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If you are interested in developing a career in in the business of art, this Master level course will prepare you for the opportunities lying ahead. You will develop the key skills and gain the knowledge to understand global art markets within 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 scholars, as well as on insights from art market professionals, both with long-standing careers and with rising entrepreneurs of the millennial generation. In short, the curriculum balances skills training with academic rigor, as well as core business and legal concepts with industry-specific knowledge in order to reflect the diverse professional landscape students might wish to enter. Students benefit from frequent field trips to art business enterprises and partnership projects with industry.
The course is delivered in partnership with the Kingston Business School. This unique partnership enables students to benefit as much from state-of-the-art business expertise and campus facilities as from the creative context of the Kingston School of Art Faculty. This partnership has allowed the establishment of real-life projects with partners such as CREDIT and others.
See what students have been up to on the course via Instagram.
*This course was previously named Art Market & Appraisal (Professional Practice) MA
If you are planning to join this course in the academic year 2020/21 (i.e. between August 2020 and July 2021), please view the information about changes to courses for 2020/21 due to Covid-19.
Students who are continuing their studies with Kingston University in 2020/21 should refer to their Course Handbook for information about specific changes that have been, or may be, made to their course or modules being delivered in 2020/21. Course Handbooks are located within the Canvas Course page.
You will benefit from a systematic approach to understanding the core functions of the art market across different periods and mediums, from pre-modern markets to today, allowing you to cater your studies to your individual interests. Your learning is structured through four distinct modules which give you different skills and experiences.
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 200 years. Professional Practice focuses on art valuation and appraisal through lively workshops and seminar sessions as well as an introduction to basic business principles such as marketing, business planning and strategic thinking. Art Law introduces key elements of art market regulation and problem solution. Cultural Heritage presents you with an object-focused insight into global trade and ethics.
Typically, you'll be expected to complete four equally weighted 30 credit modules, plus a major project of 60 credits.
This course gives you both an overview of the art market business and also the opportunity to gain detailed knowledge in a specific area of fine art and/or design.
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.
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.
This module introduces you to the different elements of the art market with a professional lense in order to enhance your understanding of the field as a professional career place. The module seeks to emulate a series of real-world tasks to allow you to develop essential knowledge and skills required in the work place in the market. You will examine and critically analyse practical professional tasks such as valuing objects for different purposes, and write a business plan to enhance your entrepreneurial and business skills. A core element of these are the meaning of professionalism and professional ethics, professional standards and the role of professional bodies - especially the RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors), together with the role of different stakeholders within the art market including, gallerists, collectors and others.
The module is delivered through a series of lectures, seminars and debates and built around contributions from visiting 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; and a business plan in which all the strands of the module are brought together to develop your awareness of the range of demands upon art businesses.
This module aims to introduce you to issues thrown up by the interaction of law with the art world. Beginning with the fundamental basics of how statute and case law are established, the module explains to you several key themes such as contract law and copyright. The module examines especially themes pertaining particularly to the art world such as international treaties to protect cultural heritage, and the problems of censorship and obscenity. You will develop an understanding both of the abstract problems of applying law to a market place, as well as studying in detail the most significant art-related cases of recent years.
Cultural Heritage: Ethics, Trade and Globalisation investigates the political, ethical, social and economic questions clustering around cultural heritage objects. Responding to the resurgence of materialist philosophies and object oriented analyses, it examines how objects - primarily artworks and antiquities - function as actors in social ecologies, international relations and global trade.
Consideration is given to historical conditions such as colonialism and the imperial past, as well as to recent developments in liberal economic thought under the conditions of the global. The module asks: what is cultural heritage, how is it defined and by whom? How do objects acquire cultural, economic and social value and for whom, and what are the roles of nation states, international organisations and frameworks, art markets, museums and collectors in this process? How do heritage objects contribute to cultural contestation, for instance, by way of ownership, display or iconoclasm? What role do they play in the formation of identities and cultural belonging? What role do they play in regional and national revitalisation? How do they contribute to cultural diplomacy?
The module is delivered in one teaching block from September to December to enable an intensive engagement with the subject and leads to an assessment by presentation and essay.
The Major Project is the capstone module of the Masters programme. Focusing on skills of critical research, analysis and presentation, the capstone project enables you to synthesise and apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired throughout the course. It provides them with the opportunity to craft their own approach to the field through critical-theoretical and/or creative, practice-based research, supported by a series of taught sessions, enabling a depth and breadth of engagement with research methods. 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 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.
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.
The Art Market & Appraisal course includes an optional, integrated work placement or placements, which can enable you to develop your professional skills and enhance your employability further. You will receive support from the University in finding a suitable placement.
Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.
The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.
We welcome applications from mature applicants with proven relevant professional experience.
We normally invite applicants for an interview prior to selection. We can make alternative arrangements for international students based overseas.
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 a recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.
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.
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.
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.
Year 1: 14 % of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.
Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.
