• CollegeCSM
  • Start date9 January 2018
  • Course lengthFull time (45 weeks)

MA Culture, Criticism and Curation

This course is now closed for January 2018 entry

Established in 2013, MA Culture, Criticism and Curation at Central Saint Martins works with two distinctive approaches: allying itself to culture as a broad-based field and treating intellectual and practical work as a joined-up form of enquiry. We see theory and research as foundational to project work, and learning through doing is fundamental to the development of curatorial practice.

This course is part of the Culture & Enterprise Programme.

Great reasons to apply

 

  • Curating and critical writing are critical and creative practices with potential to be applicable to institutions and to independent or alternative practices. Students are taught how to act with agency within complex and changing environments
  • We emphasise interdisciplinary thinking and enquiry. Multiple subject backgrounds and a distinctively international cohort enrich the experience by placing a diversity of experiences and views in dialogue with one another. We seek to engage with social and political issues and position research-led curation as a potent agent of change 
  • The Course has strong links with Central Saint Martins’ Museum and Study Collection and the University’s Archives and Special Collections Centre, providing students on the course with project work and access to specialist knowledge integral to their field of study 
  • Projects are realised through group work, through which collaboration is discussed, tested and reflected upon. These make use of the college’s excellent resources as well as links with external organisations. They lead to partnerships with organisations both internal and external to the University, providing opportunities for students to build their individual practice, professional capacity and research interests. Our projects are of a very high standard and public profile 
  • We are situated in the heart of London and in the heart of the world’s leading arts university. You will join an exciting community of people integrating research and practice in our Culture and Enterprise Programme, as well as the other postgraduate programmes on curatorial practice across University of the Arts London 
  • UAL is a top 5 research university in its peer group and first in the Power ranking in the category of Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory. 83% of our research was graded as world leading or internationally excellent in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014.

 

Meet Course Leader Alison Green.

Culture, Criticism and Curation students discuss the value of arts education.

As a student from a non-arts background, the course helped me develop my career in this field and gave me a platform to observe and practice in contemporary art and culture.

Sylvia Siyi Chen, alum

Course detail

Raymond Williams described culture as one of the most difficult words in the English language. It crosses disciplines and holds multiple meanings. It designates things and processes. Historically culture meant ‘civilisation’; more recently the meaning has shifted towards the entertainment and education sector, but importantly this has been accompanied by an ongoing negotiation about what might constitute the objects, activities, agents and interpretations of cultural production. 

Through critical writing and expanded forms of curating, MA Culture, Criticism and Curation offers a framework for engaging with the history and present scenarios of culture. Taking advantage of its location in an art school, MA CCC integrates theoretical issues and practical skills, interrogating history and working critically and creatively to consider how potential new knowledge can be presented in the public realm. The Course aims to teach students to be strong researchers and innovative practitioners, with the skills to communicate with specialist and general audiences alike. 

The Course makes use of London’s many collections, archives and creative practitioners, staging the teaching in relation to ‘live’ resources. Key focusses of the Course are collections and archives, including those that are institutional, personal and/or produced in the context of creative art practices, which you will address from both theoretical and practical standpoints. 

With these critical and historical frameworks you will work on ‘live’ projects, led by students and facilitated by tutors. The projects are different each year in form and content, with students addressing the complex of issues surrounding the presentation of culture in public and social spaces. As a group, you will learn how to collaborate effectively, to use the project as a testing-ground, and make individual skills and ideas contribute to a collective end. 

The Course is taught by a team of tutors who bridge academic research and writing and professional practices of criticism, journalism, art, exhibition design, curating and collections management. They will support your acquisition of critical and practical skills enabling you to work in the field of art and culture or progress to a research degree (PhD). 

 

About this course 

  • MA Culture, Criticism and Curation lasts 45 weeks, arranged across one academic year – three terms of ten weeks – plus an additional 15 weeks of independent work 
  • MA Culture, Criticism and Curation is credit rated at 180 credits and comprises three Units. All three units must be passed in order to achieve the MA, but the classification of the award of MA derives from the mark for Unit Three only 
  • We expect you to commit an average of 40 hours per week to your studies. This comprises 10-15 hours of taught and supervised sessions and 25-30 hours self-directed study 
  • Your taught input will normally be scheduled over two - three fixed days per week, which we will detail at the start of each term and further in advance if possible. The course structure is intended to allow you to pursue your studies while also undertaking part-time work, internships or care responsibilities.

