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Central Saint Martins

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MRes Art: Exhibition Studies

College
CSM
Start date
September 2020
Course length
Two years (60 weeks)
Extended full-time

Applications for 2020/21 entry will open in Spring 2020

MRes Art: Exhibition Studies examines the history of contemporary art through key developments in the exhibition form.

In addition to the selection of art and mode of address, you will consider the wider social conditions and impact exhibitions can have on those who experience them. The MRes Art course is part of the Art programme.

Why choose this course at Central Saint Martins

  • Collaboration with Afterall: MRes Art: Exhibition Studies is delivered in conjunction with Afterall, the art research and publishing organisation based at Central Saint Martins. You will have unique access to resources as well as its network of contributors and collaborating institutions. These include high-profile curators and theorists.
  • Enhance your research skills: You will have dedicated training on research methods and methodologies, allowing you to proceed onto further academic research and to deploy those skills in a professional context.
  • Research community: You will be part of a wider research community within Central Saint Martins. The College has its own, dedicated research group which brings together theorists, artists and curators who are investigating the exhibition form.
  • Debate your work with professionals: You will have the chance to direct and participate in a group event with invited professionals. This will build your professional skills and provide a discussion forum, challenging you to recognise and debate key questions arising from your research project work.

Open days

The next round of open days will take place from February to April 2020, please check back here by December 2019 to book.

Scholarships available

The Trask Fund MRes Art Bursaries

Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarships:
Home/EU | International

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 are now available for eligible UK and EU students. See the postgraduate loan page for a full list of eligibility criteria and information on applying.

UAL International Postgraduate £25,000 plus International Student House (ISH) Scholarships

Facilities

Photo of book shelves at the CSM library

Library

Find out more about the Central Saint Martins Library.

Photo of seats facing a stage in a lecture hall

LVMH Lecture Theatre

Find out more about the LVMH Lecture Theatre.

Photo of a group of people in the distance looking at art on a white wall

Lethaby Gallery

Find out more about the Lethaby Gallery.

Course overview

MRes Art is made up of three specialist pathways: Theory and Philosophy; Moving Image; and Exhibition Studies. MRes Art uses research and writing to develop modes of questioning, speculative thinking and critical evaluation. Drawing upon a wealth of scholarly expertise from the staff team, visiting lecturers and practitioners, the course considers the relationship of contemporary art research to wider aesthetic, cultural and socio-political issues.   

There are opportunities for students on each pathway to come together for shared taught components. You will also be encouraged to develop student-led activities. In the past, our students have collaborated on research events and publications, as well as the annual degree show and the Tate Exchange programme at Tate Modern.  

MRes Art: Exhibition Studies draws on the pioneering Exhibition Histories publication series produced by Afterall. On this pathway, you will be encouraged to think of the exhibition as an entry point to the study of contemporary art. You will consider not just the selection of art, the handling of time and space and modes of address, but also wider social implications of the “being in public” of artworks.  

MRes Art: Exhibition Studies takes exhibitions to mean not just conventional gallery or museum shows. Instead, it considers all kinds of artistic presentations, manifestos, publications, festivals and other formats through which art encounters its publics. You will research, document and critically analyse these forms. This will allow you to work on new narratives which go beyond the art-historical in order to account for the intricacies of these moments of exchange. 

On this pathway, you will engage with recent debates about modern and contemporary art in the context of public presentations of art. You will also explore key concepts and critical theories in a variety of fields. The pathway asks two core questions: can we tell a different story of modern and contemporary art through its exhibitions? And, what do the histories of exhibitions tell us about the wider cultural field in which artworks are produced and made public? The aim is to develop your ability to interpret, analyse and critique a range of methods in exhibition-making. You will develop visual analysis skills through the examination of works of art as presented in exhibitions.

Course units

On MRes Art: Exhibition Studies, teaching in the first year will cover methodologies and research skills. It will also engage you in the specialist subject of exhibition studies. In parallel with this, you will prepare for a personally directed programme of study, your research project. In the second year, the emphasis shifts towards independent study and student-led engagement. You will pursue and realise your final research project. Throughout your studies, you will receive support through tutorials, workshops, group critiques and discussions.  

