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CCA Show 2019 Installation shot, The Unexpected Beautiful

Overview

An international leader in the field

Key details

  • 180 credits
  • 1 year programme
  • Full-time study

School or Centre

Application deadline

  • 16 Feb 2022
  • Still accepting applications

Learn to develop innovative curatorial proposals with London-based arts organisations

This programme is subject to validation

Curating is a creative, dynamic and diverse practice, constantly changing in relation to its context, to the work of artists and a range of cultural practitioners, and to the interests and expectations of audiences. When you join the MA Curating Contemporary Art (CCA) you join a well-established and highly influential programme and community of students actively contributing to how curating is understood, practiced and thought about across the globe. As a highly international programme, designed to develop your critical awareness of curating in a global context, we also place real importance on working collaboratively, peer-to-peer, as a way of learning together and sharing knowledges and cultures, and testing ideas. When you graduate you will join a network of over 500 CCA alumni from across 47 different countries, many still working together, collectively shaping the practice of curating contemporary art and the spaces and places in which it is encountered.

Explore further

Visit the MA Curating Contemporary Art graduate projects to view graduate work from the class of 2021

Catch the replays from our November 2021 Virtual Day.

Gallery

Facilities

The School of Arts & Humanities is located across our Battersea and Kensington sites.

View all facilities

You'll benefit from being part of a vibrant art and design school environment. There are a number of bookable seminar and project spaces across the site available to all Arts & Humanities students.

  • Curating Contemporary Art seminar (photo: Richard Haughton)

    Curating Contemporary Art seminar (photo: Richard Haughton)

  • Battersea computer room (photo: Richard Haughton)

    Battersea computer room (photo: Richard Haughton)

More details on what you'll study.

Find out what you'll cover in this programme.

What you'll cover

This programme is subject to validation

The programme is delivered across three terms and includes a combination of programme, School and College units.

Term 1

In the first term, through the Curatorial Thinking unit, through talks and lectures by visiting curators, readings, seminars, and workshops, you will engage with genealogies of curating and contemporary issues affecting its production and organisation, such as globalisation and migration, the digital and networked culture, urbanisation and use of space, and changing understandings of publics.

Alongside this, in the Ecologies of Curating unit, through site visits, visiting lecturers, lectures and workshops you will gain a curatorial insight into the complex and diverse range of spaces and places, galleries, museums and organisations, in which curating and programming takes place and on which the contemporary art ecology is dependent. Together these two units allow you to identify the relation between theory and practice in curating and programming, and prepare you for term 2.

Across Terms 1 and 2, you will participate in the College-wide unit. This unit aims to support students to meet the challenges of a complex, uncertain and changing world by bringing them together to work collaboratively on a series of themed projects informed by expertise within and beyond the College. These projects will challenge you to use your intellect and imagination to address key cultural, social, environmental and economic challenges. In doing so, you will develop and reflect on the abilities required to translate knowledge into action, and help demonstrate the contribution that the creative arts can make to our understanding and experience of the world.

Term 2

In the second term, for the Curating in a Collaborative Context unit, you will learn how to work collaboratively in peer groups on a live project brief set by an external partner with a focus on generating curatorial proposals to professional standards of Shortlist and Stage 1 Feasibility. Mastering the skills of proposal development, including the commissioning of artists, designers, programmers, you will learn the role and value of project research and planning, presentation, mediation, and advocacy. The final project proposal will be presented to the external partners for response and evaluation

In term 2 all School of Arts & Humanities students will participate in the Urgency of the Arts, School-wide unit. Through this unit we ask: what does arts and humanities research and practice have to offer in our current socio-political climate? The unit introduces students to a diverse range of perspectives, approaches and practices relevant to contemporary practice and thought in the Arts & Humanities. The delivery is devised to help you identify and query your own practices and disciplinary assumptions through encounters with others and within the various practices undertaken by students in the School, and to raise awareness around contemporary concerns. You will be supported in understanding the ramifications of your own work and practice within a broad cultural context, and to recognise its many potentially unintended readings and consequences.

Term 3

In the final term, as part of the Independent Research Project (IRP), you will work in your groups to curate a display of your project proposal and deliver a public-facing event, designed to generate audiences and critical debate. Additionally, the IRP supports each student to establish their own critical position in the field through the development of either a critical research essay or a creative project development plan.