Projects and professional partnerships

The Culture and Enterprise Programme team has cultivated and delivered student projects in partnership with a range of external organisations including Camden Council, The Guardian, and EDF. 

Working collaboratively with organisations, small and large, independent and well established, is central to our approach to practice. Final projects, whether curatorial, editorial or creative, are done in partnership with external organisations. The Course has done projects with The Guardian Newspaper, Flat Time House, The Old Operating Theatre and Herb Garrett, David Roberts Art Foundation, the South London Gallery, Camden Council and South Hampstead and Kilburn Community Project, the Archive Studio at the Southbank Centre and Artists Studio Company (ASC). Read about a few recent student projects by MA Culture, Criticism and Curation students via the links below. 

Dissertation subjects

Research and critical writing on MA Culture, Criticism and Curation is multi-disciplinary. We encourage innovative writing and/or students interested in practice-led research. Here are some examples of dissertation subjects:

  • Conceptual Art, White Cubes, Criticality: The Influence of Kanrasha Gallery in Japan from the 1980s Onward (Hayato Fujioka)
  • Capital/Country/Speed: Towards a Curatorial Project (and its Conceptual Foundations) (Barnaby Lewer)
  • Selfridges' Body Studio: A Case Study in Women, Consumer Culture and Questions of Identity (Ophelia Stimpson)
  • Cultural Logic of a Database (Špela Pipan)
  • Exhibition as Research (Annika Turkowski)
  • Collage in Community-Based Research, Art Education and Art Therapy (Yu-Wen Hung)
  • May 9th in Russian Political Mythmaking Today, in Memory: Memory, Film and the Russian Idea (Alexandra Sazonova)
  • The Seen and the Unseen: A Study of Bethlem Royal Hospital (Yusi Xiong)
  • Why You Should Invest 0% of Your Monies in Art (Bernard Tan)
  • Playing with History (Jake Charles Rees)
  • Turn and Face the Change. Digital Media and Museums in the 21st century. Case Study: Victoria and Albert Museum (Gili Yuval)
  • Applying Digital Media technology in museums in China (Yan Yu)
  • What's under the sun? A cultural engagement with the new (Eva Tyler)
  • Bad Bitches, Strip Clubs and Twerking. The Racial Analysis of Miley Cyrus Twerking at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards (Rhianne Sinclair-Phillips)
  • The Good, The Bad and the Sexy. An approach to popularity, heritage and meaning in El Libro Vaquero (Marisol Rodriguez)
  • Can works of art stop being works of art? The case of the Miro collection (Eva Oddo)
  • Wide, Open Spaces: Institutional Critique as Artist Practice in the 21st Century (Janice Mitchell)
  • Obsession, Possession and Oppression; Collecting and Social Structures in French Art Deco 'Exoticism' Furniture (Cath Layton)
  • The Fictive Museum. Return to the Wunderkammer (Lisa Kim)
  • He'll Give Us What We Need, It May Not Be What We Want. Kanye West, Yeezus, and the Curatorial (Ross Jennings)
  • 'A DOWN': Decadence of Hunting Aesthetics in Film from Fred.B.Bear to 8 year old Will (Oscar Holloway)
  • From the Stars Group to the China/Avant-Garde Exhibition: Chinese Avant-Garde Art in Chinese Modern Society since 1979 (Siyi Chen)
  • The Hidden Treasure. Angelo Baldassarre's contemporary art collection (Fausta Maria Bolettieri)
  • Kettle's Yard: Unpicking the Burden of History. A Critical Assessment of the Kettle's Yard Identity (Natalie Baerselman le Gros)
  • Curating Art's Names: On the Possibility of Mapping Conceptual Investigations in to the Nature of Art Within a Curatorial Discourse (Ludovica Gilio)
  • Education without Learning; The Paradox of Staging Critical Discourse (Charlotte Rose Ram)

Projects 

The Culture and Enterprise programme team has cultivated and delivered student projects in partnership with a range of external organisations including Procter and Gamble, The Guardian, and EDF. Read about a few recent student projects by MA Culture, Criticism and Curation students via the links below.

