Search our site
Search our site

Politics of Display

  • Module code: CD7108
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: 7
  • Credits: 30
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

Display is an inherently political practice. Design and art are constantly evolving disciplines which shifting framework and overlapping boundaries necessitate persistent negotiation and (re)definition. To emphasise that this is not a new phenomenon, this module introduces exhibition examples of the last 100 years to show how such modifications have been communicated and challenged through creative and innovative curatorial approaches. Most importantly, this exhibition history demonstrates that defining the field has always been closely connected to political, social and economic aspects such as the consideration of national identities, movements, technology, culture and consumption. Investigating in historic and current adaptations of curatorial practice will directly influence how you formulate your own concept for your major project. Experimentation with formats and creative approaches are encouraged making full use of Kingston School of Art's workshops and curatorial sides. Guest lectures and tutorials will stimulate, motivate and support your independent or group work, and ensure the application of theoretical and methodological thinking.

Aims

  • To introduce the development of design culture during the 20th and 21st centuries.
  • To enable critical assessment of key aspects of design history through the study of historical and contemporary exhibitions and display.
  • To promote understanding of design in the expanded field as contemporary condition
  • To introduce key theoretical texts that have influenced the understanding of a certain period responding to political, social, geographical, technological, ecological, cultural and economic conditions
  • To introduce theoretical thinking and writing, and its influence on creative practice and vice versa
  • To provide opportunities to explore the potential of contemporary curatorial practice, its various formats and approaches.

Learning outcomes

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

  • Critically evaluate and asses the development of design and current state of design and curatorial practice in contemporary culture
  • Recognise and identify the role of design as a significant cultural activity in a complex geopolitical context and understand the implications of its changing nature for curatorial practice.
  • Critically assess, challenge and write project briefs to the changing needs of the sector
  • Identify, select and apply from a variety of approaches to design curation in a contemporary context and experiment creatively with its formats in project work

Curriculum content

  • History and politics of display through key exhibitions in the 20th century to understand theoretical discourse and varying curatorial approaches
  • Contemporary International Curatorial Case Studies in museums and exhibitions.
  • Introduction of key theoretical texts
  • Introduction and skills training of methods such as oral history, design fiction, argumentation, critical writing
  • Examination of and experimentation with emerging curatorial formats
  • Development of new methodologies for writing history underpinned by contemporary theory for the documentation and curation of collections and displays.
  • Emerging contemporary practice and curating.

Teaching and learning strategy

This module is delivered through lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops and visits where appropriate.  Guests will be invited for special lectures or workshops. Weekly readings of key texts are a requirement and students are expected to initiate and lead the discussion within the timetabled seminar programme and reflection sessions. 

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.

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.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

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

Assessment strategy

Assessment will be based on the development of a 15-min group presentation of project work and a 3,000 word essay developed through the module. Class participation is key for students to gain skills in debate and thorough argumentation. Students will also demonstrate that they can apply knowledge that they gained from reading, lectures and visits. The essay serves as a reference point against which the 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. Students will be expected to draw on, incorporate and further develop skills in curatorial practice, knowledge and experience through readings and debates, acquired through previous modules. The essay should interrogate, challenge and, where relevant, question current curatorial practice and thinking. Students will be encouraged to experiment with alternative formats either in text form, such as design fiction, or as proposal for performance, video or other. Formative, and where appropriate summative, feedback and feed forward will be provided in seminars, workshops and tutorials, especially in connection with presentations and project work.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
1) Critically evaluate and asses the development and current state of design and curatorial practices in contemporary culture Formative feedback in seminars and tutorials. Summatively assessed though the essay.
2) Recognise and identify the role of design as a significant cultural activity in a complex geopolitical context and understand the implications of its changing nature for curatorial practice Formative feedback in seminars, workshops and tutorials. Summatively assessed through the essay and group presentation of project work.
3) Identify the varying approaches to design curation in a contemporary context and experiment creatively with its formats Formative feedback in seminars, workshops and tutorials. Summatively assessed through group presentation of project work.
4) Connect the project brief to the changing needs of the sector with employability in mind. Formative feedback in seminars. Summatively assessed through essay submission and group presentation of project work.
5) Identify the varying approaches to design curation in a contemporary context. Formative feedback in seminars. Summatively assessed through essay.

Elements of Assessment

Description of Assessment Definitive UNISTATS Categories Percentage
Essay (3,000 words) Coursework 60%
Group presentation for project work (15 min) Practical exam 40%
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any element of assessment is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module.

Bibliography recommended reading

Benjamin, Walter (1935/ 2008) The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. London: Penguin

Bennett, T. (1995) The Birth of the Museum: History, Theory, Politics. London: Routledge.

Berger, J. (1972). Ways of Seeing, Penguin Books, London.

von Bismarck, Beatrice and Benjamin Meyer-Krahmer (Eds.) (2016) Cultures of the Curatorial 3. Hospitality: Hosting Relations in Exhibitions. Berlin: Sternberg Press

Clark, Judith and De La Haye, Amy (2014) Exhibiting Fashion: Before and After 1971. Yale University Press.

Debord, Guy (1968/1992) Society of Spectacle. London: Rebel Press.

Dunne, Anthony and Fiona Raby (2013) Speculative Everything; Design, Fiction and Social Dreaming. MIT Press. Cambridge, Mass.

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

Graham, B., Cook, S. (2010). Rethinking Curating: Art after New Media. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Huber, Joerg et al (ed) (2011). It's not a Garden Table: Art and Design in the Extended Field. Zurich

Karp, Ivan and Steven D. Lavine (ed) (1991). Exhibiting Cultures: The Poetics and Politics of Museum Display. Washington and London: Smithonian

Kraus, Rosalind, 'Sculpture in the Expanded Field', In: October, Vol.8, Spring 1979, pp. 30-44.

Latour, Bruno & Peter Weibel (ed).(2005) Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy or How to Make Things Public. Karlsruhe; Cambridge, Massachusetts; London, England: ZKM; The MIT Press.

McLuhan, M. (1964). Understanding Media: The Extension of Man. Various Reprints

Noordegraaf, J. (2004). Strategies of Display: Museum Presentation in Nineteenth - and Twentieth - Century Visual Culture. NAi Publishers, Rotterdam.

O'Doherty, B. (1999). Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space, expanded edition. University of California Press, London.

Smith, Terry (2012) Thinking Contemporary Curating. New York: Independent Curators International.

Staneszewski, Mary A  (2001)  The Power of Display: a history of exhibition installations at the Museum of Modern Art  MIT Press

Wade, Gavin (2002)  Curating in the 21st Century  Walsall

Find a course

Course finder

>
Postgraduate study
Site menu