This pathway focuses on significant exhibitions from the early 20th century to the present. You will become familiar with the history of mainstream practices, such as the development of the white cube into a default curatorial trope. In addition, you will also pay close attention to alternative articulations of the exhibition form. This includes the large and the small, institutional and otherwise. MRes Art: Exhibition Studies promotes the idea that research should not only cover biennales and mega-shows operating at a global scale. It calls for more analysis and documentation of the under-explored exhibition histories of the global south and the peripheral north.  

You will also examine archetypal figures within exhibition-making. These include the professional curator, the globetrotting artist, the cultural producer, the dealer and the corporate patron or collector. Through their relationships, you will study the worldwide networks and power hierarchies that shape exhibition practices. You will also focus on alternative relationships which influence the public exhibition. This includes those of solidarity, resistance, protest and experimentation.

Unit 1: Exhibition Histories: Art in the Public Sphere 

This unit will introduce you to the subject of exhibition histories. Through seminars and lectures, it serves to ground your knowledge of the key developments in the history of exhibitions. The unit is split into two thematic parts: Doing Exhibition Studies and From the Universal to the Global. Doing Exhibition Studies will introduce you to significant debates and methodological approaches in the field. From the Universal to the Global traces key developments in the exhibition form from the early 20th century to the present. You will pay particular attention to the shifting geographies of exchange and influence which have shaped these developments.  

Unit 2: Methodologies and Methods I

Unit 2 is an opportunity for all the students in the MRes Art course to study together. The unit has two distinct components: methodologies and methods. Methodologies aims to make you aware of a range of methodological approaches that have shaped debates in your field of study. Methods aims to equip you with essential research skills.  

Unit 3: Methodologies and Methods II

This unit deepens your understanding of theoretical debates by testing them in a professional context. The unit is designed around a practical research project. You will work with your peers, either within an art institution or within Afterall. Projects might involve, but are not restricted to, primary research or the organisation of public events.  

Unit 4: Individual Research Project

Unit 4 has two parts. Part one is focused on the preparation of your individual research project proposal. Lectures in this part of the unit centre on key issues and problems that pertain to the study of exhibitions. These may include publics, institutions temporality, space, design and narrative. Your research project can focus on a single exhibition or a group of related exhibitions that afford interesting comparisons; a complete institutional programme; or a broader subject-centred study.  

Part two is devoted to independent study and the development and completion of your research project. You will present and discuss your project proposal at a symposium shared across the three MRes pathways. You will also have the opportunity to organise a student-directed group event at the end of the unit. Here you will present your project outcome aims to make potential contributions to the area of exhibition studies. This also provides opportunities for publication or other professional opportunities.  

Mode of study 

MRes Art is offered in extended full-time mode which runs for 60 weeks over two academic years. You will be expected to commit 30 hours per week to study, which includes teaching time and independent study.  

The course has been designed in this way to enable you to pursue studies, while also undertaking part-time employment, internships or care responsibilities.  

Credit and award requirements 

The course is credit-rated at 180 credits.  

On successfully completing the course, you will gain a Master of Research (MRes degree).  

Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications, an MRes is Level 7. All units must be passed in order to achieve the MRes but the classification of the award is derived from the marks for the third and fourth units.  

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. 

