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Curating Contemporary Art and Design summer school
Next course starts 28 June 2021

Discover contemporary art & design curatorial thinking and practice, with sector leading curators, researchers and writers.

Key details

Fees

  • Early bird fee: £1,350
  • ends 31 May 2021
  • Regular fee: £1,500
  • from 1 June 2021

Location

  • Online

    10 sessions over 2 weeks

    Week 1:

    28 June – 2 July 2021

    Week 2:

    5–9 July 2021

    10am – 1.30pm BST per day

The online Curating Contemporary Art and Design: Theory and Practice course provides an intensive introduction to contemporary curatorial thinking and practice in art and design. It offers critical perspectives from the viewpoint of experts who curate, research and write in the cultural sector, with opportunities for participants to engage with cutting edge curatorial approaches emerging both within and beyond London.

The summer school emphasises critical thinking around curatorial theory and practice in a contemporary context. Through in-depth discussions with pioneering curators, participants are introduced to collections and displays of leading galleries and museums, nationally and internationally. In addition, the sessions consider wider forms of practice such as commissioning, programming, publishing and online curating.

Led by the School of Arts & Humanities, the course team is composed of curators, critics, researchers, historians and writers. The course combines analytical debate with practical, hands-on activities taught from the world’s leading art and design university and delivered online. As a forum for learning in a collaborative, highly dynamic atmosphere, the course also provides the opportunity to gain one-to-one support and advice from our faculty of experts and visiting speakers.

The School has been running successfully since 2016. As well as experts from the Royal College of Art, previous years have included sessions with renowned curators and researchers from Tate Britain, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Somerset House, the Museum of Modern Art and influential London fine art galleries and commissioners such as Cubitt Gallery and UP Projects.

About the course

The course offers an intensive two-week programme of seminars, curatorial workshops, presentations, behind-the-scenes encounters, collaborative project work, and critical debate.

Considering factors such as identity, geopolitics, social economics, environmental concerns, digital developments and creative economies, participants will be encouraged to consider critically the role of art and design curating in the expanded field.

The theme of the RCA Curating Contemporary Art and Design course in 2021 is Why now? The urgency of curating.

Week 1: Curatorial encounters

Taking this theme as a central provocation, participants are encouraged to consider the value of curating art and design in the present moment. Through an intensive online programme, you will experience the latest developments in contemporary art and design curating emerging within and beyond London. At each point of encounter, we will ask: why this? Why now? Is it urgent? In the first week, the dynamic course comprises workshops, seminars, presentations and discussions with curators and cultural practitioners working at the forefront of the field.

Monday

Welcome and introduction

Ice-breaker workshop with RCA School of Arts & Humanities tutor

Discussion and reflection on theme, readings and activities

Tuesday

Seminar with external contributor

Workshop with RCA School of Arts & Humanities tutor

Discussion and reflection on theme, readings and activities

Wednesday

Seminar with with RCA School of Arts & Humanities tutor

Presentation from external contributor

Discussion and reflection on theme, readings and activities

Thursday

Seminar with external contributor

Workshop with RCA School of Arts & Humanities tutor

Discussion and reflection on theme, readings and activities

Friday

Seminar with with RCA School of Arts & Humanities tutor

Presentation from external contributor

Discussion and reflection on theme, readings and activities

Week 2: Curatorial practice

You will spend the second week working collaboratively in small groups learning to think collectively, while independently developing your own curatorial positions. Additional seminars, workshops and ‘crit’ sessions will be delivered by RCA tutors and by leading cultural practitioners in order to provide tailored support and stimulation for this active curatorial work. At the end of week two, each group will present a project, which could be in the form of an exhibition proposal, publication, event, digital initiative, online performance, or another medium that responds to the specific question selected by that group.

Monday

Group projects introduction with RCA School of Arts & Humanities tutor

Group projects workshop with RCA School of Arts & Humanities tutor

Group projects breakout discussions

Tuesday

Seminar with with RCA School of Arts & Humanities tutor

Presentation from external contributor

Group projects breakout discussions

Wednesday

Group projects ‘crit’ with RCA School of Arts & Humanities tutors

Workshop with external contributor

Group projects breakout discussions

Thursday

Seminar with with RCA School of Arts & Humanities tutor

Presentation from external contributor

Group projects breakout discussions

Friday

Group project presentations with RCA School of Arts & Humanities tutor

Closing discussion on theme, readings, activities and presentations

Benefits include:

  • Exploring a range of fine art and design disciplines in international contexts
  • Access to curators, critics, researchers, historians and writers
  • One-to-one support and advice from the RCA's faculty of experts and visiting speakers
  • Learning in a collaborative, highly dynamic atmosphere through an interdisciplinary approach
  • Interaction and networking with international peers from different backgrounds.

Since 2016, we have welcomed participants from Singapore's Asian Civilisations Museum, Budapest's Museum of Applied Arts, the Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the Sharjah Art Foundation, the Warwick Arts Centre and the Design Trust to name a few.

  • You will learn about current debates in art and design by engaging with professionals working at the forefront of the field
  • You will learn about the latest developments in contemporary critical and curatorial practice by encountering a range of institutions, exhibitions and curated programmes
  • You will learn how curatorial projects are conceived, researched and delivered
  • You will learn how to develop and pitch curatorial project ideas
  • You will learn how to work collaboratively

Learning takes place through a dynamic 10-day programme, delivered over two weeks. Each day features at least two sessions, comprising three-and-a-half hours of live interaction.

