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 & Enterprise Programme.

Scholarships and Awards available:

Charlotte and Dennis Stevenson Awards
Foundation for Essex Arts Scholarships
Mead Scholarships and Fellowships
Yat Malmgren Bursary

 

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'

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 CCC 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.

Facts

Course Leader

Dr Michaela Giebelhausen

Course Location

King's Cross, London. Tel: +44 (0)20 7514 7023

Study LevelUndergraduate
Study ModeFull time
Course Length3 years full time
Home/EU Fee

£9,250 per year (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 academic years for new and continuing students, in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Please visit our Undergraduate Tuition Fees page for full information on tuition fees.

Use our Fees and Funding Calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

International Fee

£17,920 per year (2017/18).

Please note that fees are subject to inflationary increase.

Use our Fees and Funding Calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

Start DateMonday 25 September 2017
Autumn Term DatesMonday 25 September - Friday 8 December 2017
Spring Term DatesMonday 8 January – Friday 16 March 2018
Summer Term DatesMonday 16 April - Friday 22 June 2018
Application Route

UCAS

Application DeadlineApplications for 2017/18 entry will close on 15 January 2017.
UCAS CodeW294
University CodeU65

Content and structure

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 4 (which is stage 1 of the course), Level 5 (Stage 2) and Level 6 (Stage 3).

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 4, or a Diploma in Higher Education following the successful completion of Level 5.

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.

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

Associate Lecturers:

Careers

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.

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

Apply - UK/EU

When to Apply

The deadline for equal consideration for all applications (Home, EU and International) is the 15 January 2017. 

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 2017 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.

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 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. 

Apply - International

When to Apply

The UCAS deadline for all Undergraduate applications for both Home/EU and International is the 15 January 2017. 

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 2017 will result in the application being marked as late.

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. 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 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. 

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.

Student work

Home and Away

2015-16 exhibition in the window galleries at Central Saint Martins, curated by BA CCC students, stage 1.

Two groups of BA CCC stage 1 students were selected to realise their first exhibition proposals for the window galleries at Central Saint Martins. The project asked students to devise a curatorial proposal for the window spaces based on their relationships to London and their home towns/cities. 

Home And Away

This New Feeling

2015 Degree Show

Curated by BA (Hons) Culture, Criticism and Curation students, THIS NEW FEELING was inspired by today’s generation of ‘nostalgic futurists’. This is what the students had to say about the degree show:

“The exhibition examined the way in which boundaries have become increasingly blurred between tradition and modernity in contemporary art practices. As a generation born with technology integrated into our everyday lives we constantly drive a fast trajectory into the future’s digital dimensions, but at the same time we romanticise and reflect upon the handcrafted traditions of the past. This exhibition proposes no answer to the metaxy of a plugged-in society, but rather invites the audience to consciously oscillate between these two positions in order to experience THIS NEW FEELING” 

THIS NEW FEELING took the form of an exhibition, an online publication and symposium. 

The exhibition featured works by:

  • Tully Arnot
  • Jeremy Bailey
  • Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukacs
  • Valentin Dommanget
  • David Ersser
  • Mia Faithfull
  • Sanaa Hamid
  • Joe Hamilton
  • Conall McAteer
  • Ryan Nosworthy
  • Benjamin Renoux
  • Nick Scammell
  • Luke Turner

This New Feeling  

Big Bucks: The Explosion of the Art Market in the 21st Century

January 2015, an in-conversation event at LVMH Lecture Theatre, Central Saint Martins

Georgina Adam talks about the writing of ‘Big Bucks: The Explosion of the Art Market in the 21st Century'; in conversation with Stephanie Dieckvoss, Stage 1 Leader BA Culture, Criticism and Curation.
 

Georgina Adam talks about writing her new book ‘Big Bucks: the explosion of the art market in the 21st Century’. This in-conversation event will explore her motivations for writing about the dramatic changes in the art market over the last decade. The talk will also touch upon the different modes of writing: from auction sales reports in the FT, to what has been lauded as ‘a lively view of today’s craziness’ by one of the art world’s ‘smartest art market commentators’.

About Georgina Adam

Georgina has spent more than 30 years writing about the art market and the arts in general. She was editor of The Art Newspaper, and writes a weekly column for the Financial Times. In addition to her specialisation in the art market, Adam is particularly interested in emerging cultural centres. She lectures at Sotheby’s and Christies in London and is a board member of Talking Galleries.

About Stephanie Dieckvoss

Stephanie is Stage 1 Leader BA Culture, Criticism and Curation and also tutors on MA Culture, Criticism and Curation and MA Arts and Cultural Enterprise and has over 15 years’ experience in the commercial arts sector, working for galleries and art fairs such as Frieze Art Fair and Art Hong Kong.

 

Student Perspectives

Exhibition layout sketches

We asked current student Rosanne about what drew her to the course. For Rosie it was the pull of a non traditional art history course, putting theory into practice:


For Unit 5, ‘Interrogating History’, we had the opportunity to work with the Foundling Museum. We proposed an exhibition that used the history of the museum to inspire new ways of exhibiting contemporary art within historical buildings and the challenges of doing this. Working directly with professionals from the museum, we gained an insight into exhibition practicalities and research institutions such as the London Metropolitan Archives to develop our concepts.

The project ran parallel to our lecture series within the unit, so it was great to put academic theory to work in a practical and creative way, edifying both the academic and curation aspects of the course. I think this is the unique thing about BA CCC and what drew me to it in the first place – as opposed to more traditional art history courses: it’s fundamentally theoretical, but what we learn in the lecture theater is applied through more vocational projects outside of it.

In an inspiring setting like CSM we bridge the gap between academic and creative study and have the opportunity to develop both faculties in order to figure out our place within the art world.

There’s room within the course structure for the many different skillsets of people from all over the world to be developed and celebrated, and I have enjoyed taking part in this. Working alongside my peers has broadened my own intellectual horizons and a wealth of new ideas and influences, developing me as a creative professional as well as an individual.

Enquire about this course

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2016 Degree Show Catalogue