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Curating Contemporary Art : Short Course Insights

Written by Yusuf Tamanna
Published date 14 October 2020

Both currently full-time students at University College London, Alina and Rosie tell us about their experience of doing a short course at UAL and how it’s helped support their plans for what to do after university.

It’s not uncommon for current university students to do a short course alongside their wider academic study. It can be a great way to complement their degree, satisfy a curiosity they’ve always had or even use it to test the waters for what they want to do after university.

For both Alina Alimbekova and Rosie Croysdale, it was the latter that encouraged them both to take the Curating Contemporary Art short course offered by Chelsea College of Arts.

They’re both students at University College London who are already considering what they want to do next. Rosie is studying Anthropology and Alina is in her second year of her History of Art degree.

“My reasons for doing the course were mainly driven by my desire to gain an insight into the field as I was planning on doing my MA in curating and pursuing a career in the field thereafter,” Alina tells me.

Similarly, for Rosie her desire is to specialise in curational art practice once her degree is finished. But she admits being a bit nervous about doing the short course, considering her academic background.

“A fear I had prior to the course was that my undergraduate degree in Anthropology may distinguish me unfavourably from the rest of the group.” She continues, “But I quickly learnt that this course attracts people from a diverse range of interests who may not have a purely arts-based background.”

Rosie especially credits the expertise of the tutor, Kristen Cooke, for the successful time she had on the course. “Kristen introduced us to the key theoretical underpinnings of curatorial practice, a brief history of museums, and even arranged for us to meet gallery staff and curators working in independent gallery spaces around the city.”

Likewise, for Alina the short course gave her a much-needed boost of confidence in her own skills. So much so that she successfully launched her own art magazine, which included a website as well as a printed issue.

“The course was a valuable experience which I took as an opportunity to develop organizational skills, verbal and written planning,” Alina says.

Keen to also develop her photography skills, once she finished the Curating Contemporary Art short course, Alina booked a place on the Photography Professional Practice and Academic Portfolio course offered at Central Saint Martins to up-skill further.

“The PPA course is an inspiring opportunity to develop my own creative practice. I am incredibly happy to be on the course to learn alternative methods of photography (I have only used digital before) and to enhance my understanding of the critical theory of photography,” Alina tells me.

In Rosie’s case, doing the short course has given her the assurance that art curation is a field she wants to explore more of. “I feel I am now equipped with the understanding of what to expect from a career in curation and feel more confident applying for post-graduate courses in curation because I have learnt from experience that this is a practice I enjoy!”

Both agree that doing a short course is a worthwhile experience, if not for giving them insight into their own career progression then at least for the invaluable access to learn from others. “The opportunity to learn how people approach a profession in curation from vastly different backgrounds was extremely inspiring and encouraged a broader discussion among the group regarding the task at hand,” Rosie says.

Alina is quick to add: “Short courses really are a great way to enhance your understanding of a creative and artistic field in a way that perfectly fits around your current academic study or full-time work commitments.”

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If you’re interested in learning more about the world of art curation and management, our Curating Contemporary Art (Online Short Course) and Arts Management (Online Short Course) are perfect starting points.

We have a wide range of online short courses touching on a variety of other disciplines, so if you’re a student wanting to up-skill or get a taster for a different field, let our online short courses guide you in the right direction.

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