Course information

Department

Art

Length

2 years full-time; or 1 year full-time and 2 years part-time

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.

The programme is situated within the Department of Art, and draws it understanding of contemporary art as a practice from this setting. As a curating student, you will thus be working alongside the postgraduate fine art students and MA artist film students, allowing for a unique dialogue among emerging practitioners about contemporary and future practice, and the most pressing concerns of our day. We are currently based in same building in Deptford, an area fast becoming an important hub for emerging artists and galleries.

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 takes place.

The programme is designed to provide a practice-led research context for students at any stage of their professional practice., ansd is aimed at curators, artists and those with relevant academic and practical experience.

As a two part programme, MFA Curating enables you to experiment and innovate in the expanded field of curatorial practice, to collaborate on an interdisciplinary basis and extend your and other students' knowledge through this process, through an ongoing conversation in the forms of seminars, workshops, tutorials, reading groups and writing classes. Our teaching is based on an art school model of individual trajectories, and we will help you develop the style and area of practice you want to pursue and refine; but just in terms of exhibition-making, but also public programming, screening series, social projects and various forms of curatorial writing.

Goldsmiths' MFA Curating programme is recognised worldwide for producing highly qualified curators and other arts professionals, as well as pursuing further academic study on a PhD level.

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 and visiting lecturers

Barby Asante, Artist and Curator, London, Asleigh Barice, Founder and Director, b.Dewitt Gallery, London, Christina Barton, Director, Adam Art Gallery, Victoria University, Wellington, Jochen Becker, Independent Curator, Berlin, Iwona Blazwick OBE, Director, Whitechapel Gallery, London, Melanie Bouteloup, Director, Betonsalon, Paris, Brad Butler, Artist, London, Ruth Catlow, Co-Director, Furtherfield, London, Persilia Caton, Curator, SPACE, London, Aaron Cezar, Director of Delfina Foundation, London, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Director of Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Teresa Cisneros, Inclusive Practice Lead, Wellcome Collection, London, Anna Colin, Director, Open School East, Margate, Celine Condorelli, artist and cofounder of Eastside Projects, Birmingham, Mathieu Copeland, Independent Curator, London, Alfredo Cramerotti, Director, Mostyn, Llandudno, Elvira Dyangani-Ose, Director, The Showroom, London, Rozsa Farkas, Director, Arcadia Missa, London, Cédric Fauq, Curator, Nottingham , Contemporary, Nottingham, Ryan Gander, Artist, London, Gavin Grindon, Co-curator ‘Disobedient Objects,’ Victoria & Albert Museum, and lecturer Essex University, Carles Guerra, Director, Fundacio Tapies, Barcelona, Hou Hanru, Director, MAXXI, Rome, Maria Hlavajova, Director, BAK, Utrecht, Amal Khalaf, Director of Programmes, Cubitt Gallery, London, Daria Khan, Director, Mimosa House, London, James Lingwood, Co-Director, Artangel, Andrea Lissoni, Artistic Director, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Sarah McCrory, Director, Goldsmiths CCA, Marie-Anne McQuay, Head of Programme, Bluecoat, Liverpool, Grace Ndiritu, Artist, London, Christopher Rawcliffe, Artistic Director, Forma Arts, London, Markus Reymann, Director TBA21 Academy, London & Vienna, Erica Scourti, Artist, London, Adrian Searle, Critic, The Guardian, Louise Shelley, Curatorial Fellow, Cubitt, London, Kuba Szreder, Independent Curator, Warsaw, George Vasey, Curator, Wellcome Collection, London, Victor Wang, Artistic Director & Chief Curator, M Woods Museum, Beijing, Catherine Wood, Curator of Performance, Tate Modern, Lydia Yee, Chief Curator, Whitechapel Gallery, London.

Work experience and Professional Development

The course offers students the possibility of realizing curatorial projects through our associations with Chisenhale Studios, Cubitt, Deptford X, EnclaveLab and the Swiss Church, and students will be engaging directly with the Goldsmiths CCA on their events programme. We also offer opportunities for professional development through our placements at Tate Modern and collaboration with New Contemporaries.

The Tate Modern annually offers two hands-on placements 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. New Contemporaries offers a three month paid internship during the summer term.

Upon graduation, graduates will also be eligible for one of our three Junior Fellowships, designed to further your professional development. Currently we are offering one fellowship to work with the MFA Curating itself, partaking in the delivery of an academic programme, and two fellowships based in the Goldsmiths’ CCA, partaking in delivering its exhibitions and public programmes.

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.

What you'll study

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.

Year one

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

Year two

Year two modules Module title Credits
  Curatorial Practice II n/a
  Critical Studies Year 2 N/A

Download the programme specification. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

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

What our students say

Oona Doyle

"I was at the epicentre of where new ideas were being formed, which was very exciting. The programme seemed very on point regarding contemporary issues, notably around technology, ecology, politics, gender."

