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 in online and physical spaces.
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.