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MFA in Curating

  • Length
    2 years full-time; or 1 year full-time and 2 years part-time
  • Department
    Art

Course overview

The programme is designed for students who wish to take up the challenge of contemporary curating as an artistic, social and critical undertaking, and who wish to develop their professional practice in this area.

This two-part programme is designed to develop professional and academic excellence in the field of contemporary curatorial practice. It's aimed at curators and those with related academic and practical experience who wish to achieve professional excellence in their practice, to innovate in the expanding field of curatorial practice.

MFA Curating at Goldsmiths focuses in-depth on aesthetic, social, political and philosophical questions that are brought to bear in any place or at any event in which contemporary art is situated.

The programme is designed to provide a practice-led research context for students at any stage of their professional practice. 

It also enables you to experiment and innovate in the expanded field of curatorial pedagogy, to collaborate on an interdisciplinary basis and extend your and other students' knowledge through this process.

Goldsmiths' MFA Curating programme is recognised worldwide for producing highly qualified curators and other arts professionals.

Our graduates find employment in top international museums, commercial galleries, auction houses, magazines, alternative spaces and not-for-profit organisations. Others choose employment as artist’s studio managers; arts education programmers; museum public talks and events organisers; gallery archivists and registrars.

Recent speakers

Recent speakers have included: Iwona Blazwick OBE, Whitechapel Gallery, London; Francesco Bonami, MCA Chicago; Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, 14th Istanbul Biennial; Julia Bryan-Wilson, University of California at Berkeley; Céline Condorelli, artist and co-founder of Eastside Projects, Birmingham; Diedrich Diedrichsen, Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna; Alex Farquharson, Nottingham Contemporary; Ryan Gander, artist; Mark Godfrey, Tate Modern, London; Boris Groys, Center for Art and Media Technology, Karlsruhe; Matthew Higgs, White Columns, New York; Jens Hoffman, Jewish Museum, New York; Laura Hoptman, MoMA, New York; Anthony Huberman, CCA Wattis Institute, San Francisco; James Lingwood, Artangel, London; Gregor Muir, ICA, London; Paul O’Neill, CCS Bard College, New York; Scott Rothkopf, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Adrian Searle, The Guardian; Polly Staple, Chisenhale Gallery, London.

Recent Visiting Tutors

Chris Evans, artist; Lisa La Feuvre, Henry Moore Institute; Goldin+Senneby, Stockholm-based artists; Luis Jacob, Toronto-based artist; Tom Morton, frieze magazine; Paul O Neill, critic and curator; Sally O'Reilly, independent critic and curator; Mike Sperlinger, Lux; Rob Tuffnell, 83 Page Street; Alex Sainsbury, Raven Row; Lucy Byatt, Contemporary Art Society; Gavin Wade, Eastside Projects; Lydia Yee, Barbican Art Gallery; Form/Content

Work experience

The Tate Modern annually offers two hands-on internships to Goldsmiths MFA Curating students, who are given the opportunity to work directly on an exhibition matched to the students' interests. Accepted Goldsmiths curating students are given details on how to apply for a Tate Modern internship prior to starting the school year.

Other institutions with which the Goldsmiths MFA Curating programme has collaborated on real-life curatorial projects include 176/Zabludowicz Collection, London; Form/Content, London; ICA/Fourth Plinth Project, London, and more.

Each year, part 1 Goldsmiths curating students are invited to pitch an exhibition proposal to the Government Art Collection, using works from this important national collection as the basis for a contemporary art exhibition. The successful projects are realised during the final year.

Guest Research Student

If you are an international student and would like to study a 'tailor-made' programme (for up to a year), you may be interested in applying as a Guest Research Student.