"I was always drawn to Goldsmiths for its reputation as a forward-thinking, experimental, artistic and engaging place, for its interests in contemporary art theory and anthropology. During my art history BA I started a publication called 'Plateau', which brought together emerging artists and writers from different universities across the world around a central theme. I very much enjoyed the collaborative process it entailed, the confrontation and dialogue that came about when bringing together different viewpoints. After studying the history of art, I felt the urge to understand at a deeper level the practice of present-day, living artists and how they reflect on our time. The process of researching and mapping contemporary threads in our cultural landscape was intellectually stimulating for me. Curating seemed like the right fit. I heard that the Goldsmiths MFA Curating programme was one of the best, so I applied.

In retrospect, the course had a great influence on my way of thinking and approaching the world. I felt like I was at the epicentre of where new ideas were being formed, which was very exciting. The programme seemed very on point regarding contemporary issues, notably around technology, ecology, politics, gender… I would say the way we approached things was open and thorough with a sense of urgency; this really allowed us to exercise our thinking and develop news ideas. Also, I met very inspiring people there from everywhere in the world, some of whom are now very close friends. There are some great professional opportunities, as well as education workshops outside the classroom, which allow you to acquire a range of very different experiences. My experience with the curatorial internship at Tate Modern, in light of the ideas I was exploring at Goldsmiths, was eye opening. As for the course work, I had to learn to be very self-disciplined.

After graduating I finished an internship at Tate Modern, where I worked on the Sigmar Polke retrospective, as well as researching contemporary and modern artworks by Eastern European artists for the museum’s collections acquisition committee. This research involved questioning what constitutes ‘European post-war art’ through the examination of women artists and former-eastern block sensibilities. I published part of my Goldsmiths dissertation on ctc (curating the contemporary). I wrote a series of poems that function as micro-exhibitions published online. For each exhibition-poem, artworks were featured through the use of hyperlinks.

Then, I started a job at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, assisting the Director of the then-upcoming London gallery. After a year and a half as an executive assistant, I started helping with research, writing, editing and translation. I am now Director of Publications, having edited and produced over 20 publications for the gallery. At the gallery, I have had the opportunity to co-curate a large-scale exhibition titled It comes in Waves, which brought together 16 artists (Miquel Barceló, Georg Baselitz, Rosemarie Castoro, Richard Deacon, Elger Esser, Valie Export, Anselm Kiefer, Wolfgang Laib, Jason Martin, Justin Matherly, Sigmar Polke, Marc Quinn, Arnulf Rainer, Pat Steir, Not Vital and Lawrence Weiner) and organised a number of events, notably screenings and performances. The ideas discussed in the Goldsmiths MFA Curating Affect Studies workshop, in Year Two, were particularly inspiring when conceiving this specific exhibition.

It has sharpened my way of thinking and envisioning, deepened my knowledge of art, awakened my feminist and political consciousness and opened my academic interests to subjects that I would have perhaps not approached otherwise. It has anchored my practice in the present, encouraging me to consider more contemporary, pressing issues.

I would advise current students to apply to all the amazing side-project opportunities that are offered through the course. For some reason there are some I did not apply to, and I now regret these missed opportunities. I recommend reaching out and meeting the other MFA students and the different communities and research centres of the university but also in the London art communities at large. I remember meeting the people from the Forensic Architecture centre, whose research was fascinating. I recommend taking the opportunity to experiment, test out ideas and read as much as possible. Because once you start working you don’t have time to delve as deep. I would recommend this programme for students that have a particular project they want to carry out. The course will give you the perfect framework and all the tools to bring it to fruition."

Ying-Hsuan Tai

"Our programme and Goldsmiths itself offered an environment to explore contemporary art and rethink how we can work within the arts in different ways."

"MFA Curating at Goldsmiths had always been my first choice of masters programme. My former tutor had graduated from the course a few years before me and she had shared her experiences. Our programme and Goldsmiths itself offered an environment to explore contemporary art and rethink how we can work within the arts in different ways.

I was particularly pleased with how the course shed light on conducting independent work and trained us as independent curators. We learned from our own research projects, worked collaboratively with our peers during workshops, and also learnt through the organic conversations we had both on and off campus. We were encouraged to collaborate with different types of institutions and work closely with artists, which amplified the core concept of the course. 

During the two-year programme we never stopped rethinking the definition of 'Curating.' Instead of a noun we limit ourselves to achieving, or a verb that we action, we explored how curating is an open and equivocal term that continues to be redefined, expanding the meaning through our own methodologies. This reflection has had a huge impact on my thinking and practice, from curatorial projects to my current role.

Since graduating I have written for art magazines and museum journals. My articles have been published in the museum journal of Taiwan Fine Arts Museum and the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts Magazine in Taiwan, and in Art Forum China. I am a regular contributor to The Artist magazine and cultural newspaper The Affairs. Recently, I was appointed as an editor and writer for Taipei Dangdai art fair's online editorial platform. Currently I am working at White Cube gallery in London, supporting our Asia team on sales and the regional programme. Regarding my curatorial practice, my recent projects include 'Create Syria: A Future Constellation' in 2016, a joint project collaborating with International Alert, the British Council, and Ettijahat - Independent Culture; and 'The Xenophobia of Time?,' 2017, an exhibition featuring four artists exploring the pertinent issues of migration and its link to temporality, at Clerkenwell Gallery in London. I also worked with the art and humanitarian organisation Between Borders as their curator from 2016 to 2017, and have given public talks at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Arts and University College London.

