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Criticism & Curating Summer School

An introduction to criticism and curating in art and design

This one-week summer school provides an immersive introduction to curatorial and critical perspectives valuable to careers in a wide range of art and design practice, from the perspective of experts who curate, research and write critically in the cultural sector. The course offers a unique opportunity to engage with London’s diverse creative scene.

Led by a team of London-based historians, writers, researchers, critics and curators, the course combines lively critical debate with practical, hands-on activities taught in the environment of the world’s leading art and design school. As well as providing a forum for learning in a collaborative atmosphere, the course offers the opportunity to gain one-to-one support and advice from our faculty of experts and visiting speakers.

The course provides critical insight into institutional and independent art and design practices across London. Considering factors such as identity, geopolitics, social economics, digital transitions and the creative economies, participants will be encouraged to consider the role of art, design and making in galleries, museums and the expanded field. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, you will explore a range of art and design disciplines in international fields through the practices of curating and criticism, realised in a diversity of forms from writing to exhibitions to events. 

This summer school will provide a concentrated programme of workshops, master-classes, behind-the-scene visits, project work and critical debate. The course includes trips to museums, galleries and studios, as well as a collaborative project. Previous attendees have developed networks and opportunities with fellow participants, who include international professionals and practitioners in the field. 

The course is designed for early career professionals in the arts, as well as graduates considering vocations in critical and curatorial practice. It is also suitable for those either considering a change of career or a means to develop their own personal and professional practice and experience through curating, writing or research.

Speakers include curator, writer and historian Michelle Millar Fisher from the Philadelphia Museum of Art (previously MoMA and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum); Dr Danah Abdulla, lecturer at the London College of Communication and founding member of Decolonising Design and Kalimat Magazine; design historian Dr Shehnaz Suterwalla from the Royal College of Art (formerly Newsweek International and The Economist); Linsey Young, Curator of Contemporary British Art at Tate Britain and Lead Curator for the Turner Prize; and curator and writer Dr Ben Cranfield from the Royal College of Art (previous projects include Institute of Contemporary Arts London, Nottingham Contemporary, The Bluecoat, Liverpool, Tate Modern and Whitechapel Gallery), and Zara Arshad, Curatorial Research Assistant in the Design, Architecture and Digital department at the V&A.

New dates to be announced soon

Duration: 1 week

Fee: £1,250

What will I learn?

  • Engage with current debates in art and design.
  • Explore contemporary critical and curatorial thinking.
  • Understand how exhibitions are conceived, researched and delivered.
  • Develop writing skills.
  • Learn how to pitch project ideas.

How will I learn?

  • Masterclasses
  • One-to-one support and advice from subject experts
  • Workshops and crits
  • Collaborative project
  • Visits to London galleries, studios and museums

Sample programme

Each morning will consist of a masterclass, followed by a workshop with discussion of the day’s task. Afternoons will include visits to exhibitions and galleries, with workshops and crits, designed to develop the skills and insights vital to curators and critics.

Who should attend?

  • Arts graduates
  • Early and mid-career professionals from the cultural sector
  • Curators and arts programmers
  • Artists
  • Writers
  • Please note we only accept applications from people aged 18 years and over. 

Programme team

Teaching will be delivered by staff from the School of Art & Humanities (Critical & Historical Studies, Critical Writing in Art & Design, Curating Contemporary Art and History of Design). 

The School is led by the Dean Juan Cruz. Its staff of curators, writers and researchers include Professor Victoria Walsh, Dr Sarah Teasley, Dr Brian Dillon, Jeremy Miller, Dr Grant Watson and Rebecca Heald.

Admission criteria

Basic fluency in English

How to apply

An application consisting of your CV and a 500-word statement explaining relevant professional and/or academic experience

To apply, please email curating-summer-school@rca.ac.uk with your CV and a 500-word statement explaining relevant professional and/or academic experience. Applications are only accepted via email

If your application is accepted, you will be emailed with instructions on how to complete booking for your place.

Application deadlines

Spaces are limited, so book now to avoid disappointment. We particularly advise early application if you will need a tourist visa to enter the UK. 

CONTACT

+44 (0)20 7590 4545
curating-summer-school@rca.ac.uk

Register interest to download full course description.

To apply, please email curating-summer-school@rca.ac.uk with your application (see How to Apply). If your application is accepted, you will be emailed with instructions on how to complete booking for your place.