Art Business MA

Why choose this course?

If you are interested in developing a career in the commercial art world, this course will prepare you for the opportunities lying ahead. You will develop the key skills and gain the knowledge to understand global art markets in the context of their ever-changing artistic, cultural and economic environments.

Making the most of its location in Europe's art market capital in London, this Art Business MA degree draws on a high standard of interdisciplinary academic and practical teaching by recognised industry professionals. It also offers insights from art market practitioners, both those with long-standing careers and those who are rising entrepreneurs of the millennial generation. The curriculum is carefully designed to balance skills training with academic rigour, and to combine core business and legal concepts with industry-specific knowledge in order to reflect the diverse professional landscape students will enter on graduation. Our students benefit from frequent field trips to different art businesses, including galleries, auction houses and art fairs.

The course is delivered in partnership with the Kingston Business School, enabling students to benefit from the know-how of business school experts, as well as from the creative and stimulating atmosphere of the Kingston School of Art. This unique partnership makes us the only institution in the country to deliver an Art Business programme within the environment of a business school.

*This course was previously named Art Market & Appraisal (Professional Practice) MA

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 1 year 2 days a week September 2023
Full time 2 years including professional placement 2 days a week plus placement year September 2023
Part time 2 years 1 day a week September 2023
Location Kingston School of Art, Knights Park

Reasons to choose Kingston

  • Art Business at Kingston School of Art is the only degree on the subject delivered in partnership with a business school. This partnership grants you cutting-edge business thinking, combining the creative culture of an art school with testing in real world contexts.
  • On-site visits and behind-the-scenes tours with major auction houses and commercial galleries enrich the classroom experience with real life experiences.
  • This course is delivered by professionals active in the industry, who will pass on their first-hand knowledge and prepare you for a flourishing career in the art world.

The Art School Experience

As part of Kingston School of Art, students on this course benefit from joining a creative community where collaborative working and critical practice are encouraged.

Our workshops and studios are open to all disciplines – enabling students and staff to work together, share ideas and explore multi-disciplinary making.

Two students collaborate on a design project.

What you will study

You will benefit from a systematic approach to understanding the core functions of the art market across different sectors and geographies, understanding the importance of pre-modern markets and learning about the complexities of today's international art market. This will allow you to cater your studies to your individual needs and future career interests.

The History of the Art Market focuses your understanding of past and present art business practices and changes to the art market over the past 400 years. Object Analysis & Appraisal will teach you how to handle and value an artwork: how an art work is catalogued, its commercial value established and what happens during the process of selling a work of art. Art valuation classes are through lively and hands-on workshops and seminar sessions with teaching staff and art market professionals. 

The Business and Art module, delivered at the Kingston Business School, is designed to understand the complex and dynamic relationship between art and commerce: you will be taught the latest business practices, which will then be tied to the context of the commercial art world.

Modules

Additional year with placement

This course gives you both an overview of the art market business as well as the opportunity to gain detailed knowledge in a specific area of fine art and collectibles.

Fundamental to the course are modules which introduce you to wide ranging subjects, from connoisseurship, object identification and authentication to cataloguing.

The modules will enhance your business practice skills, and through the research element of the programme, you'll develop your critical analysis skills as well as detailed knowledge within a chosen specialist area.

Core modules

History of the Art Market

30 credits

This module introduces you to the history of the art market, an interdisciplinary academic discipline of great dynamism. It draws attention to the developments of the key agents in the art market within their historical perspective, such as notion of patronage, distribution channels for works of art and the auction and dealer systems. The module emphasises the way in which the European phenomena of collecting and exchange were globalised in the 20th century and continue to develop in multiple ways in the 21st century. The module guides you through the resources available for research into the history of the art market and introduces you to the cross-disciplinary skills involving economic, political and collecting histories, which are necessary to develop a rounded understanding of the subject. On completion you should achieve a new perspective upon the history of art within its markets, integrating the aesthetic and the economic. Taught through a series of lectures and seminars, it is assessed by presentation and a critical essay. Independent learning skills will be developed throughout the module, through directed reading and study visits.

