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Study information

Programme Specification for the 2023/4 academic year

MA Curation: Art and Business

1. Programme Details

Programme nameMA Curation: Art and Business Programme codePTA1HPSHPS84
Study mode(s)Part Time
Full Time
Academic year2023/4
Campus(es)Streatham (Exeter)
NQF Level of the Final Award7 (Masters)

2. Description of the Programme

This one-year full-time Masters programme will give you a thorough grounding in the contemporary arts today, as seen from a global perspective. In particular you will become familiar with the major centres of arts production around the world, the exhibition venues, biennials and events where contemporary art is presented, the critical context and theoretical approaches associated with contemporary arts practices and the social, cultural and economic conditions for their development. The degree will be of particular interest if your background or interests are in the history of art, creative practice, museum studies, cultural history, philosophy, sociology, literature or modern languages, and it draws upon interdisciplinary research across these areas.

You will be taught by highly qualified and experienced staff with a commitment to research-based teaching from across the College of Humanities. In addition, visiting speakers from the contemporary art world will contribute to the programme on a regular basis. You will undertake field trips in Term 1 and will be based in London for several weeks in Term 2, as well as undertaking an internship in a major gallery or an equivalent institution associated with the contemporary art world. In Term 3 you will have a choice of either submitting a written Dissertation or delivering a practice-based Curatorial Project, with a portfolio of related texts.

Modules are designed to provide you with a sense of the range and variety of contemporary art practices, and to encourage you to engage critically with them. You will explore the media, techniques, and cultural contexts relevant to the production of these works, the terminology used to describe and evaluate them and the institutions and agencies that present them to the public. You will learn how to interpret works of contemporary art, and to examine and analyse their articulation of a range of interests and concerns. You will become familiar with prevalent trends in the contemporary art world and its infrastructure and will understand how to situate the global contemporary art phenomenon in its historical context. You will learn about the curatorial, critical and financial institutions that support contemporary art. You will become proficient in art writing for a variety of platforms and purposes. You will receive training in professional practices and curatorial methodologies and gain hands-on practical experience in a gallery or equivalent institutional setting.

From the beginning of your degree you will benefit from a focus on your personal and professional development alongside your academic performance. You will be supported throughout your degree by personal tutoring and a range of study skills and employability training. You will also learn to work flexibly and creatively with others and engage in debate as well as exercising independent thought and judgement whilst becoming an effective independent learner. At the end of the programme, you will have acquired a wide and detailed knowledge of contemporary art around the world, and its critical and institutional contexts. You will also have developed into the sort of independent, self-motivated researcher who is ready for further study or to enter into the art world, as well as a broad range of employment.

3. Educational Aims of the Programme

This programme aims to:

  • involve you in a teaching programme with focused coverage, content, and methodology
  • engage you imaginatively in the process of understanding and analysing contemporary arts in a global context, and to encourage you to acquire the analytical tools necessary for an understanding of them
  • promote a sense of the complex social, cultural, and institutional interactions between the production and reception of contemporary art and to encourage you to acquire the critical tools necessary to reflect upon these interactions
  • provide an opportunity to engage critically with theoretical perspectives, major debates, and intellectual paradigms in the fields of art history, visual culture and arts criticism, and to encourage comparative reflection on the shared and contested knowledge produced therein
  • enable you to understand the historical evolution of key concepts and procedures, in arts practice, art criticism and curation, and to consider the distinct and shared ways in which these concepts and procedures have developed within and beyond particular national traditions
  • encourage you to develop a comparative understanding of the ways in which aesthetic judgements are constructed and aesthetic processes are experienced with regards to contemporary art
  • provide training in professional practices and curatorial methodologies, equipping you to curate a range of different contemporary art practices, and to organise exhibitions, projects and public programmes
  • provide an intellectually stimulating and satisfying experience of learning and studying, whilst encouraging a sense of the distinctive social and cultural importance of the contemporary arts
  • provide a basis for further study in art history, gallery studies, or related disciplines
  • develop a range of subject specific, academic and transferable skills, including high order conceptual and visual literacy and communication skills of value in graduate employment and to enable you to develop your career paths through these means

4. Programme Structure

5. Programme Modules

The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual programme review of this programme.

