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MA Curating and Collections

College
CHELSEA
Start date
September 2020
Course length
1 year (full time)

MA Curating and Collections at Chelsea College of Arts gives you hands-on experience of organising exhibitions and developing curatorial projects.

This course is undergoing re-approval. This is the process by which we ensure the course continues to provide a high quality academic experience. During re-approval there may be some changes to the course content displayed on this page. Please contact us if you have any questions about the course.

Dr David Dibosa and Donald Smith talk about MA Curating and Collections at Chelsea.

Student work

MA Curating and Collections Stories

Course overview

You will work alongside curators, learning how to handle art and design objects.

Professionals in the curatorial team at Chelsea Space will guide your curating of artefacts. Your exhibition skills will be underpinned by curatorial knowledge, enhanced by study visits to major institutions. Curators from museums, such as Tate, the British Museum and the V&A, will offer you unique perspectives on their work.

By combining practical engagement with historical understanding, the course builds the skills needed for a successful career.

What to expect

  • Practical skills that will sit alongside critical reflection to help you develop a balanced approach to curating
  • Learn curatorial methods, such as exhibition design, concept development, marketing, press releases, audience engagement, artist liaison and budgeting
  • Explore current critical debates, staying up to date on issues such as the formation of publics, and the status of artists in collections, as well as objects and their meaning
  • The course will help build your confidence in handling a range of materials, such as: moving image, paintings, photographs, prints, drawings, garments, textiles, ceramics and glassware
  • Receive support from the curatorial team at Chelsea Space who will provide training within an active and supportive curatorial environment so that you can skilfully engage with the best examples of contemporary practice

Mode of study 

MA Curating and Collections is offered in full-time mode and runs for 45 weeks over 12 months. You will be expected to commit an average of 40 hours per week to your course, including teaching hours and independent study.

Course units

A short description of each unit and what you can expect.

Unit 1 - Analysis of curatorial practices

This unit is an introduction to your course, the college and the university.

  • To have hands on experience of practice-based curating
  • To develop your written work in relation to your critical research paper and exhibition reviews
  • To develop your analytical skills and knowledge
  • To discuss and develop your research

Unit 2 - Methods of curatorial display

This unit will deepen your engagement with collections and archival research alongside curatorial practice.

  • To establish connections within museum and curatorial networks to help you progress your research interests
  • To gain a critical perspective on the museum, gallery and curatorial contexts, through detailed knowledge of the political and historical background, and stewardship issues related to the collections and archives sector
  • To plan and begin to implement your project of self-directed study

Unit 3 - Enacting curatorial strategies

In this unit you will reflect upon current curatorial practice and develop your own professional practice utilising Chelsea Space as a venue.

  • To develop a critical understanding of work that challenges existing practice
  • To further develop your project of self-directed study
  • To analyse and test your project work and ideas through seminars
  • To present work in the college postgraduate show

Throughout the 3 units of the course, you will study in the following ways:

  • Exhibition studio workshop - practical sessions focusing on exhibition-making
  • Curatorial studies - sessions focusing on historical and theoretical framing of curatorial practice
  • Collections visits - engagement with museums, events, exhibitions and displays
  • Lecture programme - lectures from professors, readers and other invited speakers

During the course, you will have individual and group tutorials developing your skills through the taught sessions alongside the professional practice activity with staff at Chelsea Space. Individual research will be guided to help you make the most of the Special Collections, as well as, library and learning resources across UAL.

The UAL collections include:

  • Chelsea's Special Collections, which have a strong emphasis on modern and contemporary art and design
  • Camberwell's ILEA collection of ceramics and glassware
  • Central Saint Martins' Museum and Study Collection, which include early printed books, prints, illuminated manuscripts, embroideries, 1920s German film posters, textiles and garments

Learning and teaching methods

  • Collaborative work with peers
  • Gallery, museum and other visits
  • Presentations and crits
  • Research topic groups
  • Self-directed study and research
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Visiting artist and practitioner talks and tutorials

Assessment methods

  • Critical writing
  • Presentations
  • Project portfolios

Staff

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on disability@arts.ac.uk or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

Entry requirements

The standard minimum entry requirements for this course are:

  • BA (Hons) degree in a related subject or equivalent academic qualifications
  • Personal statement
  • Study plan

Entry to this course will also be determined by the quality of your application, looking primarily at your personal statement and study plan.

