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Unit information: Collaborative Curatorial Unit - A in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

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

8 2hr seminars and 2 on-site visits

Assessment Details

Formative assessment in the shape of advice and feedback from the unit tutor and the curatorial partner on the collaborative research and curatorial activity, including advice and feedback on writing texts for catalogues and/or displays. (Assessing Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4). Summative assessement: 5000-word essay (100%). (Assessing Learning Outcomes 1, 5).

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)