Course information

Department

Art

Length

2 years full-time; or 4 years part-time

Course overview

Goldsmiths' operating principles for 2022-23 have not yet been finalised but should changes be required to teaching in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will publish these as early as possible for prospective students wishing to start their programme in September 2022.

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.

  • MFA Curating at Goldsmiths concerns itself with aesthetic, social, political and philosophical enquiries, practices and discourses that are relevant to cultural production at large in this day and age. Focused on the contemporary, while acknowledging the past through the study of the genealogies of curating as a discipline, the programme further looks to anticipate what curatorial practice – institutionally, independently and otherwise – might look like and mean tomorrow.
  • The programme provides a practice-led research context for aspiring curators, cultural organisers and producers; creative practitioners at an early stage of their professional development; as well as those looking for a shift in their art career.
  • As a two-part programme, MFA Curating will enable you to experiment and innovate in the expanded and interdisciplinary field of curatorial practice, work on Independent Research Projects (in Year One and Two); extend your artistic and curatorial base of knowledge through an ongoing conversation in the forms of seminars, collective research and presentations, tutorials, reading groups, site visits and writing classes (in Year One); and cooperating with peers on the organisation of practice- and knowledge-sharing workshops (in Year Two).
  • Interdisciplinarity, critical thinking, practices of listening and collaboration are key principles of the programme. These principles will help you to develop the style and area of practice that you want to pursue and refine, whether exhibition-making, public programming, commissioning social and/or public projects, working with artists as well as practitioners from other disciplines.
  • Being situated within the Department of Art, the programme allows for dialogue and potential collaborations among emerging practitioners about contemporary and future practice, and the most pressing concerns of our day.
  • Goldsmiths’ MFA Curating is recognised worldwide for producing highly qualified curators and other arts professionals, as well as those pursuing further academic study at PhD level.
  • Our graduates find employment in key international museums, commercial galleries, art fairs, magazines, alternative spaces and not-for-profit organisations. Others choose employment as artists’ studio managers; arts education programmers; museum public talks and events organisers; gallery archivists, editors, and registrars.
  • 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 Simon Sheikh or Anna Colin or 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.

Work experience and Professional Development

  • The course offers students the possibility to realise curatorial projects through our associations with Chisenhale Studios, Kunstraum London, and Cubitt Artists. Students also have the opportunity to engage directly with Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA)  on their public events programme.
  • Opportunities for professional development exist through curatorial placements at institutions including Tate Modern and a three-month paid internship with New Contemporaries.
  • Upon graduation, graduates are eligible for one of three Junior Fellowships, designed to further their professional development. Currently, we offer one fellowship to work with the MFA Curating courses itself, partaking in the delivery of an academic programme, and two fellowships based at Goldsmiths CCA, supporting the delivery of exhibitions and public programmes.

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

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.

For 2021-22 and 2020–21, we have made some changes to how the teaching and assessment of certain programmes are delivered. To check what changes affect this programme, please visit the programme changes page.

What our students say

Anca Rujoiu

As the course is not prescriptive in terms of what curating is and in what format research can be articulated, it allowed me to find my voice.

Why did you choose this programme?

I knew a bit about the programme from a former graduate, I was aware of Goldsmiths’s history and politics. At the time I applied, however, what spoke strongly to me was the fact that the programme was within the art department and curating sat alongside fine art. This close proximity was the deciding factor in my choice.

What was your overall experience of the course?

Goldsmiths was a formative journey. If I put all the pieces together, this journey would take in my imagination the shape of a bildungsroman. The course was part of the larger experience of relocating to a new country, forming new and enduring friendships, discovering the city of London through its thriving cultural scene, but also struggling to pay the tuition and the monthly rent.

What made the course special and valuable to me was its peer orientation. We were there to learn from each other. My peers (and we were all women in that graduating cohort) hailed from different parts of Europe and the Americas: Brazil, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States. We were seeing exhibitions together, we were discussing texts and writers, we were cooking together, we were sharing thoughts, fears, and ideals trying to make sense of this collective journey. The programme was structured in a way to allow exchanges to take place inside and outside the seminar room. We were encouraged by the teaching staff to shape the discussions, and with this independence came the responsibility to make the exchanges relevant and in-depth.

As part of the course, we had different opportunities to put ideas into practice and work together, such as the collaboration with the Swiss Church in London or the David Roberts Art Foundation. We also took initiative and worked closely with our colleagues from the fine art programme, for instance in a collaboration with the Institute for Mathematical Sciences at Imperial College in London or on the hallway of one of Goldsmiths’s cafés. There was no prerequisite from the programme for such exchanges, but for some of us, this happened organically. Getting to know the students in the fine art programme, their concerns and practices made my experience so much richer.

Being in London is part of the course. One piece of advice we received stuck with me: own a good pair of shoes so you can walk and see as much as possible. London has such a layered art scene, from independent spaces, short-lived initiatives, to good galleries, museums, and art schools. Seeing exhibitions, meeting and talking to artists was an essential part of my learning process at Goldsmiths.

I enrolled in the course in 2009. One year later, the plan to raise substantially the tuition fees in the United Kingdom was approved by the government, despite the student protests which some of us joined as well as Goldsmiths faculty. I was fortunate enough to be part of the last three generations before the tuition raise. At Goldsmiths I was allowed to pay my tuition in several instalments, while other universities would request upfront payment. This flexible instalment plan, a lower tuition fee, and a small scholarship made it easier for me to attend the course. I hope that Goldsmiths will strengthen its support through more scholarship opportunities and tuition-fee subsidies for students from a diversity of backgrounds, including low income. This can be a lasting contribution to a more inclusive art world.

What have you done since graduating?

I continued to work with FormContent, a curatorial initiative, established in 2007 by three Goldsmiths graduates: Francesco Pedraglio, Caterina Riva, and Pieternel Vermoortel. FormContent nurtured in me an inclination to think creatively about curatorial and institutional processes and stretch the possibilities of how cultural production can be made public, experienced, discussed or written about. For one year, I worked at the Royal College of Art in London coordinating the visual culture lecture series, a learning experience to create bridges between practitioners and students within an academic environment. In 2013, I relocated to Singapore. As curator for exhibitions and later head of publications, I had the rare opportunity to join the team of a new institution, the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art founded by Ute Meta Bauer. Living and working in Southeast Asia made me much more aware of histories and concerns that have little visibility and resonance in Europe. Last year, I returned to Romania and curated together with Maria Lind the third edition of the Art Encounters Biennial in Timișoara.

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

As the course is not prescriptive in terms of what curating is and in what format research can be articulated, it allowed me to find my voice. It encouraged me to be self-reflective about the process of curating and to think about all the constitutive elements and forces that give shape to it. The course also encouraged me to make writing part of curatorial thinking. I remembered all the writing exercises we did, from exhibition reviews to analysis of a single artwork, they were so valuable to me. Writing close to artwork and an artistic process became part of my practice.

What advice would you offer current Goldsmiths MFA Curating students?

To take advantage of the conceptual liberty that the course offers and think outside the canon, and to make the most out of being in London.

 

Image: Mona Vatămanu and Florin Tudor, Le Monde et les Choses in Place.Labour.Capital, edited by Ute Meta Bauer and Anca Rujoiu, Mousse Publishing and NTU CCA Singapore, 2018. Photograph by Mousse Publishing. 

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

Pavel Pyś

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 2022/2023 academic year.

  • Home - full-time: £9260
  • Home - part-time: £4630
  • International - full-time: £22600

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 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 26 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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