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:
We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.
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.
This Art Business course is delivered by Kingston School of Art, which 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, Stephanie Dieckvoss, is a former art market professional who draws on her networks to ensure the course content is current and responsive to the latest industry changes. You'll also hear from numerous art market professionals, who are on hand to share their experience and expertise. Guest speakers have included:
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.
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:
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:
Course leader, Stephanie Dieckvoss, contributed to a panel discussion on Art as Investment, hosted by Dellasposa Gallery - watch the full discussion in this video. The panel of experts discuss the notion of art and asset for investment. The debate questions whether art can be considered an asset for investment. Trends in the current art market are covered with a forecast for the year ahead, key considerations of value in art, and strategies for collecting art.
There is a wide range of facilities at Kingston School of Art, where this course is based.
Kingston School of Art at Knights Park is our art, design and architecture campus and is situated 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.
Find out more about the Kingston School of Art Knights Park.
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:
Find out more about our studios and workshops.
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.
Kingston University also has its own galleries:
Kingston is just a 30 minute train journey away from central London. Here you can access a wealth of exhibitions, museums and galleries, including the V&A Museum, the Tate Modern and the Natural History Museum.
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. Through our engagement with the RICS we have a large number of students taking up work in auction houses, insurances or as independent valuers.
Many of our courses are accredited by independent professional bodies which could enhance your career prospects. Accreditation for this course is detailed below.
The Art Business MA is accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) for entry as a probationer practitioner. It is the only RICS-accredited course for antiques and fine art and you can join RICS as a student member when you enrol. RICS student status is exclusively for those working towards a professional career in surveying.
Being a RICS student is free and can help you realise your potential by working to the highest standards of education at college or university. The study support and networking opportunities available to you as an RICS student helps you to not only excel in your course but gives you the support to take your first step to becoming a future leader of the profession.
Successfully completing an RICS-accredited course is the first step to becoming a Chartered Surveyor. RICS works in partnership with universities to ensure that our accredited degree courses are relevant to industry - this means that when you study on an accredited degree this will be recognised by employers as the benchmark of quality.
With an RICS-accredited degree you are eligible to enrol onto the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC), RICS' two-year structured training programme. Candidates with a non RICS-accredited degree will typically need to have five years' industry experience before being eligible.
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!
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).
When I applied for the Art Market and Appraisal MA at Kingston, I was working full time so approached my employer for sponsorship. I wanted to use the masters degree to work towards my RICS accreditation, which my employer positively encouraged. I found that the course complemented my existing job within the auction world, and the staff at Kingston University were sympathetic to any conflicts in my timetable that arose from existing work commitments.
There was a wide range of students from different backgrounds on the course, which brought a depth of experience to the classes. The facilities at Kingston were excellent, with tutors available to give as much or as little help as needed or wanted.
I would recommend the course to anyone interested in pursuing a career in the arts, especially if they have one eye on becoming a member of the RICS. Juggling work, studies and, in my case, a young family, requires a certain level of dedication and commitment – but the end results are worth it!
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
We do not anticipate making any changes to the composition of the course, i.e. the number of modules or credits in a year for part-time postgraduate courses, as a result of the pandemic.
In order to safeguard our students' health and safety and to minimise the risk of disruption to their studies, the University has postponed all Study Abroad programmes for outgoing students in the first teaching block of 2020/21 (from September 2020 to December 2020). The University will review this decision before the second teaching block and will take into account relevant government advice at that time.
Changes can be made to courses as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to the composition of the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
We do not anticipate making any changes to module titles and summaries or to the availability of modules as a result of the pandemic.
Changes can be made to modules as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to module titles and/or availability of modules will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
We expect to deliver the course within the planned timescales to enable successful students to progress through and graduate from the course without delay.
In exceptional circumstances the sequence of learning and teaching activities may be changed, e.g. re-sequencing those modules that can be delivered more effectively under the current restrictions with those which would be more difficult to deliver, such as practical modules and placements.
We have not changed entry requirements as a result of the pandemic. However, the range of accepted alternatives have increased as has the way in which we select students, which now includes virtual interviews and online portfolios.
We have not changed entry requirements for international students as a result of the pandemic. However, in response to the pandemic, we now accept a much broader list of English language exams for entry to the course; the level of these exams remain the same.
Due to the current pandemic the course's teaching and learning activities will be delivered through both online and on-campus methods (blended learning) in 2020/21. In order to provide all students with a comparable on-campus experience, the University has committed to ensuring that all courses provide at least 30% of their teaching and learning activities on-campus.
While physical distancing measures remain in place, you will receive your learning and teaching via a blend of on-campus and on-line activities. Should your circumstances prevent your attendance at on-campus sessions, you will still be able to engage with your course in a way that allows you to progress. Where this is not possible, support will be available to consider what options are open to you.
The University will continue to closely monitor government announcements and advice in relation to the current pandemic and, where required, will take any necessary action in order to comply with such advice.