Staff

Course Leader: Dr Alison Green

Course Tutor: Dr Caterina Albano
Course Tutor: Ben Bethell
Course Tutor: Prof. Caroline Dakers
Course Tutor: Dr Louise Garrett
Course Tutor: Dr Michaela Giebelhausen
Course Tutor: Nathalie Khan
Course Tutor: Nick Kimberley
Course Tutor: Andrew Marsh
Course Tutor: Dr Colin Perry
Course Tutor: Prof. Roger Sabin
Course Tutor: James Swinson
Course Tutor: Judy Willcocks, Director, CSM Museum and Study Collection

How to apply

This course is now closed for entry in January 2018.

Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the following details about the application process, including guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide. 

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

You will need to enter the following information in the online application form: 

Personal details (including full name; date of birth; nationality; permanent address and English language level); Current and/or previous education and qualification details; Employment history. 

Before you can submit the form, you will also need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the form. 

Extra information required for applications to this course

Personal Statement

Your personal statement should give us information about yourself and why you want to join the course (in no more than 300 words). What are you doing at the moment educationally, professionally, personally? Why do you wish to study on this course? Do you have any relevant experience? Why do you think you are a suitable candidate for acceptance? 

Project Proposal

The Project Proposal should provide a rationale and outline for a cultural project. It should demonstrate critical engagement and creative thinking within the fields of culture and your ability to conceptualise and plan project work. It does not need to have happened; you only need to propose an idea, but it should be realisable. The Project Proposal helps you to position your interests academically and professionally. It should reflect your personal interests and direction at this stage. It should be between 800 and 1,000 words or 2-4 pages, and include images or other media as needed. 

Writing Sample

You should provide a piece (or several pieces) of writing totalling between 3,000-5,000 words. This should

be critical and/or evaluative (e.g. be an academic essay, be based on research, or be a piece of cultural criticism). It should reflect your academic and professional interests and evidence your ability to write, be analytical and do research. It may be a piece of published writing or an academic essay written for coursework. Independent or unpublished writings will also be accepted. 

Reference

This course requires one reference; it is advised this be either from an academic tutor or be from someone who employed or managed you in a professional situation. 

Start your application now

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.  

What happens next 

We read and consider all applications. Subject to your meeting the entry requirements and consideration of supporting documentation, you then may then be invited participate in an interview, either in person or by telephone / skype. 

We will send you emails as you progress through the application process, so do check your inbox (and junk folder, just in case). These emails will contain important information about your application, and links to the online forms you should use to submit the extra information required. 

When to Apply 

We strongly recommend you apply before 31st October 2017. After that point we cannot guarantee your application will be considered.

Deferred Entry

Entry can only be deferred in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us before submitting your application if you're considering applying for deferred entry.

This course is now closed for entry in January 2018.

Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the following details about the application process, including guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide. 

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

You will need to enter the following information in the online application form: 

Personal details (including full name; date of birth; nationality; permanent address and English language level); Current and/or previous education and qualification details; Employment history. 

Before you can submit the form, you will also need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the form. 

For further advice on how to apply please visit the UAL International Application page. 

Immigration History form (for International Applications only)

Whether you are applying online or through a UAL representative you will need to complete an Immigration History form. 

We will email you an Immigration History form when we receive your application.

You will need to send this back to us, by email, with copies of the following documents: 

  • Your passport photo page; 
  • Your current visa (if you have one) and any previous UK study visas;
  • Your current English language certificate (if you have this);
  • Your academic qualifications (A2, IB, high school diploma, foundation etc. - if completed. Translated into English). 

Please note: If you do not complete and return your Immigration History form we will not be able to proceed with your application. 

Extra information required for applications to this course

Personal Statement

Your personal statement should give us information about yourself and why you want to join the course (in no more than 300 words). What are you doing at the moment educationally, professionally, personally? Why do you wish to study on this course? Do you have any relevant experience? Why do you think you are a suitable candidate for acceptance? 

Project Proposal

The Project Proposal should provide a rationale and outline for a cultural project. It should demonstrate critical engagement and creative thinking within the fields of culture and your ability to conceptualise and plan project work. It does not need to have happened; you only need to propose an idea, but it should be realisable. The Project Proposal helps you to position your interests academically and professionally. It should reflect your personal interests and direction at this stage. It should be between 800 and 1,000 words or 2-4 pages, and include images or other media as needed. 

