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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 2016
Part time 2 years 1 day a week (Tuesday/Wednesday) September 2016

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.

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.

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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • The final project enables students to develop an aspect of their curatorial practice into either a theoretical piece or project.

    During the course of the MA, students will develop their academic skills through research and essay writing, these skills will be supplemented by working on curatorial briefs and delivering presentations.

    The final project offers students the opportunity to consolidate all their learning and provide themselves with a platform for further study or employment. Final projects can include exhibition proposals, live projects or written work.


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.

For further information:

Postgraduate admissions administrator
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 4646
Email us


This course is taught at Knights Park and the Design Museum, London

View Knights Park and the Design Museum, London on our Google Maps

For further information:

Postgraduate admissions administrator
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 4646
Email us


This course is taught at Knights Park and the Design Museum, London

View Knights Park and the Design Museum, London on our Google Maps
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