Current Goldsmiths MFA Curating sutdents should cultivate the relationships they make with people they meet during their studies. Try and spend as much time as you can with your colleagues and fellow students as you can learn from them not only while on the course, but also after graduating. Spending time with Fine Art students in the Art Department is also really valuable as you are so close to artists which helps to understand their practice. After graduating, do remember your true beliefs and your initial motivation for wanting to work in the arts. Keeping that in mind will lead you to the road that you are aiming to reach."

 

Marina Maximova

"The programme appealed to me also because I was keen to explore the wider understanding of curating, which goes beyond the exhibition making and considers public programming and social projects."

"I was drawn to Goldsmiths because of its reputation and wanted to be in the critical environment that it is famous for. I knew a number of people who graduated from the MFA Curating as well as Fine Art and heard a lot about the variety of cultural theories and philosophical concepts that students get exposed to. I saw it as a perfect place to start developing my own research, but also to be immersed in a wider critical discussion. The programme appealed to me also because I was keen to explore the wider understanding of curating, which goes beyond the exhibition making and considers public programming and social projects. Moreover, I was very interested in the practice-led approach of the programme the opportunities to get experience working in London art institutions.

Two years on MFA Curating were very challenging but if I had the opportunity to come back and do the course again I definitely would. The course made me reconsider the way I had previously understood and approached art. It helped me to become much more confident and independent and to find my own voice. I valued the fact that the programme was very much informed by the tutors’ personal research and the diversity of their interests and approaches. The classmates were another source of knowledge and inspiration. It was great to be a member of an international group of people coming from all kinds of backgrounds. I am still in touch with many of them and the connections and friendships I have made throughout the course are invaluable.

 I also enjoyed the opportunities that the course offered. For example, during the programme I had the chance to co-curate an exhibition at the Zabludowicz collection with fellow curating students and get experience working on the Malevich retrospective at Tate Modern. This helped me a lot in expanding my practical skills and theoretical knowledge while contributing to the development of my own research.

Straight after the course I embarked on the PhD programme in Loughborough University School of Social Science and Humanities. My research focuses on curatorial practices in late Soviet Russia. My thesis offered a critical history of curation in Moscow in the period between 1974 and 1993 and argued that the history of curation can be used as a lens though which to examine how culture is negotiated during a period of social change and transformation. I have published a few papers exploring the relations between curatorial practices and the development of public sphere in the USSR and other aspects of the late Soviet art. Currently, I am working on a book proposal, which would consider the gender dynamic of late Soviet curation, and am planning to continue developing research in the field.

While in Loughborough I started teaching art theory on BA Fine Art. My experience at Goldsmiths was very helpful and inspired my own teaching practice. After the completion of my PhD I joined Sotheby’s Institute of Art as Lecturer in Art Business. I teach a variety of modules and focus primarily on the intersections of private and public sectors, collecting strategies, public art institutions and Russian Art and Eastern European art markets.

The course played a huge role in what I am doing now. It made me reconsider what curation is and how it influences and informs social life. My PhD proposal developed organically from the project I was doing during the programme and was inspired by the ideas introduced during the study. The works of the tutors, particularly Simon Sheikh and Helena Reckitt, informed the development of the PhD argument and continue to inspire me now.

The main advice I could give is to value your time as a student and be open to any opportunity. You never know where each of them might take you."

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 completed and passed the coursework of one year for an equivalent Masters programme in Curating.  

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.

International qualifications

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

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Annual tuition fees

These are the fees for students starting their programme in the 2020/21 academic year.

  • Home - full-time: £8640
  • Home - part-time: £4330
  • EU - full-time: £8640
  • EU - part-time: £4330
  • International - full-time: £21090

If your fees are not listed here, please check our postgraduate fees guidance or contact the Fees Office, who can also advise you about how to pay your fees.

It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time if you require a Tier 4 student visa, however this is currently being reviewed and will be confirmed in the new year. Please read our visa guidance in the interim for more information. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.

If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.

Additional costs

In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.

There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments. Please check the programme specification for more information.

Funding opportunities

Find out more about postgraduate fees and explore funding opportunities. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

There are also funding opportunities available on our departmental awards page.

 

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 portfolio 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.

Facilities

Students studying this programme are based in dedicated postgraduate studio space in Lewisham Southwark College at Deptford Bridge.

Deptford is home to a burgeoning creative community with centres such as BEARSPACE, a gallery run by a former Goldsmiths student.

The postgraduate studios are a short walk from the art practice areas in New Cross. You may also choose to travel by bus between the two sites, which would incur a small travel cost.

Staff

Student work

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

Graduates from the MFA Curating go on to work in galleries and museums; as managers and directors in commercial galleries; independent curators; cultural policymakers, 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:

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