Learning and teaching methods

  • Briefing materials, written guidance and meetings 
  • Inductions and workshops 
  • Lectures and guest speakers 
  • Project proposal document for individual programme of study 
  • Off-site, site-specific and collaborative project opportunities 
  • Personal and group tutorials 
  • Seminars and symposium 
  • Presentations and discussion forums 
  • Recommended reading, viewing and visits 
  • Independent study 
  • Self-critical and peer evaluation 
  • Assessment feedback

Assessment methods

  • Research and preparatory work 
  • Project proposal document 
  • Essays 
  • Documentation of work 
  • Verbal and visual presentations 
  • Participation in activities and debate 
  • Realised project work (normally written outputs)

Staff

Helena  Vilalta

Helena Vilalta

Co-Course Leader, MRes Art: Exhibition Studies

David  Morris

David Morris

Co-Course Leader, MRes Art: Exhibition Studies

Yaiza María Hernández Velázquez

Yaiza María Hernández Velázquez

Lecturer, MRes Art; Pathway Leader, MRes Art: Exhibition Studies; Member of Afterall Research Centre

Charles  Esche

Charles Esche

Lecturer and Research Fellow, MRes Art: Exhibition Studies

Lucy  Steeds

Lucy Steeds

Reader, MRes Art: Exhibition Studies

María  Íñigo Clavo

María Íñigo Clavo

Visiting Fellow, MRes Art: Exhibition Studies

Giovanna Morra

Professor of Art and Culture

Núria  Querol

Núria Querol

Associate Lecturer, MRes Art: Exhibition Studies

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 entry requirements for this course are as follows: 

  • An honours degree
  • Or an equivalent EU/international qualification. 

AP(E)L – Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Exceptionally applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered. 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 

Or 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 

IELTS level 7.0 or above, with at least 6.0 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (please check our main English language requirements webpage). 

Selection criteria

We select applicants according to potential and current ability in the following areas:

  • Evidence of skills and experience appropriate to the proposed field of enquiry
  • Effective communication of the intentions and issues in the proposal
  • The level of contextual awareness
  • Awareness of the range and nature of challenges implied.

The interview: for those applicants selected following submission of the form, indicative proposal and supporting work. The interview is used to evaluate the extent to which a candidate demonstrates:

  • The capacity for independent research
  • Appropriate background knowledge and critical abilities
  • Awareness of the cultural and social context within which their interests/work is situated
  • Appropriate communication skills
  • A preparedness to participate collaboratively in debate and presentation.

What we are looking for

We are seeking imaginative, resourceful individuals who are committed to exploring art practice.

Making your application

You should apply by clicking on the link to the direct form below. The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

Deferred entry

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Start your application now

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following information when completing the online application form:

General information

Personal details (including legal full name, date of birth, nationality, addresses)

Current English language level

Current and/or previous education and qualification details

Employment history

Personal Statement

Your personal statement should be approximately 500 words in length, and outline the following:

  • Why you are interested in the course?
  • What aspects of your experience relate to the course?
  • How will the course impact on your future career?

Indicative Project Proposal

To apply for this course we require that you write an initial project proposal. This proposal should demonstrate your critical understanding and thinking. The course sets no boundaries to the fields of possible interest, and it is understood that proposals will evolve and change during the course (you will probably need to write between 800 and 1,000 words).

Summary of proposed project
  • Briefly describe what you are interested in undertaking and developing; describe the overall aims, objectives and rationale of the project.
  • Briefly explain your proposed approach and the methods for structuring your project and ideas
  • Highlight any problems you may encounter and how you hope to solve them.
  • Indicate key texts and sources. What resources will be involved? For example, access to archives, collections, specialist networks etc.
Methods and resources
  • Briefly explain your proposed approach and the methods for structuring your project and ideas
  • Highlight any problems you may encounter and how you hope to solve them.
Sources and references
  • Indicate key texts and sources. What resources will be involved? For example, access to archives, collections, specialist networks etc.
Any final points
  • Please briefly indicate any particular questions or further points in relation to your proposal.
Previous work
  • You will be required to submit digital examples of previous written work and/or documentary material relevant to your research interests.

We cannot consider your application if you do not provide all of the information above.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 1 May 2020 for equal consideration. However this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

There are two ways international students can apply:

  • One of our official representatives in your country
  • A direct application.

If you are applying directly you click on the link to the direct form below. The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

Deferred entry

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Start your application now

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following information when completing the online application form:

General information

Personal details (including legal full name, date of birth, nationality, addresses)

Current English language level

Current and/or previous education and qualification details

Employment history

Personal Statement

Your personal statement should be approximately 500 words in length, and outline the following:

  • Why you are interested in the course?
  • What aspects of your experience relate to the course?
  • How will the course impact on your future career?