APEL - Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered in exceptional cases. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • Related academic or work experience
  • The quality of the personal statement
  • A strong academic or other professional reference
  • A combination of these factors

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

English language requirements

All classes are taught in English. If English isn't your first language you must provide evidence at enrolment of the following:

Selection criteria

We look for: 

  • The ambition and commitment to develop and challenge work in curation and collections at Master level
  • An awareness of current debates and practices in curation and collections
  • The potential to devise and develop a self-directed programme of curatorial practice and related research
  • The ability to analyse and evaluate in both visual and oral terms
  • The ability to develop and contextualise work in written form
  • An eagerness to engage in the critical debate surrounding contemporary and historical practices as well as to develop a critical framework for their practice
  • The potential to develop a range of skills and competencies to a professional level

Making your application

Personal statement

This should be about 500 words long and include:

  • Your reasons for choosing the course
  • Your current creative practice and how this will help with your future plans
  • If you do not have any formal academic qualifications please describe your relevant education and experience

Study Plan

The study plan is a statement of approximately 800 words describing your current practice and an opportunity for you to explore potential areas that you want to develop in your studies.

The plan is the starting point for discussions about your postgraduate studies and will evolve during the time you study with us.

When writing your plan you are not expected to have complete answers to all the questions.

However, you should be able to:

  • Examine your knowledge and experience in relation to your practice
  • Identify questions and areas that you do not know about
  • Demonstrate how you may intend to tackle these questions and areas

How to structure a study plan

You should include links to referenced text or images where appropriate.

Each of the following sections should be approximately 200 words.

Introduction

  • Briefly describe your work
  • Outline recent developments
  • Identify those aspects you would like to take further at postgraduate level

Development

Describe specific areas, issues and critical ideas that are central to your area of interest.

Methods

How will you go about exploring your area of interest?

Are there particular methods you will use? For example - drawing, model making, photography.

Resources

Are there resources or equipment that you need to access in order for you to successfully engage in your research?

Apply

Application deadline

Home/EU applicant period may stay open until midday Thursday 30 July 2020.

Although we advise you to apply sooner than this. Some courses are very popular and may close to applicants early.

Postgraduate transfers:

If you have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units/modules on your current PG course at another institution and wish to continue your studies at Chelsea College of Arts, you can apply to transfer. The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible. Further information can be found in our UAL External Student Transfer Policy.

Deferred entry application:

This course will consider deferred entry applications. If you are interested in requesting a deferral, you can only request this if you are successful at application.

What happens next

Communicating with you

After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll receive a confirmation email providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal. We’ll use this portal to contact you to request any additional information, including inviting you to upload documents or book an interview, so please check it regularly.

Initial application check

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course. If you do, you’ll be invited to or asked to book onto a suitable date to attend an interview selection event.

Interview Selection Event

Please be prepared to discuss your personal statement and study plan. You may also be asked to talk about what inspires you and your influences. We may not discuss all of these topics at the event.

More details about your interview selection event will be emailed to you once you have chosen or been allocated your date.

Selection for Home/EU applicants happens in a variety of different ways:

  • In person at Chelsea College of Arts
  • By phone or Skype

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the final outcome of your application through the UAL portal.

Please note that applications made to this course may be given an alternative offer. This decision will be based on our assessment of your creative and potential interests.

There are 2 ways international students can apply to a postgraduate course at Camberwell College of Arts:

Read our immigration and visa information to find out if you need a visa to study at UAL.

Application deadline

International applicant period may stay open until midday Thursday 30 July 2020.

Although we advise you to apply sooner than this. Some courses are very popular and may close to applicants early.

Postgraduate transfers:

If you have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units/modules on your current PG course at another institution and wish to continue your studies at Chelsea College of Arts, you can apply to transfer. The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible. Further information can be found in our UAL External Student Transfer Policy.

Deferred entry application:

This course will consider deferred entry applications. If you are interested in requesting a deferral, you can only request this if you are successful at application.

What happens next

Communicating with you

After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll receive a confirmation email providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal. We’ll use this portal to contact you to request any additional information, including inviting you to upload documents or book an interview, so please check it regularly.

Initial application check

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course. If you do, you’ll be invited to or asked to book onto a suitable date to attend an interview selection event.

Interview Selection Event

Please be prepared to discuss your personal statement and study plan. You may also be asked to talk about what inspires you and your influences. We may not discuss all of these topics at the event.

More details about your interview selection event will be emailed to you once you have chosen or been allocated your date.

Selection for international applications are available in a variety of different ways:

  • By phone or Skype
  • In your country, if your application was made through one of our official representatives
  • In person at Chelsea College of Arts

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the final outcome of your application through the UAL portal.

Please note that applications made to this course may be given an alternative offer. This decision will be based on our assessment of your creative and potential interests.


Fees & Funding

Home / EU fee

£11,220 (2020/21).

International fee

£19,930 (2020/21).

Course fees may be paid in instalments.

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

Use our search tool to find out more about the scholarships and awards available to students.

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

Many MA Curating and Collections graduates go on to work as curators either, independently or within galleries, museums or other art and design organisations.

Some of our course alumni develop public programmes, while others choose further study and research exhibitionary practice and typically focus on collections research, exhibitions history and curatorial practice.

MA Curating and Collections at Chelsea provides students with the critical, historical and contextual studies needed to advance their careers.

Find out how careers and employability helps our students and graduates start their careers.

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