MA Culture, Criticism and Curation promotes a community of practice which is central to students’ development. The course offers an open space for you to develop independent research and practice and a flexible framework for student-led and student-directed learning. In our vision, theory and practice work hand in hand within curatorial work, and we explore the different relationships between these two modes of knowledge production.
Culture is studied through lectures, seminars, tutorial groups and reading groups led and co-designed by tutors and students. The curriculum is responsive to changing interests and priorities. Often interdisciplinary, the course encourages an integrated approach to critical, practical, peer-to-peer, group and independent work. Events at Programme, College and University level encourage students to engage with a wider culture of research and innovation and connect with others using curatorial thinking and the practice you are developing.
The main independent work over the 45 weeks of study includes a dissertation and two group curatorial projects. The Dissertation helps you deepen your knowledge in an area of your choice. It can be written as an academic essay or divided into a portfolio of work to reflect individual professional or creative goals. The group projects ask you to engage with different models of curatorial practice: the first is around a collection/archive and is aligned with the University’s work in response to current social issues, such as decolonisation, anti-racism and decarbonising; the second, in partnership with external organisations, emphasises critical and conceptual approaches to collaboration, audience development and redefining ways of supporting, expressing and commenting on culture.
Students learn to engage with and develop both group and individual practices.
Unit 1: Curatorial Playground
Unit 1 is composed of a series of intensive workshops, seminars and discussions that set the base for curatorial thought – that is, thought that emphasises the interrelations between disciplines, cultures and knowledges. The Unit is centered on hands-on experiences to familiarise you with the atmosphere and environment of Central Saint Martins as a creative space. You will learn how to respond to a creative brief and this will help you find your creative voice and set up your goals and aspirations for the year. Key themes of the Unit are experimentation, inter-cultural exchange and conversation within the cohort.
Unit 2: Relational and Material Practices for Common Good
This Unit addresses the theme of collaboration through co-operation with other Masters’ courses in the College. By working co-operatively with fellow students from parallel and contrasting courses, you will experience at first hand the value of cross-disciplinary thinking and problem-solving that is central to developing a curatorial practice.
Unit 3: Curatorial Positions
Through group work, individual research and a collection-based curatorial project, this Unit helps you establish and develop a sense of your position, in relation to your subject interests and practice area, in terms of social identities and institutional spaces. This is expressed through the production of curatorial and written work. The collaborative research and learning element of the Unit helps you establish a basis of knowledge around different definitions of culture, the relationship between culture and technology and the ethics of representation, collection and preservation.
Unit 4: Curatorial Incubation
This Unit spans the summer months and is dedicated to deepening your research on your dissertation and extending your curatorial practice by beginning a second group project, in collaboration with an external partner. It is based mostly on independent learning with support via online classes, synchronous and asynchronous. It is an essential period of independent work and student-directed study that you undertake both as an individual and in small groups.
Unit 5: Curatorial Responsibility
Unit 5’s theme of curatorial responsibility signals the ethical, practical and conceptual components of a well-developed curatorial practice. Your work during this unit will be dedicated to coming to define your practice through your work and the ways it sits in relation to others – your peers, your communities, your collaborators, your readers and audiences. The Unit will prompt you to reflect on your professional development and position yourself in relation to your chosen career pathway.
Mode of study
The course is offered in full-time mode which runs for 45 weeks over 12 months. You will be expected to commit 40 hours per week to study, which includes teaching time and independent study.
Credit and award requirements
The course is credit-rated at 180 credits.
On successfully completing the course, you will gain a Master of Arts (MA degree).
Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications, an MA is Level 7. All units must be passed in order to achieve the MA but the classification of the award is derived from the mark for the final unit only.
If you are unable to continue on the course, a Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) will normally be offered following the successful completion of 60 credits, or a Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) following the successful completion of 120 credits.