Indicative Project Proposal

To apply for this course we require that you write an initial project proposal. This proposal should demonstrate your critical understanding and thinking. The course sets no boundaries to the fields of possible interest, and it is understood that proposals will evolve and change during the course (you will probably need to write between 800 and 1,000 words).

Summary of proposed project
  • Briefly describe what you are interested in undertaking and developing; describe the overall aims, objectives and rationale of the project.
  • Briefly explain your proposed approach and the methods for structuring your project and ideas
  • Highlight any problems you may encounter and how you hope to solve them.
  • Indicate key texts and sources. What resources will be involved? For example, access to archives, collections, specialist networks etc.
Methods and resources
  • Briefly explain your proposed approach and the methods for structuring your project and ideas
  • Highlight any problems you may encounter and how you hope to solve them.
Sources and references
  • Indicate key texts and sources. What resources will be involved? For example, access to archives, collections, specialist networks etc.
Any final points
  • Please briefly indicate any particular questions or further points in relation to your proposal.
Previous work
  • You will be required to submit digital examples of previous written work and/or documentary material relevant to your research interests.

Immigration history check

Whether you are applying online or through a UAL representative you will need to complete an immigration history check to establish whether you are eligible to study at UAL.  If you do not complete the check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

We cannot consider your application if you do not provide all of the information above.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 1 May 2020 for equal consideration. However this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.


After you apply

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application, you will receive an email confirming we have successfully received your application and providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal.  We will request any additional information from you, including inviting you to upload documents or book an audition, through the portal.  You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

What happens next

Initial application check

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course.  Following a review of the application documents, successful applicants will be invited to an interview, either in person or by skype.

Interview

The interview is used to evaluate the extent to which a candidate demonstrates:

  • The capacity for independent research
  • Appropriate background knowledge and critical abilities
  • Awareness of the cultural and social context within which their interests/work is situated
  • Appropriate communication skills
  • A preparedness to participate collaboratively in debate and presentation.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the outcome of your application through the UAL Portal.

Fees & Funding

Home/EU fee

Tuition fees for 2020/21: £5,610 per year. Please note that fees for second year of study will be subject to inflationary increase.

£500 per annum discount for all students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course.

International fee

Tuition fees for 2020/21: £12,940 per year.

£500 per annum discount for all students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course.

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

There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

Our Postgraduate Art Programme offers valuable opportunities to build transferable professional knowledge and skills. The exchange of perspectives with others through shared units, reading groups and debates helps establish stimulating and productive networks.

The focus on proposing and developing a major independent programme of study is supported by a shared professional practice lecture series featuring guest speakers plus opportunities to attend symposia and critique work in progress across subject areas. The Postgraduate Art Programme has wide-ranging links with professional organisations, collections and galleries, and includes opportunities for interaction and networking according to your personal career direction.

MRes Art: Exhibition Studies is unique in its relationship with Afterall, the high-profile international art publishers based at CSM. MRes Art: Exhibition Studies is spearheaded by academic expertise within the Afterall team and benefits from the professional international networking opportunities created by publishing projects. Publications include the Afterall journal and the 'Exhibition Histories' series of books - these can provide opportunities for student involvement in professional practice as well as relevant contacts for individual research and career development.

MRes Art: Exhibition Studies equips you to understand the history of contemporary art practice through a new prism - one that reflects your practice as writer, artist or curator. You'll be able to analyse the evolution and influence of the curator and the institution in contemporary art practice, to examine critically strategies of display (both from an artistic and curatorial perspective), and to articulate thought critically.

MRes Art: Exhibition Studies graduates will be particularly well qualified to engage in professional research and publication activities and to initiate postgraduate research projects for MPhil or PhD. Career development opportunities exist in a wide range of roles and directions within contemporary arts institutions, businesses, museums and collections, both in London and internationally.

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