success in every professional field - are central to the degree course and developed within every unit.

Curation refers to the specific skills and knowledge needed to 'curate' exhibitions - for example, historical research and the contextualisation of art practice. It also takes in the wider meaning of curating as applied to arts events organisation, from planning film festivals to hosting local street events. Curation is linked to critical writing and to communication through publicity, journalistic reviewing and other activities.

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 western art and culture, and an introduction to skills appropriate for the degree course (e.g. journalism, photography, web design). During this stage we encourage you to begin to research, explore and develop your individual strengths and approaches to your subject.

Stage Two continues to explore criticism, communication and curation practices. You'll also begin to develop a variety of approaches that demand individual and experimental responses in order to complete an extended piece of research and writing. Through a combination of tutorial guidance, seminars, lectures, personal research, independent study and team projects, you'll explore the full reach of your subject and develop your individual talents in relation to it.

Stage Three focuses on developing and refining your independent approach while you complete your dissertation and London Project. You'll also engage in further formal study of a chosen topic (elective seminar) and work collaboratively with your year group towards the degree show, a major opportunity to curate an exhibition.

Personal and Professional Development

From the beginning, BA Culture, Criticism and Curation addresses the need to prepare you for employment by supporting you in acquiring the key PPD skills that will enable you to take responsibility for your own learning and career development. The core study of BA (Hons) CCC also helps develop many of these transferable skills, which play their part in equipping you for a professional career and the generic activities of creative practice.

PPD is integral to BA Culture, Criticism and Curation and is embedded in many aspects of both the studio and cultural studies programmes as a planned part of their structure and learning content. PPD activities take place in all 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 of the course have a wider value and use in other areas of life. These transferable skills are highly valued by employers.

Programme specification: BA Criticism, Communication and Curation: Arts and Design (PDF 55kb)

Industry collaborations

Working with paying clients on live briefs will give you valuable commercial experience which may mean your work being taken forward for production or, if so desired, in the purchase of your intellectual property. All paid projects are conducted within a carefully developed legal framework, which includes student agreements to protect your work and help you realise its commercial value. 

Once you’ve graduated, you may be picked as part of a small team to work on a live creative brief, organised by our Business and Innovation department, under the supervision of an experienced tutor. This can be a valuable first step in working professionally in a chosen discipline and has resulted in graduates being hired by clients.

Staff

Course Leader: Dr Michaela Giebelhausen
Stage (1) Leader: Stephanie Dieckvoss
Stage (2) Leader: Dr Diane Silverthorne
Stage (3) Tutor: Andrew Marsh
Senior Lecturer: Dr Alison Green
Reader: Dr Roger Sabin
Programme Director: Dr Dominic Stone
Professor of Cultural History: Caroline Dakers
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: Dr James Swinson
Associate Lecturer: Natasha Adamou
Associate Lecturer: Lindsey Moore
Associate Lecturer: Alice Holmberg
Associate Lecturer: Jona Piehl



How to apply

When to apply

We've extended the deadline and are continuing to accept applications for a limited period.

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.

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.

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 and applying from within the UK, you will be invited attend an interview at the college normally from December to 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. 

Deferred entry

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

When to Apply

We've extended the deadline and are continuing to accept applications for a limited period.

Applying and how your application is considered

International applicants may apply through one of three routes only:

Further information on applying via UCAS is provided on the Applying through UCAS page.

For applicants who want to apply directly to UAL, the direct application form may be found here:

Applications for the academic year 2017/18 will be accepted from November.

For full details on the application process, visit the Undergraduate application page.

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. 

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

Immigration history form (for International applications only)

Whether you are applying online or through a UAL representative you will need to complete an Immigration History form. 

We will email you an Immigration History form when we receive your application.

You will need to send this back to us, by email, with copies of the following documents:

  • Your passport photo page 
  • Your current visa (if you have one) and any previous UK study visas
  • Your current English language certificate (if you have this)
  • Your academic qualifications (A2, IB, high school diploma, foundation etc. - if completed. Translated into English) 

Please note: If you do not complete and return your Immigration History form 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.

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 and applying from within the UK, you will be invited attend an interview at the college normally from January to 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. 

If you applied through one of our overseas representatives, they will tell you the result of your application.

Deferred entry

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

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. 

Typical successful applicants achieve A and B grades at A level in essay-based humanities subjects. After initial consideration of the application, applicants may be asked to submit examples of written work and be invited to interview.

Minimum entry requirements

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

Passes in 3 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 2 GCE A Levels (grade C or above), one of which is in an essay-based humanities. 

Passes at GCSE level or equivalent in 5 subjects (grade C or above) including 3 passes in academic subjects

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 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 for the writing component, and 5.5 in the remaining three components; or equivalent. 

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 Border Agency (UKBA) 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

We select applicants according to your 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 evaluate your achievements critically

Show cultural and historical awareness and/or contextual framework of your 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

  • Develop your own ideas and address both set and personal briefs
  • Show willingness to collaborate
  • Show initiative
  • Reflect your knowledge of this course

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£9,250 (2017/18). 

Tuition fees for undergraduate degree courses have been set at £9,250 per year for full-time study. This applies from the 2017/18 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

£17,920 (2017/18).

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.

  • Caroline Christie

    Caroline graduated in 2012, here she talks about life on the course.