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Curating Contemporary Design MA (in partnership with the Design Museum)

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 1 year 2 days a week (Tuesday and Wednesday)
September 2018
Full time 2 years including professional placement 2 days a week (Tuesday and Wednesday) plus placement year
September 2018
Part time 2 years 1 day a week (Tuesday/Wednesday)
September 2018

Choose Kingston's Curating Contemporary Design MA

Run jointly with the Design Museum, this course is taught by leading curators and designers within the field. Through its projects at the Design Museum and with prestigious cultural organisations, including the British Council, Architecture Foundation, British Museum and the V&A, the course gives you the opportunity to curate live projects and build your own professional profile. Ambitious international projects are an integral part of the curriculum, and graduates have gone on to successful careers around the world. This degree is taught in the Department of Creative and Cultural Industries, part of Kingston School of Art.

Key features

  • As the course is taught in partnership with the Design Museum, London, you will benefit from the experience of studying at one of the world's best-known design museums.
  • Professional practice modules at the Design Museum underpin modules on the history and theory of curating design taught at Kingston University.
  • Work experience and study visits are an important part of the course.

What will you study?

You will gain a grounding in the professional aspects of curatorial practice as well as first-hand experience in planning and organising exhibitions. This practical experience will be supported by modules in history and theory, ensuring you have a thorough knowledge of the ideas and context underpinning the display and curating of contemporary designed objects. There is a strong emphasis on gaining key employability skills for the sector, ensuring a high level of professional development. We develop live projects with leading organisations such as the British Council, Crafts Council and V&A Museum.


Curatorial project briefs, seminar presentations, essays, and dissertation.

Work placement scheme

Many postgraduate courses at Kingston University allow students to do a 12-month work placement as part of their course. The responsibility for finding the work placement is with the student; we cannot guarantee the work placement, just the opportunity to undertake it. As the work placement is an assessed part of the course, it is covered by a student's tier 4 visa.

During the placement year, you will pay the fee of £1,070 for 2017/18. This amount will only be charged to your account after you find a placement and are enrolled on the module. You will not be charged this fee if you do not manage to secure a work placement.

Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.

Course structure

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.


  • This module provides the professional context for the whole programme. You will:

    • develop your understanding of the nature of and the complex inter-relationships between the commercial and public arts markets;
    • learn the fundamentals of economic theory and appraisal and investment techniques that underlie valuations of assets, including the use of IT and apply these to identified objects; and
    • develop business skills, organisational knowledge and professional conduct and ethics.

    You learn through lectures, IT workshops and seminars. Assessment is by:

    • a 3,000 word case study;
    • two seminar papers; and
    • an IT workshop.

    Read full module description

  • The curating team at the Design Museum teach this module. It brings you into contact with:

    • the key elements of exhibition curating;
    • team work with designers;
    • graphic studios;
    • educationalists; and
    • fund raising.

    Work experience is also an important part of this module. Most students work on an aspect of the Design Museum's programme, but there are also opportunities to work at the Science Museum, Crafts Council, V&A, Museum of London and the Geffrye Museum.

    Read full module description

  • This course provides an historical framework of collecting and curating design from the mid-19th century onwards. It will:

    • identify key models and critical writings - enabling you to understand case studies of the development of Western and American museums;
    • explore the complex relationships between theory and practice; and
    • enable you to gain a critical evaluation of how the past has informed contemporary collecting practice in museums.


    Read full module description

  • Making Of The Modern World investigates key aspects of design history through the consideration of national identities, design movements, culture and consumption.

    Covering such a large period of over 100 years, the module aims to demonstrate the changing processes of design as they occur within the paradigmatic schemes of modernism and postmodernism.

    The programme includes curatorial visits around design collections and organisations and two live curatorial briefs set around contemporary design.

    Read full module description


    The dissertation is the capstone project; the final and most significant piece of work that curating students take on taught masters courses. In consultation with an allocated tutor, students develop a self-directed research project on an aspect of curatorial practice. Focusing on skills of critical research, analysis and presentation, the dissertation provides the opportunity for students to synthesise and direct their research and learning, and demonstrate the extent of their critical abilities at Masters Level. It also provides students with an opportunity to pursue an alternative portfolio of work such as an exhibition, web-based, or a creative project in conjunction with written work.  In addition there is an option to present a project with a 5000-word evaluation offering the opportunity to link the module to employability opportunities both internationally and in the UK.

    Read full module description


You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Open Days at the Design Museum

Find out more about MA Curating Contemporary Design by attending one of our Open Days at the Design Museum. The Open Days are an excellent opportunity for you to meet academic staff and discover more about the course.

Our next Open Days take place between 12.00 and 1.30pm on:

  • Tuesday 16 January 2018
  • Tuesday 20 March 2018
  • Tuesday 8 May 2018

If you would like to attend an Open Day, please contact Lauren Harris-Pugh at Kingston University to register your attendance:

We aim to ensure that all courses and modules advertised are delivered. However in some cases courses and modules may not be offered. For more information about why, and when you can expect to be notified, read our Changes to Academic Provision.

A copy of the regulations governing this course is available here

Details of term dates for this course can be found here

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Admissions team

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Contact us

Admissions team

*5p per minute from a BT landline. Call charges from other providers may vary.

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