In these sessions, participants are taught as a group and work in smaller teams.

The sessions are delivered by RCA tutors and invited experts, including curators, artists and cultural practitioners.

These sessions feature:

  • Seminars
  • Presentations
  • Workshops
  • Encounters with exhibitions and institutions
  • One-to-one remote support and advice from subject experts
  • Collaborative group work and group discussion
  • In-depth feedback through ‘crits’
  • Project development and presentations

The course is convened by academic leader Rosie Ram, a Visiting Lecturer in the School of Arts and Humanities at the Royal College of Art and overseen by Professor Victoria Walsh, Head of Programme for MA Curating Contemporary Art.

RCA tutors:

  • Ben Cranfield, Senior Tutor, Curating Contemporary Art, School of Arts & Humanities, RCA 
  • Grant Watson, Tutor (Research), Curating Contemporary Art, School of Arts & Humanities, RCA
  • Rebecca Heald, Tutor, Curating Contemporary Art, School of Arts & Humanities, RCA
  • Sarah Cheang, Head of Programme, V&A/RCA History of Design, School of Arts & Humanities, RCA
  • Marianne Mulvey, Tutor, Curatorial Practice, School of Arts & Humanities, RCA
  • Amanprit Sandhu, Tutor, Curatorial Practice, School of Arts & Humanities, RCA

Curators and leading cultural practitioners:

  • Lucia Pietroiusti, Curator of General Ecology at the Serpentine (alumni of the RCA Curating Contemporary Art MA)
  • Jessica Vaughan, Senior Curator at Art on the Underground (alumni of the RCA Curating Contemporary Art MA)
  • Polly Brannan, Artistic Director of Open School East
  • Sumitra Upham. Senior Curator at the Design Museum
  • Dr Mark Sealy MBE, Director of Autograph ABP
  • Matt Williams, Public Programme Curator at Camden Art Centre
  • Amelia Hawk, artist, activist, EOP and Public Programmer at Eastside Projects

Disclaimer: The list of contributors is subject to availability.

The course is organised in synchronous sessions in a live virtual environment that combines various digital platforms and tools.

Zoom
Using the videoconferencing service Zoom, RCA tutors and invited experts deliver a mix of:

  • Seminars
  • Presentations
  • Workshops
  • Collaborative group work and group discussion
  • In-depth feedback through ‘crits’
  • Project development and presentations
  • Participants interact with the faculty and peers in breakout rooms in real time

Miro

Participants engage in cross-functional team work with the use of visual collaboration tools.

Through the online whiteboard platform Miro, participants get to:

  • interact with various formats and templates
  • plan and brainstorm ideas
  • create processes and workshop activities in the digital workspace.

Moodle

The College's learning platform Moodle is personalised according to the course's requirements to provide participants with a secure integrated system where they can access the course content.

The hub hosts a plethora of useful resources to enable the learning experience, including comprehensive timetables, pre-reading materials, course slides, curated videos, tutorials and session recordings.

Slack

Participants stay connected and communicate via the channel-based messaging platform Slack throughout the whole duration of the course.

In this space, the academics, facilitators and delegates get to network, plan the course activities, share documents and files during the live sessions or offline.

Participants will learn to:

  • Engage with current debates in art and design
  • Explore contemporary critical and curatorial practice
  • Understand how curatorial projects are conceived, researched and delivered
  • Learn how to develop and pitch project ideas
  • Learn how to work collaboratively

  • Art and design graduates
  • Early- and mid-career professionals from the cultural sector
  • Curators and arts programmers
  • Artists and designers
  • Writers
  • Researchers

Participants must:

  • Have a successful application
  • Have an undergraduate degree
  • Have a good level of English language
  • Be 21 years or over

To apply, please complete our online application form.

This online form requires applicants to submit:

  1. A CV
  2. A 300-word statement explaining relevant professional and/or academic experience and outlining your interest in the course.
  • If your application is accepted, you will be emailed with a booking link. A deadline for accepting and paying for your place will be provided in the email. Your place will be held until this deadline, if you do not make payment by this date, then your place will be released and offered to another participant. 
  • If your application is unsuccessful, we will inform you by email. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide individual feedback due to the high volume of applications that we receive. 
  • If the course is fully booked and your application is successful, we will add your name to a waiting list. 

Application deadlines 

Applications will be assessed by the RCA course team every two weeks or until the course is fully booked.  

We will inform all applicants by email within two weeks after submission of an application.

Applicants are advised to apply early to avoid disappointment as places are strictly limited.

Disclaimer: The information given is accurate at the time of publication, however, the RCA reserves the right to amend the described course as circumstances dictate.

Course team

Rosie Ram

Rosie Ram

Academic Leader

Visiting Lecturer in the School of Arts & Humanities at the RCA, Rosie is a specialist in modern and contemporary visual culture. She has curated displays, taught and programmed events at Tate Britain, the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Central Saint Martins, and Chelsea College of Arts, and tutored graduates and delivered workshops for VA Art Education in China. Prior to her doctorate, Rosie worked at Chisenhale Gallery in London.

Contact us

Get in touch with Jo Chounta if you'd like to find out more about this or any of our other short courses.

Email us at
[email protected]
Jo Chounta Executive Education Coordinator