Object Analysis & Appraisal

30 credits

This module introduces students to the specifics of object analysis and valuation within a primary and secondary market context. Students will examine and critically analyse objects for different purposes, and examine the role of different stakeholders within the market, including gallerists, auction houses and collectors. The module is delivered through a series of lectures, seminars and debates and built around contributions from visiting professional practitioners. The module is assessed through a practical investigative exercise involving the research for and production of an auction catalogue in which the practice of valuation is thoroughly explored. Students will submit an individual catalogue.

Business and Art

60 credits

This module is designed to break down the barriers between art and commerce; blending these dual imperatives so as to fulfil and sustain personal passions and the aesthetic, while building sustainable revenue streams and investment. This module considers the elements of commercialising art in its broadest sense; and building and managing an arts-based business within current local and global environments. The module will react to current opportunities and challenges affecting the broader economy and the art market in particular with a special emphasis on technology and innovation, sustainability and governance. It also considers the role and opportunities presented by art within businesses and the broader commercial environment.

Major Project

60 credits

The Major Project is the capstone module of the Masters programme. Focusing on critical research, analysis, and presentation, the capstone project enables students to synthesise and apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired throughout the course. The module provides students with an extensive programme of training and resources which are designed to aid them in the development, planning, research, and writing of their projects. It brings together students from several MA programmes in the School of Critical Studies and Creative Industries and embeds a range of interdisciplinary and practice-led approaches to their respective fields of study. It provides students with the opportunity to craft their own approach to their field through critical-theoretical and/or creative, practice-based research. The Major Project can accommodate research projects developed through a range of academic and professional contexts depending on the motivation and interests of the student. It can be presented either as a written dissertation or as a creative project, such as a portfolio comprising a chosen medium or media, accompanied by a critical commentary. The intensity of the workload increases across the three teaching blocks, allowing increasing focus in line with the level of your expertise.

Optional modules

Professional Placement

120 credits

The Professional Placement module is a core module for those students following a masters programme that incorporates professional placement learning, following completion of 120 credits. It provides you with the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills to an appropriate working environment, and to develop and enhance key employability skills and subject-specific professional skills in your chosen subject. You may wish to use the placement experience as a platform for your subsequent major project module, and would be expected to use it to help inform your decisions about future careers.

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 Student Route visa.

Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.

Please note

Optional modules only run if there is enough demand. If we have an insufficient number of students interested in an optional module, that module will not be offered for this course.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

Applicants should:

  • hold a 2:2 or above honours degree or equivalent in any discipline; and
  • preferably have either a degree qualification related to the subject material or a proven knowledge and interest in the subject demonstrated through, for example, work experience.

We welcome applications from mature applicants with proven relevant professional experience.

Additional requirements

Interviews

We normally invite applicants for an interview prior to selection. We can make alternative arrangements for international students based overseas.

English language requirements

All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall, with no element below 5.5. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Applicants from recognised majority English-speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Teaching and assessment

The course is assessed through a mix of academic essays, seminar papers and presentations, case studies, and a major research-based project or dissertation. There are no written exams, but a focus on coursework only.

Guided independent study (self-managed time)

When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically involves reading and analysing articles, regulations, policy documents and key texts, documenting individual projects, preparing coursework assignments and completing your PEDRs, etc.

Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the University's online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

At Kingston University, we know that postgraduate students have particular needs and therefore we have a range of support available to help you during your time here.

Your workload

Year 1: 14 % of your time is spent in timetabled learning and teaching activity.

  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 256 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 1,544 hours

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises exams (eg test or exam), practical (eg presentations, performance) and coursework (eg essays, reports, self-assessment, portfolios, dissertation).

The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows, though depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose:

  • 100% coursework

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Class sizes

To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally enrols between 15 and 20 students. This can vary by academic year and study mode.

Who teaches this course?

This Art Business course is delivered by a unique collaboration between the Kingston School of Art and Kingston Business School.

Kingston School of Art has its roots in the studio-based approach of Britain's art school system (the original School of Art was founded in the 1890s).

Course leader, Martina Batovic, is a practising art market professional and former auction house director, art adviser and gallery director.

You'll also hear from numerous art market professionals who are on hand to share their experience and expertise, including speakers from auction houses, galleries, art fairs, art agencies, communication and recruitment agencies, and art market journalists.