Requirements

What you need to know before you apply

Candidates are selected entirely on merit and applications are welcomed from all over the world. The selection process will consider creativity, imagination and innovation as demonstrated in your portfolio, as well as your potential to benefit from the programme and to achieve high MA standards overall.

You are generally expected to have a good undergraduate degree from an arts or humanities background.If your undergraduate degree is not arts or humanities-based you should be able to articulate its relevance, or how it informs your aim to study Curating Contemporary Art. You also need to be able to demonstrate an active interest in contemporary art and its presentation and mediation, and have some practical experience of working within the visual arts or cultural sector that is relevant to the field of curatorial practice.

As a student on this programme you will help to develop the multi-, interdisciplinary and exploratory nature of contemporary curatorial practice and the future of curating. One of the primary aims of this programme is that you develop the skills and confidence to work effectively within this field, to act as an innovative and responsible practitioner, and that you contribute to the valuing of art and culture in your future work.

What's needed from you

Your portfolio is a showcase of your work as an artist or designer and can be made up of images, videos or writing examples. Your portfolio helps us to better understand your application and allows you to show evidence of your ability and motivation to undertake a given programme.

Generally, we’re looking for you to demonstrate your:

  • Creativity, imagination and innovation
  • Ability to articulate the intentions of the work
  • Intellectual engagement in areas relevant to the work
  • Technical skills appropriate to the work
  • Potential to benefit from the programme

Please upload ​twoseparate submissions:

1. Critical Review – 500 words maximum

This text should offer a critical evaluation of a ​contemporary art exhibition or projec​t that you have recently visited and discuss why you think it is successful or not in relation to its curatorial approach.

2. Curatorial Proposal for a contemporary art exhibition or project you would like to curate – maximum 4 sides of A4 In your proposal please include the following:

  • Curatorial Rationale (what is your proposal about?)
  • Curatorial approach (how will you curate it?)
  • Artists/work/content (what will it include?)
  • Space/Platform/Venue (where will it take place?)
  • Public events/Education programming (Who is the audience?)
  • Images as appropriate (visuals)

If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need the equivalent of an IELTS Academic score of 6.5 with a 6.0 in the Test of Written English (TWE) and at least 5.5 in other skills. Students achieving a grade of at least 6.0, with a grade of 5.5 in the Test of Written English, may be eligible to take the College’s English for Academic Purposes course to enable them to reach the required standard.

You are exempt from this requirement if you have received a 2.1 degree or above from a university in a majority English-speaking nation within the last two years.

If you need a Student Visa to study at the RCA, you will also need to meet the Home Office’s minimum requirements for entry clearance.

Find out more about English-language requirements

Fees & funding

For this programme

Fees for new students

Fees for September 2022 entry on this programme are outlined below. From 2021 onward, EU students are classified as Overseas for tuition fee purposes.

Home
(subsidised)
£13,500*
Overseas and EU
£32,000*

Deposit

New entrants to the College will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit in order to secure their place. This will be offset against the tuition fees.

Home
£1,000
Overseas and EU
£2,000

* Total cost is based on the assumption that the programme is completed in the timeframe stated in the programme details. Additional study time may incur additional charges.

Scholarships

Scholarships

Scholarships are awarded for a specific programme and entry point and cannot be deferred without consent from the academic Programme and scholarships panel.

More information

External funding

There are many funding sources, with some students securing scholarships and others saving money from working. It is impossible to list all the potential funding sources; however, the following information could be useful.

Payments

Tuition fees are due on the first day of the academic year and students are sent an invoice prior to beginning their studies. Payments can be made in advance, on registration or in two instalments.

Start your application

Curating Contemporary Art Seminar. Photography by Richard Haughton

Change your life and be here in 2022

The Royal College of Art welcomes applicants from all over the world.

Before you begin

1.
Make sure you've read and understood the entrance requirements and key dates
More information about eligibility and key dates
2.
Check you have all the information you need to apply.
Read our application process guide
Visit our applications portal to get started

Ask a question

Get in touch if you’d like to find out more or have any questions.

Email us at
[email protected]
RCA Kensington cafe