You may take Option Modules as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module. Descriptions of the individual modules are given in full on the College web site: ( ).

Stage 1

180 credits of compulsory modules

You may choose either AHVM005: Dissertation or AHVM006: Curatorial Project, you may not choose both

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
AHVM001 Institutions and Agencies: the Business of Contemporary Art 30No
AHVM002 Arts of the Contemporary World 30No
AHVM003 Art Writing 30Yes
AHVM004 Internship 30No
AHVM005 Dissertation [See note a above]60No
AHVM006 Curatorial Project [See note a above]60No

6. Programme Outcomes Linked to Teaching, Learning and Assessment Methods

Intended Learning Outcomes
A: Specialised Subject Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

1. Demonstrate a broadly-based understanding of the coverage, content and methodologies of art history, contemporary art theory and arts criticism
2. Identify, evaluate and appreciate the variety of approaches and critical traditions relevant to contemporary arts.
3. Demonstrate an understanding of the role that museums and galleries play in mediating between the artwork and the spectator; trace and evaluate key developments and relate them to an overall conception of the subject matter.
4. Demonstrate an understanding of the particular character of art writing in a variety of distinct contexts and relate it to issues in the wider context of cultural and intellectual history.
5. Demonstrate an understanding of the cultural, economic and institutional contexts in which contemporary art is being produced, collected and experienced.
6. Demonstrate knowledge of different global centres of art production and their recent histories of contemporary art.
7. Appreciate the range and variety of approaches to the study of contemporary art practices, arts criticism, art history and museology.
8. Apply critical terminology and, where appropriate, methodological, linguistic, stylistic, and/or formal terminology to an understanding of contemporary arts practices; utilise appropriate bibliographical style.

A1-8 are acquired through lectures, seminars, workshops, study groups, tutorials and other learning activities throughout the programme. The precise method of teaching varies according to each module. In most modules you will normally engage in both lectures and seminar groups.  In AHVM003 workshops are also included.

Your learning is further developed through engagement with assessments, following guidance from tutors and lecturers and through feedback on work submitted.

The assessment of these skills is through a combination of presentations and participation in seminars, logbooks, web-based assessments, audio-visual and written essays, other written reports/projects, and either a dissertation, which can be critical or creative, or a curatorial project. Essays and presentations are especially significant within the programme because they assess each of the skills, A1-A8. The assessment criteria pay full recognition to the importance of the various skills outlined.

Intended Learning Outcomes
B: Academic Discipline Core Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

9. Apply critical skills in the analysis of contemporary art, and related materials.
10. Articulate knowledge and understanding of concepts and theories relating to contemporary arts practice, art history and visual culture.
11. Demonstrate sensitivity to aesthetic and generic conventions and to the shaping effects upon communication of circumstances, authorship, textual production and intended audience.
12. Demonstrate responsiveness to the central role of imagery in the creation of meaning, and a sensitivity to the affective power of visual media
13. Communicate effectively and construct a coherent argument in both oral and written presentations.
14. Command a broad range of vocabulary and an appropriate use of critical terminology.
15. Apply bibliographic skills appropriate to the discipline, including accurate citation of sources and consistent use of conventions in the presentation of scholarly work.

These skills are developed throughout the programme in all modules. They are developed through lectures and seminars, written work, and oral work (both in presentation and seminar discussion) and reinforced through the range of modules across the programme.

They will culminate in the substantial and independent research skills demonstrated within the dissertation.

The assessment of these skills is through a combination of presentations and participation in seminars, logbooks, web-based assessments, essays, other written reports/projects, and either a dissertation or curatorial project.

