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Curating Contemporary Art

Curating Contemporary Art

Chelsea College of Arts
Taught by
Sophia Kosmaoglou, Kirsten Cooke


Join Curating Contemporary Art and gain an understanding of professional standards of practice in curating. Learn about structures and institutions of the art world - acquire the tools to write an exhibition proposal, organise a show or apply for funding.

This 5 day curating course will start by giving you an overview of the history of curating and 21st century curatorial developments. We will survey the main trends, institutions and concerns of contemporary curatorial practices. We will also visit exhibitions in London, from DIY project spaces to established museums. 

The course will also provide you with important practical information about funding, promotion, installation and other professional aspects of curating. Then we'll move you on to building your practical skills by encouraging you to devise exhibition themes and proposals.

Don't miss your chance to gain valuable and practical insights into curating contemporary art in both gallery and alternative spaces.

Topics covered

  • A history of curating: Lecture on curatorial roles and histories.
  • Translating ideas into proposals.
  • Curatorial roles and working methods
  • Context and mediation. 
  • Resources for curators.
  • Gallery Visit
  • EXHIBITION: Contextualising your practice.
  • Taking your proposals to the next stage, context and intention.
  • Publicity and the press release.
  • Partnerships, funding, timetables and calculating budgets.
  • Pitching your project: how to present ideas.
Course outcomes
You will gain vital understanding of professional standards of practice in curating, knowledge of structures and institutions of the art world in London and beyond and have the tools to write an exhibition proposal, organise a show and apply for funding. It could mean moving on to curatorial projects, assistantships, partnerships or internships in the future.

Who should attend
Anyone with an interest in curating exhibitions of contemporary art. You may be looking to make proposals to venues, apply for gallery internships, follow a career in arts administration or apply for a BA or MA degree in Curating. 


Courses are typically taught by one or more of the tutors listed below.

Student reviews

'I decided on this particular course as felt it would help me understand more about how curating exhibitions can help one better appreciate works of art, art movements, artists and art history' - Alan Roe.

'It was well structured and really interesting and provided quite a good overview of the topic and i loved the lecturers they were great.' - Anon

'Very intensive course with good readings and gallery visits. It is a very good starting point to explore curating.'
- Anon

'The course was brilliant - a great mixture of text-based theoretical discussions, lots of emphasis on practical issues and how to solve them, exhibition visits and continuous thinking throughout the week about one's own exhibition proposal - which has benefited a lot from the course. The course and working on my proposal has been truly inspiring, and I have pursued the idea further since. The course felt like a launchpad - and a lot of the credit goes to the course teacher Sophia!!'
- Anon

Tutor Description

Sophia Kosmaoglou is an artist, tutor, curator and founder of [ART&CRITIQUE], an alternative art education network based in London. Her work employs a broad range of practices including sculpture, installation, video, painting, performance, sound, site-specificity, collaboration and participation to address identity, convention, authority and rationalism. Her current practice blurs the boundaries between art, activism and education to question the ontology of art and its social and institutional functions. She has a practice-based PhD in Fine Art from Goldsmiths and her research interests include institutional critique and the relationship between art and politics, institutions and independent organisations and collective practices. Her PhD thesis is a critical reassessment of institutional critique and of the value of autonomy in art practice. She has previously taught Critical Studies and Studio Practice on BA Fine Art Practice and Joint Honours courses at Goldsmiths. She is a member of Exploding Cinema, Deptford Cinema and The Field New Cross.

View Sophia's website

Dr Kirsten Cooke is an artist-curator and has co-authored the projects: Material Conjectures, KollActiv and House of Hysteria. This year Cooke completed her PhD in curatorial practice at the University of Reading and she has delivered papers/written texts for projects in London, Paris and LA. Cooke's practice experiments with different forms of staging and deploys architectural environments to choreograph artworks.

Recent exhibitions and projects have been staged at kynastonmcshine (The Old Police Station, London), Beaconsfield (London), Sonce Alexander gallery (LA), and the Université Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne (Paris). In 2016, Cooke has staged the exhibition and performance programme Pressure Chamber: Nematodes at ArtLacuna (London) and will be curating the following exhibitions as part of her co-authored projects: Concrete Plastic in September at Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (LA) and Abandoned Temporary Treatment Facility in October at Beaconsfield (London). 


Please bring the following materials with you on the first day:

  • Notebook and pen

  • A memory stick

  • Ideas for exhibitions that you would like to curate

  • Access to a computer outside of the taught class time.

One session will be held off site, on this day you will need to bring the following items (the tutor will inform you in the first class as to which session this will be):

  • Travel card / money for travel

  • Money for entrance to exhibitions

Available dates