Writing Sample

You should provide a piece (or several pieces) of writing totalling between 3,000-5,000 words. This should

be critical and/or evaluative (e.g. be an academic essay, be based on research, or be a piece of cultural criticism). It should reflect your academic and professional interests and evidence your ability to write, be analytical and do research. It may be a piece of published writing or an academic essay written for coursework. Independent or unpublished writings will also be accepted. 

Reference

This course requires one reference; it is advised this be either from an academic tutor or be from someone who employed or managed you in a professional situation. 

Start your application now

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.  

What happens next 

We read and consider all applications. Subject to your meeting the entry requirements and consideration of supporting documentation, you then may then be invited participate in an interview, either in person or by telephone / skype. 

We will send you emails as you progress through the application process, so do check your inbox (and junk folder, just in case). These emails will contain important information about your application, and links to the online forms you should use to submit the extra information required. 

When to apply

We strongly recommend you apply before 31st October 2017. After that point we cannot guarantee your application will be considered.

Deferred entry

Entry can only be deferred in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us before submitting your application if you're considering applying for deferred entry.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have an Honours Degree or evidence of equivalent learning, and normally at least one year of relevant professional experience. The relevant disciplines and professional fields include:  

History; Art History; Culture, Communications or Media Studies; Fine Art or Design; Fashion (history & theory or design); Multimedia or interactive design; Curatorial, gallery, archive or museum work; Research; Collections management or interpretation; Journalism - digital, broadcast, press and radio; Art criticism or publishing; Marketing and PR; Retail or Business, if culturally related.  

Applicants should have very good written, speaking and reading skills. They will have social and organisational skills, demonstrated in the application and interview. 

Applicants will be considered for admission who have not achieved a relevant Honours Degree but who can evidence experiential learning equivalent to a degree or who have 3 years’ relevant professional experience.  


English language requirements
 

Classes are taught in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability in order to apply for a visa, enrol, and start your course. The English language requirement for entry for this course is: 

IELTS 7.0 with a minimum of 6.0 in any one paper, or equivalent. 

For further information visit the English Language requirements page. 

Applicants who will need a Tier Four General Student Visa should check the Visa and Immigration page which provides important information about UK Border Agency (UKBA) requirements. 

What we look for

What we look for

  • Interest in and understanding of history, culture, and/or arts and design;
  • Reflexive and critical thinking;
  • Experience of collaborative work;
  • Self-motivation, ambition, and interest in research. 

Selection Criteria

Applicants will be selected on the basis of the following criteria: 

  • A BA qualification or equivalent level of skills and knowledge in your own discipline, evidenced by work done in your field;
  • Evidence of interest in and understanding of history, culture, and /or arts and design;
  • Evidence of critical thinking and research abilities, particularly in written work;
  • Experience of collaborative work;
  • Evidence of self-motivation and ambition.

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

Tuition fees for course that starts in January 2018: £8,500.

£1,000 discount for Home/EU students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course. 

ELQ 

Home/EU students whose chosen course is at a level equivalent to, or lower than, a qualification that they already hold, would will be charged the fees shown above, plus an additional £1,100 (called the 'ELQ' fee). Students in receipt of Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) are exempt from ELQ fees and will pay the original fee, regardless of the highest qualification held. If you have a query regarding the ELQ fee, please use our course enquiry form.

International fee

Tuition fees for course that starts in January 2018: £17,920.

£1,000 discount for students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course. 

Additional costs

Use our Fees and Funding Calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

Accommodation

Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.

Scholarships search

Careers and alumni

The course will prepare graduates to work in the creative and cultural industries and/ or for doctoral work in Humanities subjects.

Within the cultural and creative industries there is increasing demand for people who have curatorial, research and writing skills and can work within this interdisciplinary sector. Employers now expect that MA graduates will be able handle intellectual, creative and practical projects, and demonstrate an enquiring mind.

Alumni profiles

  • Alumni perspectives

    Recent graduates share what they thought about the course, what studying at Central Saint Martins is like, and what they’ve been up to since leaving.

  • Exploring Curation: theory and practice

    MA Culture, Criticism and Curation alum Tonya Weschler on the theory of curation and putting it into practice on the course.

  • Volume Dissolves Into Atmosphere

    'Volume Dissolves Into Atmosphere' is a conceptual sonic art exhibition curated and realised by a group of MA Culture, Criticism and Curation students from the 2015 cohort as their final project.