Intended Learning Outcomes
C: Personal/Transferable/Employment Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

16. Apply advanced literacy and communication skills in appropriate contexts including the ability to present sustained and persuasive written and oral arguments.
17. Analyse and critically examine diverse forms of material, both textual and visual.
18. Acquire and interrelate substantial quantities of complex information of diverse kinds, in a structured and systematic way, and involving the use of the distinctive methodological and interpretative skills of the subject area in question
19. Apply research skills for the retrieval of historical material, and develop the ability to gather, sift and organize this material independently and critically, evaluating its significance.
20. Interrogate and apply a variety of theoretical positions and weigh the importance of alternative perspectives in a critical and self-reflective manner.
21. Exercise independent thought and judgment.
22. Engage with others through the presentation of ideas and information in groups, and work towards the collective negotiation of solutions
23. Plan and execute written and other forms of project-work over both short and long timescales
24. Complete tasks under time-constrained conditions and effectively manage deadlines and targets
25. Employ information-technology skills, including the ability to access and assess electronic data via the internet and through other forms of interactive media
26. Adapt and transfer the critical methods of the disciplines into unfamiliar contexts, including a variety of working environments.

Personal and key skills are delivered through all modules, and developed in lectures, workshops, study groups, tutorials, work experience and other learning activities throughout the programme.

The assessment of these skills is through a combination of presentations and participation in seminars, logbooks, web-based assessments, essays, other written reports/projects, and either a dissertation or curatorial project.
Outcomes C16-21 are also strongly developed in the course of the portfolio of assessed essays and other audio-visual and/or written work produced through the programme. These assessments work on the principle of offering formative feedback to support the development of your work within as well as between modules. Feedback on one assignment is intended to inform the next piece of work you undertake on the module; the next piece of work on the programme, or the future learning of graduates.
Outcome C22 is associated especially with the range of group presentations taking place in modules during the programme. Group presentation assessment brings into focus an important range of skills for students, including sharing workloads, responsibility for tasks, teamworking, collaborative and communicative skills. Individual contributions to group work are also assessed individually, most often in the form of a reflective presentation report.
C23-25 are also accomplished in the course of ‘real-time’ formal assessments such as presentations, which occur through the programme.
C26 is achieved principally through participation in the AHVM004Internship module.

7. Programme Regulations


Full details of assessment regulations for all taught programmes can be found in the TQA Manual, specifically in the Credit and Qualifications Framework, and the Assessment, Progression and Awarding: Taught Programmes Handbook. Additional information, including Generic Marking Criteria, can be found in the Learning and Teaching Support Handbook.

8. College Support for Students and Students' Learning

9. University Support for Students and Students' Learning

Please refer to the University Academic Policy and Standards guidelines regarding support for students and students' learning.

10. Admissions Criteria

Undergraduate applicants must satisfy the Undergraduate Admissions Policy of the University of Exeter.

Postgraduate applicants must satisfy the Postgraduate Admissions Policy of the University of Exeter.

Specific requirements required to enrol on this programme are available at the respective Undergraduate or Postgraduate Study Site webpages.

11. Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards

Each academic programme in the University is subject to an agreed College assessment and marking strategy, underpinned by institution-wide assessment procedures.

The security of assessment and academic standards is further supported through the appointment of External Examiners for each programme. External Examiners have access to draft papers, course work and examination scripts. They are required to attend the Board of Examiners and to provide an annual report. Annual External Examiner reports are monitored at both College and University level. Their responsibilities are described in the University's code of practice. See the University's TQA Manual for details.

(Quality Review Framework.

14. Awarding Institution

University of Exeter

15. Lead College / Teaching Institution

Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS)

16. Partner College / Institution

Partner College(s)

Not applicable to this programme

Partner Institution

Not applicable to this programme.

17. Programme Accredited / Validated by


18. Final Award

MA Curation: Art and Business

19. UCAS Code

Not applicable to this programme.

20. NQF Level of Final Award

7 (Masters)

21. Credit

CATS credits ECTS credits

22. QAA Subject Benchmarking Group

23. Dates

Origin Date


Date of last revision