In the event that a further lockdown is enforced the University will aim to deliver the course fully online. This may require some additional changes being made to planned teaching and learning activities, including assessments. The majority of our courses are prepared to be delivered fully online if the situation requires it. Where the quality of the student experience may be compromised significantly, or the course is unable to be delivered fully online, the University may need to suspend the delivery of that course until a time that it can be delivered appropriately. Students will be supported in these situations to ensure they are able to make the right choices for their particular circumstances.
In the event that the current social distancing restrictions are fully lifted and the University is able to resume normal delivery of teaching and learning activities, courses will assess whether it is in the students' interest to resume normal delivery. In some cases it may be better to continue and complete modules under the planned blended delivery mode.
Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours will not be made as a result of the pandemic. However, it is possible that some adjustments might be made at module level, e.g. a few more scheduled activities, in order to help ensure student engagement with blended learning.
Any changes made to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
'Scheduled teaching' includes teaching that is online either live or recorded / on demand.
Your individualised timetable for teaching block 1 (i.e. from September 2020 to December 2020) should be available by the end of August 2020. Timetables for teaching block 2 (i.e. from January 2021) will not be available until the autumn. Whilst we make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week between 9am and 9pm. To accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing, we will need to maximise the time available for teaching. This means, we may have to use Wednesday afternoons and enrichment week for additional teaching slots. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.
On campus classes, class sizes will be smaller, in line with social distancing measures. Online (synchronous) activities will be delivered via videoconferencing apps that will enable a full range of class sizes to be used as appropriate.
Changes can be made to modules, including how they are assessed, as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our modules up to date with current developments in that subject area. Due to the current restrictions in place, i.e. social distancing, it is anticipated that many formal on-campus examinations, including practical examinations, will be replaced with alternative assessments which can be completed online. These changes will be considered and approved through the University's processes to ensure that student assessments will be able to demonstrate they have achieved the expected learning outcomes. The approval process will also assess whether the change impacts the status of any professional body accreditation the course benefits from.
Any changes to the overall methods of assessment for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
No changes are expected to the general level of experience or status of staff involved in delivering the course.
As a result of the social distancing restrictions in place, on-campus teaching activities may need to be split into smaller groups which may require the support of teaching assistants and student mentors, who will be managed by experienced staff.
There will be no changes to published tuition fees for 2020/21.
As a result of the blended delivery of courses in 2020/21, where a significant proportion of the teaching will be done online, students will need a personal laptop or computer and access to the internet to participate in online teaching and learning activities. Students who are able to travel will have access to computers on campus, however, it should be noted that access to on-campus facilities will be restricted due to social distancing requirements.
The University is considering how best to provide support to students who do not have access to suitable hardware and software requirements and access to the internet. Identifying students who require this type of support is an important milestone for the University in our journey to ensure equity of access while we continue to deliver our blended approach. Information about the support that will be available will be provided to students during the induction period.
There will be no changes to any existing University funding arrangements for 2020/21. Currently there are no indications from the UK government that there will be any changes to government funding arrangements.
There will be no changes to published tuition fees or funding arrangements specifically relating to international students for 2020/21.
Placements (including work and clinical placements) and field trips included as part of the course will go ahead as planned. However, to ensure students are able to gain maximum value from these activities, it may be necessary to reschedule them to later in the year when current restrictions have been lifted. We acknowledge that this year it may be more difficult for students to secure appropriate placements. In those situations, students will be guided and supported through the various options that will be available to them, including switching courses or interrupting their studies until a time when they can complete their placement.
Any proposed changes to placements or field trips would go through University's agreed processes where the impact of the change will be carefully considered. Students will be advised of any changes that may become necessary and appropriate support will be available to students to guide them through the various options that may be available to them.
In the interest of the health and wellbeing of our students, the University will ensure that appropriate risk assessments are made before students are sent on a placement.
Courses which require placements or field trips to be completed in order to pass relevant modules will have contingency plans in place in the event that a placement or field trip cannot be completed due to another lockdown or more stringent social distancing measures.
Voluntary placements or field trips may be rescheduled, or, as a last resort, cancelled if it becomes difficult to deliver them and doing so is in the interest of the health and safety of our staff and students.
No changes will be made to the qualification awarded, e.g. MSc, as a result of the pandemic.
Changes can be made to courses, including the qualification awarded (although very rare), as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area. Any changes made to the qualification awarded for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
International students should maintain awareness of the UK government's and their home country's government advice on possible travel restrictions. The University will closely monitor advice and guidance published by the UK government and assess its impact on our international students. Appropriate advice and guidance will be provided as and when required.
The University will ensure students who are unable to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities are able to effectively engage with their studies remotely. For certain courses an inability to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities may not be in the students best interest, as it may impede their chances of succeeding in the course or lead to them receiving a poor learning experience. In such cases students will be advised and guided through the various options available to them, such as deferring their studies until they can engage fully with the course.