Course dates

Tuesday 10 Oct 2023
6-7.30pm | 8 weeks

Course overview

Explore the link between curating and the psychology of perception in this innovative and unique short course.

Curating and the Psychology of Perception are very closely interlinked. In the organisation of exhibitions, museums and galleries, the viewer's sensory and immersive experiences are of great importance. Yet, psychologists and curators rarely discuss the influence of colours and arrangements of works of art on the viewer. This course will aim to fill this gap. 

This course is part of the rich portfolio of AIR interdisciplinary courses. Combining lectures on the history of the most important exhibitions of modern art with the psychology of perception, this course will aim to answer the following questions:

  • What makes exhibitions and gallery displays memorable and atmospheric, and how do sensation and perception play as much of a role in this as the information and stories we interpret on panels and labels?
  • In curating, museum, and gallery work, we increasingly hear about sensory and immersive experiences, but what does this mean in practice?
  • What are the functions and interplays of taste, smell, sound, touch and sight?

The course will begin with an introduction to psychological and art historical perspectives on the topic of curation. You'll be invited to bring your own questions to these diverse perspectives. We'll then address three broad themes in a series of paired lectures:

  1. We'll begin by looking at seminal exhibitions of the 19th century and consider audience responses to artworks of this era, drawing on theory in the psychology of perception and considering the role of colour, light and form.
  2. We'll consider the evolution of curatorial practice to more independent, intimate spaces and examine the role of the gallery context on responses to artworks and how curatorial principles shape audience experience.
  3. We'll conclude by exploring the historical role played by specific art collectors and consider the ways in which individual differences between different audience groups shape our experience with art and how curatorial choices maintain the relevance of historical periods of art in the present day.

In the final session, you'll be invited to rise and discuss any issues our thoughts that have come up throughout the course, and the course leader will reflect on their own understanding of art historical and psychological perspectives on curating.

Discounts, dates and location

We offer several discounts, as well as sponsorships. The course runs once a week during the evening, over 8 weeks. This course is run live via Zoom.

Group bookings

To book this course for a group, please email us air(



Goldsmiths offers a 15% concession rate on short courses to Lewisham Local cardholders, Students and Goldsmiths Alumni. Please email for further information.

Booking information

Please note our short courses sell out quickly, so early booking is advisable.

Tuesday 10 Oct 2023
6-7.30pm | 8 weeks




Find out more about all of the AIR courses available to you.

For all enquiries, and to be regularly updated on upcoming AIR courses, please email: air ( For anything urgent, or if emailing is not a good option for you, you can also call us via WhatsApp or phone on +44 (0)7908 566 949.

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Disability support

We are committed to providing reasonable teaching adjustments for students with disabilities that may impact on their learning experience. If you require adjustments, please complete the relevant section on the booking form and also contact us at shortcourses ( so we can respond to your requests as soon as possible.

Tutor information

Photo of course tutor Natalia Murray

Dr Natalie Murray

Dr Murray is one of the world’s leading specialists in the history of modern art. She is a visiting lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art, where she teaches an MA-level module titled "Collecting and Curating the Modern: European Art. 1863-1930". She is also a Senior Curator. In 2017, she curated the major exhibition "Revolution: Russian Art. 1917-1932" at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, and is currently working on several exhibition projects in Moscow and in Paris.

Image of Dr Rebecca Chaimberlain

Dr Rebecca Chamberlain

Dr Chamberlain has taught at Goldsmiths for a number of years. Her research focuses on how and why individuals create and respond so powerfully to works of art. Rebecca is the Programme Director of the MSc in Psychology of the Arts, Neuroaesthetics and Creativity and Editor-in-Chief at Empirical Studies of the Arts. Read Rebecca's full profile.


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