Fees for this course

2023/24 fees for this course

Home 2023/24

  • MA full time £10,900
  • MA part time £5,995

International 2023/24

  • MA full time £18,700
  • MA part time £10,285

2022/23 fees for this course

Home 2022/23

  • MA full time £10,640
  • MA part time £5,852

International 2022/23

  • MA full time £18,200
  • MA part time £10,010

Tuition fee information for future course years

If you start your second year straight after Year 1, you will pay the same fee for both years.

If you take a break before starting your second year, or if you repeat modules from Year 1 in Year 2, the fee for your second year may increase.

Fees for the optional placement year

If you choose to take a placement as part of this course, you will be invoiced for the placement fee in Year 2. Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme and the costs for the placement year.

Funding and bursaries

Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:

If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.

We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs that are not covered by tuition fees which students will need to consider when planning their studies. Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, access to shared IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.

Textbooks

Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to buy your own copy of key textbooks, this can cost between £50 and £250 per year.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residences. Free Wi-Fi is available on each of the campuses. You may wish to purchase your own computer, which can cost £100 to £3,000 depending on your course requirements.

Photocopying and printing

In the majority of cases written coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing, binding and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees, this may cost up to £100 per year.

Travel

Travel costs are not included in your tuition fees but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses, Surbiton train station, Kingston upon Thames train station, Norbiton train station and halls of residence.

Additional costs

For this course you can take part in optional study visits and/or field trips.

You may incur extra costs associated with your studies, which you will need to plan for.

In order to help you budget, the information below indicates what activities and materials are not covered by your tuition fees:

  • Personal laptops.
  • Personal copies of books (not obligatory).
  • Optional study visits and field trips.
  • Mandatory field trips to London.
  • Printing costs.
  • Cost of visiting external shows and exhibitions.

Facilities

This programme is based across the Kingston School of Art facilities, bursting with creative energy at Knights Park where our art, design and architecture campus sits on the Hogsmill River, with its restaurant and bar opening on to the waterside.

The relatively small campus has a friendly, creative feel and benefits from recently refurbished workshops and studios, a reception area with a gallery, art shop and space, and the light and airy open-plan learning resources centre.

There are also well-equipped lecture theatres, seminar rooms and computer resources on campus, as well as the renowned Stanley Picker Gallery.

Find out more about the Kingston School of Art Knights Park.

Studios and workshops

Many of our art, design and architecture courses focus on studio-based learning - it is here that your ideas come to life. This is why we provide great workshops and the latest equipment to support and enhance your learning experience.

We have recently expanded and upgraded our workshops, enabling you to work alongside and be inspired by students from other creative disciplines.

Our specialist support and technical staff will help you get the most from our facilities. Specialist facilities include:

  • digital media workshops;
  • photography suite;
  • printmaking studio;
  • 3D materials workshop;
  • state-of-the-art filming environment and animation suite.

Find out more about our studios and workshops.

Library and learning resources centre

The learning resources centre (LRC) at Knights Park, on the ground floor near reception, is at the heart of the campus and is the perfect place to study. It has specialist book and journal collections, a wide range of electronic resources, including image databases, and a large slide collection.

Find out more about the library and learning resources centre.

Museum and gallery facilities

Kingston University also has its own galleries:

Kingston is just a 30-minute train journey away from central London and its internationally acclaimed art museums: Tate Modern, Tate Britain, The Serpentine, The Royal Academy, ICA, Victoria & Albert Museum and many more. Central London is also the main hub to the majority of the major art world players: auction houses (Sotheby's, Christie's, Bonhams, Phillips), blue-chip galleries and many ancillary businesses servicing the art market.

After you graduate

Our students come from all corners of the world and often take the learning of the course back to their own countries. Graduates from the Art Business MA course set up galleries and online platforms, manage collections and advise collectors, work for auction houses or galleries. More and more students set up their own companies or expand their current businesses.

What our graduates say

The course provides practical experience; in many ways it's all about meeting professionals from the industry and learning from them, rather than just studying theoretical disciplines.

We had dozens of guest speakers throughout the course, and almost all of them were senior managers, including from amazing organisations like Christie's, Gagosian and Hauser & Wirth.

This course offers a unique insight into the art world, which I thoroughly recommend!

Yulia Glushkova

The art market course at Kingston was instrumental for what I am doing today. I doubt I would be at the place where I am now without this course.