Further information

Why not visit one of our Postgraduate Art Open Days? You can also visit our Exhibitions and Events Archive

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Helena Reckitt

Modules & structure

In Year One, you're introduced to a series of curatorial concepts and practices through group analysis and guided research. There are also group seminars that look into significant ideas in philosophy and cultural theory to help you think broadly about your own practice

In Year Two, intensive workshops look in depth at a set of artistic and cultural themes chosen by the students. In Year Two you further develop independent curatorial research and practice, working either on your own ideas or with a London-based gallery or institution. The summer term of Year One acts as a transition to Year Two.

Government Art Collection

Each year, part 1 Goldsmiths curating students are invited to pitch an exhibition proposal to the Government Art Collection, using works from this important national collection as the basis for a contemporary art exhibition. The successful projects are realised during the final year.

Year one

Module title Credits
  Curatorial Practice n/a
  Critical Studies n/a
  Review Sessions n/a

Year two

Module title Credits
  Curatorial Practice II n/a
  Critical Studies Year 2 N/A
  Review Sessions II n/a

Download the programme specification for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Department

We have a world-leading reputation that brings together
students and researchers from all over the globe

Art

We specialise in making, curating and writing about contemporary art in a dynamic, critical and interdisciplinary environment.

And we work with a network of artists, curators, galleries and museums in both London and internationally to create an inspiring and dynamic place in which to study and develop an artistic practice.

Our alumni go on to do great things. Many of them are among the most recognised names working in art today, and since 1990 they’ve been nominated for the Turner Prize more than 30 times, winning the prize on seven occasions.

Find out more about the Department of Art

Staff

Student work

Chris Lux: Sometimes I say, hey, hey Mark.
Exquisite Collapse, at Blip Blip Blip.
Viktor Timofeev: Proxyah (v2), at JupiterWoods.
Page

 

Skills & careers

Skills

Independent research and practice; public presentation; oral and written communication; project development; exhibition administration; concept development; collaboration; intellectual analysis; catalogue, essay and review writing; research organisation and presentation.

Careers

Graudates from the MFA in Curating go on to work in galleries and museums; as managers and directors in commercial galleries; independent curators; cultural policy makers, teachers and academics; writers and critics.

Recent employers of our MFA Curating students and graduates include:

Public sector

  • Tate Britain, London
  • Tate Modern, London
  • Guggenheim Museum, New York
  • Documenta, Kassel
  • Venice Biennale
  • Athens Biennial
  • Sydney Biennale
  • Portikus, Frankfurt
  • Witte de With, Rotterdam
  • FRAC Lorraine
  • Hayward Gallery, London
  • Hayward Touring Exhibitions, London
  • Museo d’Arte Moderna, Bologna
  • Modern Art Oxford
  • London Olympic Park (art sector)
  • Artists Space, New York
  • Henry Moore Institute, Leeds
  • Art on the Underground, London
  • Art Space, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Austrian Cultural Foundation. London
  • Romanian Cultural Institute, London
  • Spike Island, Bristol
  • Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham

Private sector

  • 176 Gallery, Zabludowicz Collection, London
  • Bloomberg Space, London
  • Christie’s, Amsterdam
  • Deitch Projects, New York
  • Deste Foundation, Athens
  • Frith Street Gallery, London
  • Haunch of Venison, Berlin
  • Kadist Art Foundation, Paris
  • Kate MacGarry Gallery, London
  • Kurimanzutto, Mexico City
  • Lisson Gallery, London
  • Matt’s Gallery, London
  • David Roberts Collection, London
  • White Cube Gallery, London
  • Vienna Art Fair, Vienna

Publications

  • Artforum, New York
  • Frieze, London
  • Flash Art International, Milan

Some of our graduates have founded their own projects and galleries, among these:

Student profiles

Kathy

"I chose to take the MFA Curating at Goldsmiths as the course was less 'formal' than that of other institutions."

"I chose to take the MFA Curating at Goldsmiths as the course was less 'formal' than that of other institutions, such as the Royal College of Art. It also seemed to allow more freedom of approach, rather than producing one group show at the end of the course.

The programme’s position within the Art department also strongly appealed to me, as being close to artists working, and forming close relationships with them, is one of the most important elements of being a curator to me.

