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

Francesca Altamura

The organization of the course mimicked the real-life enterprise of a curator—in having to constantly conceive innovative content that is both academically sound, relevant, and, hopefully, visually stimulating and provocative.

Why did you choose this programme?

One word: access. While living in London for two years, I had access to a great city with a thriving cultural landscape—famed public collections, dynamic institutions, and innovative nonprofit and project spaces. I knew I didn’t want to be isolated from the rest of the world, or the art world, during this time, and sought instead a programme that would bring me out from the library and into artists’ studios and galleries, and back again. I also wanted access to the very diverse and internationally-based student body who were attracted to Goldsmith’s program—I met fellow students who, I believe, will be life-long friends—from London, and also from places like Mexico City, Manila, Santa Fe, Arnis, and Kampala.

What was your overall experience of the course?

I was always challenged by the faculty, the guest speakers, the readings and the projects we were assigned. The organization of the course mimicked the real-life enterprise of a curator—in having to constantly conceive innovative content that is both academically sound, relevant, and, hopefully, visually stimulating and provocative. The faculty encouraged us to probe deeply into the socio-political and economic structures underpinning the art, theory, and narratives we were engaging with, and lead by the example with their own writings and programming. I thrived because of the healthy distribution of class time, coursework, and personal time for museum-going and socializing with the many colleagues—curators, artists, and other arts workers, who I’m friends with to this day. The course afforded me enough time that I was also to hold a part-time job at the non-profit art space Studio Voltaire, which was an economic plus that also afforded me additional professional experience.

What have you done since graduating?

For a few months after graduating, I spent my time between New York, Berlin, and Mexico City, pursuing independent projects with my Goldsmiths classmates, while applying for full-time curatorial work. Shortly thereafter, I was hired as a temporary Curatorial Assistant at the New Museum in New York, for the 2018 Triennial: Songs for Sabotage, co-curated by Gary Carrion-Murayari and Alex Gartenfeld. Ultimately, I was hired full-time and have been at the New Museum ever since. One of my proudest achievements to date, however, has been in organizing the New Museum Union, which formed in January 2019 with UAW-Local 2110. I served on the Bargaining Committee throughout the organizing process, and now represent my colleagues as Union Delegate. Advocating for a fair and equitable art world, while also helping to produce the timely and dynamic programming that the New Museum is known for, are two facets of my current practice which are indebted to my education at Goldsmiths, which prioritized political awareness and critical thinking.

In what ways do you think the course has influenced or fed into your practice?

I often debated with my former classmates and friends as to who got the most out of the MFA Curating course: the students who came with already developed practices and pre-conceived exhibition concepts waiting to be more fully developed; or someone like me, who arrived to class with less-well developed research interests and who was on a more open path of intellectual discovery throughout the program. The Goldsmiths course definitely taught me how to think and frame my perspectives, which has impacted both my work at the New Museum and my independent projects.

What advice would you offer current Goldsmiths MFA Curating students?

I would share with them the necessity to work collaboratively, to serve the public, and to continue to fight for respect, pay equity, and fair conditions for ALL art workers—solidarity forever!

Image: Sydney Shen: Onion Master

Sohyeon Park

The course certainly strengthened my knowledge of the international art scene and current curatorial discourses. 

Why did you choose this programme?

MFA Curating was my only choice for a Masters programme. Firstly, I wanted to be in London since it is one of the central cities for contemporary art and from there it was easy to travel around Europe to have a real experience of the European contemporary art scene. Secondly, it was because of the school’s reputation for contemporary art and curating. I was in need of finding own curatorial standpoint and deepening my research skills after a few years working as a curator in Korea.

What was your overall experience of the course?

It was even better than my expectations. The biggest privilege for me was being amongst the intellectual fellow students and tutors. I learned a lot from them while having classroom discussions as well as outside class. The course was very intense with lots of reading and writing. The choices of subjects and reading materials were excellent in enhancing my knowledge of the field, and the focus on writing helped me to organize a critical way of thinking. But the real changes and integration of all this knowledge came from discussions where I learned from others’ different perspectives and listened to their field experiences.

What have you done since graduating?

Since then, I came back to South Korea and became a curator and founding member of Barakat Contemporary in Seoul. Korea has a well-developed critical contemporary art scene with many good artists, art institutions and governmental supports. However, Barakat Contemporary responded to what it perceived as the weakness in the stable art market, collectors and patron culture to support artistic practice in the long term. We therefore built a gallery that aimed to foster this culture and to connect the international and domestic art market with critical and institutional relations. We put a lot of effort into research and curating for the underlying gallery strategies as well as for each exhibition.

In what ways do you think the course has influenced or fed into your practice?

It helped me broaden my perspective on the contemporary art field. The course certainly strengthened my knowledge of the international art scene and current curatorial discourses. During the first year, the course was intense with seminars and discussions. In the second year, it focused more on personal research. If the first year is like learning how to cook and what ingredients to choose, the second year is the stage when the actual cooking starts. In the second year, I went deeper into my fundamental research on art, history, different historical perspectives and perceptions between different cultures. It was an interesting period that in turn led to many further questions. 



What advice would you offer current Goldsmiths MFA Curating students?

Try to keep making trials and errors. In some ways I was a bit lost when I was studying with so much information to digest. The actual integration of knowledge that I gained at Goldsmiths really started after I graduated. Especially if you are someone who comes from to the UK from a distant region, and are a non-native English speaker, the course can be very intense. But if you make it through to the end you will be qualified to some extent as a curator. So believe in yourself, and keep trying working at your own speed.


For me, curating is a very appealing subject to study as well as a career to have. You have your own standpoint and you can connect all the dots around you; artworks, artists, people, institutions, social/cultural/historical issues etc. Curatorial subjects can be varied in temporal and spatial spectrums. You can explore and research any kind of subjects for your practice. There is always so much to learn.

Pavel Pys

I chose the program having admired the variety of work undertaken by recent graduates in the field, the culture at Goldsmiths College that encourages interdisciplinary thinking, as well as the profiles of the course tutors.

Why did you choose this programme?

I chose the program having admired the variety of work undertaken by recent graduates in the field, the culture at Goldsmiths College that encourages interdisciplinary thinking, as well as the profiles of the course tutors.

What was your overall experience of the course?

Positive: I especially enjoyed the multi-perspectival, adventurous and interdisciplinary nature of the course, which encouraged drawing upon sources in all types of fields to think through questions of curating. I met incredible friends and future colleagues from around the world.

What have you done since graduating?

Immediately after graduating, I was lucky to have been awarded two opportunities: the Young Curator’s Residency at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin and the inaugural Zabludowicz Collection Curatorial Open. Between 2011 and 2015, I was the Exhibitions & Displays Curator at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds. Since 2016, I have worked as a Curator in the Visual Arts Department at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, where I have had the opportunity to curate interdisciplinary projects across the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, the Walker’s galleries and theater, as well as contribute to building the permanent collection.

In what ways do you think the course has influenced or fed into your practice?

The course dovetailed the practical issues of exhibition-making with the larger theoretical/critical approaches and concerns. I think my work has been influenced by the way in which the course approaches art and visual culture – with curiosity and adventurousness, and an embrace of all kinds of references and sources.

What advice would you offer current Goldsmiths MFA Curating students?

Make the most of what the course and your colleagues offer, meet as many artists and see as much art as possible in London, travel frequently if you can. Apply for opportunities as well as make your own!

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 of Art 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.
Page

 

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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