This course is open for applications
Page last updated 7 December 2023
Every student is placed within one of our partner institutions alongside a curator who will mentor the student through the year. Our industry partners are all renowned creative and cultural organisations.
This well-connected degree is for those wishing to explore curating and develop curatorial skills in one or more of the following areas: fine art, digital media, film, festivals and social history.
Why study this course?
You will study alongside an intentionally small and supportive group of students with backgrounds in areas including fine art, sculpture, art history, architecture, 3D design, film studies and history, sharing practice and ideas and providing opportunities to work creatively and collaboratively on group projects.
Our students value and thrive in a highly professional and creative learning environment led by experienced tutors in a lively and dynamic city with active and engaging cultural communities.
Curating is based on Bristol's historic waterfront at Arnolfini. Situated above this internationally renowned centre for contemporary art you will be at the heart of Bristol's creative and cultural community, with access to UWE Bristol's City Campus and all it has to offer. Have a look at our UWE Curating blog to find out more.
Follow us on Instagram @uwecurating.
Professional mentoring and support
You will benefit from unique and professional mentoring from a curator in one of our partner museums, galleries or other cultural spaces for the duration of the course. Our partners are renowned creative and cultural organisations: Arnolfini, Bristol Archives, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Chapter (Cardiff), Encounters Film Festival, In Between Time Festival, M-Shed, Royal West of England Academy, Situations, Spike Island, Watershed, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff and ss Great Britain. A mentor is allocated based on your skills, interests and career aspirations and brings current industry insight and valuable support and guidance.
Through the final live project, you will gain interesting and relevant curatorial experience, sourcing venues, developing audiences, planning, programming and project management whilst developing key contacts.
"As part of my final project for MA Curating, I curated an event at Watershed called "Out of Arcadia", which explored our complex relationship with countryside landscapes. This involved approaching creators who had produced thematically linked content to see if they'd be interested in showcasing their work at this event". Steph, 2022/2023 student.
Read Steph's full story.
What is Curating?
Learn more about curating from our MA Curating Programme Leader.
The course is made up of five modules taught over three semesters (January - December):
You will research the history of your mentored institution and demonstrate a critical understanding of that institution and its historical and contemporary significance within the wider cultural environment. You will familiarise yourself with the contemporary curatorial scene, enabling you to make sense of the structures and practices that underpin it.
Developing Practice and Audiences
You will put theoretical understanding of audiences and market into practice through a group project. This project requires you to map historical contexts and contemporary curatorial practices, both generally and in relation to the institutions and audiences with which you are working.
This module introduces you to different forms of curatorial practice and philosophies of curating. Exploring and evaluating multidisciplinary practice within a professional context and building on the Curatorial Histories module in semester one. In this module you will examine curatorial practices in museums, galleries, cinema, festivals, biennials, science centres and heritage sites.
Curating and Project Management
The emphasis is on situating your project firmly within the contemporary curatorial scene, and in relation to cultural, policy issues and comparable practices happening simultaneously. You will be encouraged to use a wide range of methods to identify and document contemporary developments. Methods include interviewing, participant observation, visiting similar events, and communicating with others involved in similar cultural developments in the UK and internationally.
Final Project: Curating (MA) or Final Project: Curating (MFA)
You will work on either your Final Project: Curating (MA) or Final Project: Curating (MFA). For the MA, there will be a curatorial project (60%) and an evaluative document (40%) and for the MFA the project will account for 40% of the mark and the other 60% will be for a dissertation.
These modules involve the production of, and reflection on, a major piece of curatorial work, usually produced in collaboration with a partner institution. You will be expected to work independently and document your on-going practice and reflections with support from academic and partner mentors.
The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved we will inform you.
Learning and Teaching
You are taught through a series of lectures, seminars, practical workshops, master classes and projects. Guest speakers and study visits enhance learning and provide valuable industry insight.
This course aims to:
- Equip students with specific curatorial skills valued by the contemporary curatorial sector by offering a mix of practical work experience and in depth engagement with ideas and theories pertinent to contemporary curating.
- Equip students with the ability to develop innovative techniques for engaging audiences with contemporary curatorial practice.
- Provide a creative and ambitious pedagogic structure that enables students from a wide range of undergraduate and professional backgrounds to develop and extend their curatorial skills and working methodologies.
- Support and promote the development of live and collaborative work through a range of Faculty, external and student led projects.
- Equip students with the skills necessary to undertake sustained, independent, innovative and interdisciplinary research.
- Produce a new generation of curators who are equipped to work in creative and flexible ways.
For more details see our glossary of teaching and learning terms.
The course has one intake point within the academic year and study begins in January. It is divided into three semesters. Teaching takes place on Mondays, based alongside Bristol's historic waterfront at the Arnolfini.
You will be assessed through a combination of practical and written work at the end of each module.
For more details see our full glossary of assessment terms.
You will work with your partner institution to gain experience in a real curatorial setting and develop skills required by industry.
Self-funded study trips in each semester to a wide range of venues within Bristol, the South West and beyond, include tours, talks and other activities providing valuable insight into real-world practice.
The City Campus at Arnolfini occupies the top three floors of the Arnolfini building on Bristol's harbourside and offers studio and teaching spaces for Curating students. Computing facilities and student support services are available. Visual Culture modules and a range of guest lectures are delivered here as well as at other sites within the City Campus.
You are able to access the range of resources available at other City Campus sites, including Bower Ashton. Bower Ashton houses the main library supporting the creative and cultural industries as well as student support services.
Find out more about the UWE's facilities and resources.
Take a Virtual Tour of the Art facilities and see what's on offer here for you.
Careers / Further study
MA Curating graduates have gone on to work in a range of professions in areas of social history, fine art, museum curating and film programming in various arts, culture and heritage-related organisations. There are also curating and programming opportunities at film festivals both nationally and internationally and options to teach or progress to further PhD study.
Our award-winning careers service helps you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity plus support for entrepreneurial activity, and access to employer events.
We are looking for highly motivated, creative students with some prior experience in curating or a related area. Usually applicants will have an undergraduate degree in the arts or humanities but those with other academic qualifications or relevant professional experience are also encouraged to apply. Work experience in the arts/museums/galleries sectors is desirable.
For country specific entry requirements please find your country on the country information pages.
An important feature of the MA/MFA Curating is a year-long, one day per week, work placement. Applicants will be asked to take a look at our list of placement partners and answer in no more than 300 words:
- Where would you ideally like to carry out the placement? Please give 1- 3 options.
- Why are your skills, interests and experience suitable to this organisation(s)?
- What relevant transferrable work place skills (from curatorial or other roles) can you bring to this organisation(s)?
Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an online interview. A partner institution will be allocated based on your skills, interests and career aspirations and they will also participate in the interview.
English Language Requirement
All International and EU applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 with 5.5 in each component (or approved equivalent*), prior to Interview.
*The university accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS. To find details of acceptable tests and the required grades please visit English Language requirements.
English language support
If you meet the academic requirements but require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend one of our pre-sessional English courses. Students who successfully complete the pre-sessional course can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking an IELTS or equivalent.
Read more about our pre-sessional English Programme.
How to apply
We accept applications thoughout the year, but please note that this course starts in early January and places are subject to availability of placement providers.
If you are working to a funding deadline, you should build this into your application process.