What the art market course taught me about the market, the dynamics of it, the history, the stories, the issues on authenticity, connoisseurship, collecting and auction business, continue to help me inspire my team and many more to join our project, as we are about to build the next logical step in art dealing history: a database to systematise the private art market.

So much of what I learned at Kingston helped me also in the masters degree I finished soon after at LSE, in which I focused my dissertation yet again on the art market for a completely different subject (Information Systems).

Christian Huhnt

I joined the Art Market and Appraisal MA full time. My first degree was in languages – but it was some years since I'd done anything remotely academic. Initially I found the presentation side daunting, but it's amazing how quickly you adjust and start to flourish.

I'd wanted a career change and felt that taking a course was probably the best way in. It gave me the chance to survey the art market from lots of different perspectives; we had seminars with auctioneers, art dealers, art consultants, specialist insurance brokers, and the Met's art and antiques unit, among others.

We also did an extremely useful module in art law - I'm practising stuff now that I learnt in my art and copyright law lectures (thank you Daniel McClean). It was a really comprehensive introduction to the dynamics of the art world but also gave you an insight into the variety of jobs out there.

By the end of the year I'd worked out where I really wanted to be - working for a contemporary art gallery, nurturing and promoting artists. Which is exactly where I am, thanks to the opportunities that opened up to me while I was researching my dissertation. So, all in all, a really positive experience.

Emma Lilley

Links with business and industry

Our links with professional practice provide a real-world base for our courses with London, the world's third biggest art market, on our doorstep. London is capital of the European art market and offers an invaluable insight into the industries from the world's largest auction houses to the most innovative start-ups.

Teaching staff on the course also keep close professional links to the art world and ensure your studies are kept up-to-date and relevant to the changing work environment.

Guest speakers

Guest lectures and visits to businesses in the art market give you the chance to meet a wide range of professionals directly involved in the art market. Guest speakers have included valuation and art insurance experts, PR professionals, Christie's Auction House experts, independent art evaluators, valuers and appraisers, gallerists and artists, art fair organisers and recruitment agencies.

Visits include trips to auctions houses and secondary and primary market dealers in London, visits to shippers and conservators, public and private collections and foundations.

Visiting speakers include: Tom Dale and Silvia Giambrone (artists), Andrew Davies (Axa Art insurance) Dr. Gareth Fletcher (Sotheby's Institute of Art), Caroline Gillis (Independent Art Valuer), Matthew Hockley Smith (Art advisor), Toby Kidd (Head of Communications, Blain|Southern), Lynda McLeod Associate Director, Librarian, Christie's Archives) and many others.

Behind the scenes tours include visits to: Christie's, Dickinson, Simon Lee, the Fine Art Society, the London Art Fair, Melissa Lewis (Modern British Conservation), Gander & White Shipping, and many others.

Study visits

The art market has to be experienced. Apart from frequent visits to London, the course offers two optional study trips.

A study trip to TEFAF (Maastricht) gives you access to the most important art and antiques fair in the world while a further study trip to Art Basel offers you insights into the most important contemporary art fair. Please note that there is an extra charge for these trips.

Internships

The Art Business MA degree course supports students to engage with the industry through internships or work placements and help students to engage with professionals in their area of interest.

The course work with SOFA, The Society of Fine Art Auctioneers, who provide bespoke internships across the UK as well as with a number of contemporary art galleries, PR agencies and others.

Research areas

Many of the staff in Kingston School of Art are research active. This ensures they are in touch with the latest thinking and bring best practice to your studies.

Kingston School of Art has a well-established and internationally renowned research culture that encourages and supports high-quality, innovative research through practice, history and theory. This rich spectrum encompasses the critical practices of fine artists, curators and cultural commentators and historians, alongside that of designers, film makers and architects, all of whom have extensive professional, industrial and commercial links.

Our aim is to foster a dynamic and stimulating environment that realises and supports individual and collaborative research projects. This is achieved through an exchange of ideas and practices within and across the disciplines, directly benefitting the wider academic community as well as industry, business and the public.

Course changes and regulations

The information on this page reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. To improve your student experience and the quality of your degree, we may review and change the material information of this course. Course changes explained.

Programme Specifications for the course are published ahead of each academic year.

Regulations governing this course can be found on our website.