Postgraduate taught 

Curatorial Practice (Contemporary Art) (in conjunction with The Glasgow School of Art) MLitt

Curatorial Practice 1 HISTART5116

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 40
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course comprises three strands: a) historical and theoretical perspectives on curatorial practice, b) independent project development, and c) critical engagement with all aspects of professional practice. Through a combination of lectures, tutorials and workshops, students will be introduced to a range of curatorial practices and approaches relating to the visual arts, and they will hear from experienced curators and arts professionals as they begin to identify and locate their own interests.


■ Historical and theoretical perspectives (5 sessions - each 1 hour lecture/1 hour seminar, location: GSA or UoG)

■ Independent project development (2 half-day tutorials, location: GSA)

■ Critical engagement with professional practice (3 all-day workshops, featuring professional practitioners and in-depth presentations on particular projects, location: GSA or UoG)

Excluded Courses



■ A Context Review or Class Essay (2,500 words) 25%

■ A Critical Evaluation of one of the three workshops attended (2,000 words) 20%

■ Two tutorial presentations relating to independent project work (each 20mins) 30%

■ A proposal for MASTERS project (2,500 words) 25%

Course Aims

This course is designed to

■ Develop the students' understanding of the role and the place of the curator within the visual arts infrastructure, and the various platforms through which they work;

■ Develop students' understanding and knowledge of the discourse and literature on contemporary curatorial practice, through a critical engagement with key debates, perspectives, texts and platforms for practice and discussion;

■ Develop students' understanding and knowledge of a range of approaches and forms applied to curating in the visual arts, through a critical engagement with professional practitioners representative of that range;

■ Support students' engagement with the visual arts sector in Glasgow and Scotland more widely, in relation to UK-wide and international contexts;

■ Expand students' understanding of the nature and the range of the demands placed upon a curator working in the field of the visual arts, arising from the contexts in which they work, or the requirements of project development, management and delivery;

■ Expand students' understanding of the various capacities and skill-sets - critical, practical, administrative, budgetary, inter-personal- through which curators work;

■ Expand students' understanding of the wider areas of work or associated programming that can attend artist's projects or exhibitions, such as public talks, screenings, symposia;

■ Enable students to initiate an independent, self-directed exploration of various modes of curatorial practice;

■ Support students to originate and communicate project concepts, to determine their requirements and assess their feasibility;

■ Enable students to begin acquiring a core body of skills and attributes, including critical inquiry, research capacity and project planning, and apply these to the development of their independent work;

■ Enable students to begin developing key contacts with artists and other arts professionals, and forming the peer networks.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Identify and evaluate the broadening role of the curator in relation to the visual arts, and their key relationships with artists or audiences;

■ Evidence their engagement with the discourse and field of literature on contemporary curatorial practice, and an ability to apply this in relation to key texts and debates;

■ Harness their knowledge of the visual arts sector in Glasgow and Scotland more widely, in relation to UK-wide and international contexts;

■ Demonstrate growing critical understanding of curatorial project development, including project initiation, engagement with context, planning, implementation and delivery, and an ability to evaluate the process;

■ Communicate and evaluate a developing awareness of their own curatorial interests, and to situate those interest within the field of practice and wider socio-political context;

■ Apply and implement key skills, such as project-planning, budgeting, fundraising, press communication;

■ Recognise and evaluate ethical and legal considerations around acquisitions and loans, as well as of issues of ownership, copyright, the artist's estate, preservation of intent;

■ Build contacts and networks, and to develop a professional profile. 

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.