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Curatorial Formats

  • Module code: CD7107
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: 7
  • Credits: 30
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This module identifies and works with emerging curatorial formats and practices in order to develop your understanding of different curatorial formats. The field of contemporary design is a rapidly shifting landscape. Technologies are constantly changing and advances in social media networks, interpretation tools and public programming are having a profound impact on the way that exhibitions are conceived and presented. An expanded field of practice and new digital tools call for a range of creative solutions and specialist skills from curators. Curators need to equip themselves with the skills that address traditional forms of curating and writing alongside online platforms, broadcasting and more experimental media and display formats curated for diverse audiences, such as public programmes and residencies. A series of lectures, seminars and workshops from leading practitioners in the field will present case studies of innovative practice.

These elements are further developed in group curating projects, with live project briefs set by Design Museum curators and leading practitioners in the field which introduce and test new curatorial formats. The projects encourage communication, collaboration, peer interaction and critical reflection in combination with the development of research, analytical and critical skills. Student learning is supported by a programme of curating visits, including exhibitions and other sites of design and curatorial practice in London. It provides the opportunity to hear curators reflect on their practice in the context of their own spaces. The programme encourages critical reflection on the visits and the writing of exhibition reviews.

Aims

  • To introduce emerging curatorial formats and practices;
  • To enable examination of, and experimentation with emerging curatorial formats and practices;
  • To explore the role of the design collection and archive as a means of generating exhibitions and displays;
  • To enable participation in lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical workshops, group and individual projects and peer group presentations that identify the key ideas shaping curatorial practice and the core skills necessary to produce creative exhibitions;
  • To develop collaborative working practice on live curating projects at the Design Museum.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Define and generate methods of exhibition and display;
  • Develop a comprehensive understanding of emerging techniques necessary to stage effective exhibitions and collection displays;
  • Synthesise the role of adult learning in the museum and the means by which public programmes are developed to support an exhibition;
  • Enable clear communication of ideas and critical reflection on curatorial practice across a range of platforms;
  • Develop a high level of critical thinking and practical skills which can be applied and developed in future careers.

Curriculum content

  • The role of design collections and archives.
  • Collection management and care.
  • Curating outside the museum and gallery environment.
  • The museum as a platform for critical discourse and debate.
  • Developing content for public programmes.
  • The role of residencies in supporting emerging designers and design practice.

Teaching and learning strategy

This module is taught by formal lectures, seminars, workshops and project work. Curators and designers will be invited to introduce the key aspects of exhibition curating within the context of a public museum. There is also a group curating project led by a live project brief, to which students are asked to respond. The module includes a rolling programme of visits to exhibitions and other sites of design and curatorial practice in London and students will be expected to participate in this programme.

The module will make use of the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Canvas for communication and dissemination of information between students and staff as well as making online learning materials available to all. Students should check this site on a daily basis for module information, timetables, sign-ups, updates and additional information and teaching materials.

All courses based in the Kingston School of Art offer students free access to the online video tutorial platform Lynda.com. This provides a wide range of subjects to choose from, many with downloadable exercise files, including software tutorials covering photography, graphics, web design, audio and music, CAD and Microsoft Office software, as well as courses on Business and Management skills. Some of these are embedded in the curriculum and offer additional self-paced learning, others may be taken at will by students wishing to broaden their employability skills in other areas.

Students receive membership of the Design Museum as part of this module, and the module is taught on site at the museum. Students are encouraged to apply for student membership of the Museums Association which provides free entry to UK museums and exhibitions with an MA card, Museums Journal monthly and Museum Practice online. Membership of ICOM will provide free entry to international museums worldwide with an ICOM card.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive UNISTATS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, visits, project work 45
Guided independent study 255
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

Assessment will be based on a 3,000 word essay that reflect the themes of the module and a 15-minute group presentation related to group project work. Class participation is key for students to gain skills in critically assessing work and events, and in constructing convincing argumentation. Students will be expected to draw on, incorporate and further develop skills in curatorial practice, knowledge and experience gained from readings, lectures and visits. The essay serves as a reference point against which the progress and development of independent thinking of students with regards to their understanding of the fields (design and curatorial practice), the application of theory and methodology and the formulation of arguments can be measured. The essay should interrogate, challenge and, where relevant, question current curatorial thinking and its engagement with design practice. Formative feedback will be provided on work-in-progress group presentations in seminars, workshops and tutorials.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
1. To define and generate methods of exhibition and display; Formative feedback in seminars, workshops and tutorials. Summatively assessed through the Essay and Group Presentation related to live project work.
2. To develop a comprehensive understanding of emerging techniques necessary to stage effective exhibitions and collection displays; Formative feedback in seminars, workshops and tutorials. Summatively assessed through the Essay and Group Presentation related to live project work.
3. To synthesise the role of adult learning in the museum and the means by which Public Programmes are developed to support an exhibition; Formative feedback in seminars, workshops and tutorials. Summatively assessed through the Essay and Group Presentation related to live project work.
4. To enable clear communication of ideas and critical reflection on curatorial practice across a range of platforms; Formative feedback in seminars, workshops and tutorials. Summatively assessed through the Essay and Group Presentation related to live project work.
5. To develop a high level of critical thinking and practical skills which can be applied and developed in future careers. Formative feedback in seminars, workshops and tutorials. Summatively assessed through the Essay and Group Presentation related to live project work.

Elements of Assessment

Description of Assessment Definitive UNISTATS Categories Percentage
3,000 word essay Coursework 60%
15-minute presentation related to group project work Practical exam 40%
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Bibliography recommended reading

Beck, Ulrich. Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity, London: SAGE Publications Ltd (1992)

Balzer, David. Curationism: How Curating Took Over the Art World and Everything Else, London: Pluto Press (2015)

Farrelly, Liz, and Weddell, J. (eds.), Design Objects and the Museum, London: Bloomsbury, (2012)

Goodbun, Jon; Rumpfhuber, Andreas; Till, Jeremy and Klein, Michael. The Design of Scarcity, Strelka Press (2014)

Graham, Beryl and Cook, Sarah. Rethinking Curating: Art after New Media, London et al: Bloomsbury (2010)

Greenfield, Adam. Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life, Verso (2017)

Hillhouse, Susanna. Collections Management: A Practical Guide, Collections Trust (2009)

Koolhaus, Rem and Ulrich-Obrist, Hans. Serpentine Gallery 24-hour Interview Marathon, Trolley Books (2007)

Miller, Daniel. The Comfort of Things, Cambridge: Polity Press (2008)

Murphy, Douglas. Last Futures: Nature, Technology, and the End of Architecture, London: Verso (2015)

O'Neill, Paul and Wilson, Mick. Curating and the Educational Turn, Cambridge: Open Editions (2010)

O'Neill, Paul. The Culture of Curating and the Curating of Culture(s), Cambridge, Mass; London: MIT (2012)

Rosenbaum, Steven. Curation Nation: How to win in a world where consumers are curators, New York: McGraw Hill (2010)

Tallon, Loïc and Walker, Kevin. Digital Technologies and the Museum Experience: Handheld Guides and Other Media, AltaMira Press (2008)

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