Irini Papadimitriou

"My work brings together artists, designers, engineers and scientists presenting intersections of art, design and technology."

At the V&A, I am responsible for programmes such as Digital Futures - an open platform & networking event for displaying and discussing work by researchers, artists, designers, companies and other professionals working with art, technology, design, science and beyond - and I am also curating the annual Digital Design Weekend - a big-scale event that brings together artists, designers, engineers and scientists presenting intersections of art, design and technology.

At Watermans, I am curating the exhibition programme and an annual Digital Performance festival, exploring intersections in digital art, dance, sound, performance, science and more.

Curated projects highlights include Unleashed Devices, an exhibition of DIY media, hacking/tinkering; Scenocosme’s immersive forest installation Alsos and interactive garden Akousmaflore; ISOCULTURE, exploring extreme living conditions and isolation by Michael Burton & Michiko Nitta; The Romantic Disease by Anna Dumitriu, an art/science investigation into mankind’s strange relationship with TB; Is Technology Eating my Brain? by Paul Granjon; Living Data by Michael Takeo Magruder; Art That Makes Itself by Paul & Daniel Brown; Bodies of Planned Obsolescence.

I am also one of the organisers for London’s first Mini Maker Faire, and Maker Assembly.

Goldsmiths prepared me for my future career in a number of ways. This includes helping me to develop critical thinking and developing relationships with lecturers and visiting speakers who gave me advice and support. During my degree I also did work experience at an established commercial art gallery and took part in a curatorial project at South London Gallery, as well as an international exhibition.

 

Vita

"I was familiar with the college’s lively academic and creative environment"

"When I enrolled in the then-named MA in Creative Curating, I was making work as an artist and the word ‘creative’ signaled the flexibility of art world positions and an innovative approach to curating. Having graduated from Goldsmiths in 1999 with a BA in Fine Art and Art History, I was familiar with the college’s lively academic and creative environment, and expected that the energy of different disciplines would indirectly interact with the Curating course, too."

See more profiles for this programme

Entry requirements

There's no preference for art/art history and students from a non-art background are welcome to apply. However, the course is run by the Department of Art, and students should consider themselves to be curating practitioners.

Applicants for Year One (Diploma stage): undergraduate degree of at least second class standard (or international equivalent) plus an element of professional experience (interning in a gallery or equivalent institution, curating own shows or degree shows etc).

Applicants for entry directly onto Year Two: full-time or part-time routes must show through interview and, where appropriate, portfolio that they have established a professional practice and have already fulfilled the criteria demanded at the end of Year One of the programme through professional curatorial, academic or artistic experience.

Work experience is absolutely essential to demonstrate that you have a clear sense of current trends and activities in contemporary art. This should be demonstrated through your experience, and expanded upon in your personal statement.

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

IELTS 7.0 (including 7.0 in the written test)

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online

          Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement

  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)

If appropriate, your application can be accompanied by images showing examples of previous curatorial projects (it's not necessary to showcase your own art work). You can upload images or link to your online portolio in your application. 

Make sure you refer to your work experience in your personal statement. If you have completed an internship, please be specific about what this entailed and how it is relevant to the programme. Also mention which curators/practioners have influenced you – we are looking for individuals with specific passions. It may be relevant to mention specific exhibitions or artworks that you have seen in person that were meaningful to you, and explain why, or discuss the art-specialist magazines or books that you have read. In summary, be prepared to discuss the specific elements (whether artworks, artists, art writing, philosophy, exhibitions, or more) that brought you to take a special interest in contemporary art curating.

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

When to apply

You can apply all year round but there is a deadline of 15 January for entry for the following September. Admissions interviews predominantly take place from January - April in the year of academic enrolment. In unusual circumstances, late or early applicants will be considered. Please contact the department for details.

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification.

If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.

Find out more about applying.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Find out more about tuition fees.

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

There are funding opportunities available on our departmental awards page.

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