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Unit information: Collaborative Curatorial Unit - A in 2020/21

Unit name Collaborative Curatorial Unit - A
Unit code HARTM0021
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Miss. Brace
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History of Art (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts


Students taking this unit would work collaboratively with a major external collaborative partner from the Museum and Heritage industries to either curate a scholarly exhibition drawn from the rich and diverse holdings of the partner’s collection and/or to conduct object research. If an exhibition, they might develop a theme for the exhibition, choose and research the objects, write the display texts and catalogue, and manage the publicity. If object research based, they might choose and research the objects, write the display texts and produce a catalogue. They might also work on a ‘virtual’ exhibition based on their object research. The partner for 2019/20 is the RWA (Royal West of England Academy), Bristol. Previous partners have included: The Holburne Museum, Bath; Tate Britain London; National Museum Wales, Cardiff, National Portrait Gallery and the National Trust at Montacute House.

Intended learning outcomes

The unit aims to give MA students extra curatorial and object-based cataloguing and research experience, which is particularly important for those wanting to go on to work in museums and galleries. Learning outcomes: 1. Preparation for independent research on the dissertation 2. Collaborative work on a project which combines scholarship with a concern for the display and/or dissemination of ideas and materials. 3. Students will acquire an understanding of curatorial processes, and expert knowledge of the subject-matter of the exhibition. 4. The task of preparing texts for the catalogue and display will enhance their research and writing skills 5. Marshalling information and relevant scholarly approaches into an independently-written essay.

Teaching details

Classes will involve a combination of discussion, investigative activities, and practical activities including work toward an exhibition. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis. This will be further supported with drop-in sessions and self-directed work with tutor and peer feedback.

Assessment Details

One project portfolio (100%)

Reading and References

Bruce W. Ferguson, Reesa Greenberg, Sandy Nairne eds., Thinking About Exhibitions (London, Routledge, 1996)

Lucy Steeds, Exhibition: Documents of Contemporary Art, (Whitechapel Gallery, 2014)

Paula Marincola ed., What Makes a Great Exhibition?, (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage; Chicago: Reaktion Books and University of Chicago Press, 2006)