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  • Museum and Gallery Studies MA

Museum and Gallery Studies MA

Why choose this course?

Through this course you will acquire real-world experience of working in museums and galleries. Our imaginative, interdisciplinary, international approach will advance your knowledge of contemporary developments in this vibrant and sophisticated area of culture, arts and heritage.

You'll develop transferable skills that are essential across this sector, working with museum and gallery professionals to nationally and internationally recognised museum standards. There are plenty of research opportunities in museums and galleries, which will allow you to develop your own interests and gain valuable research and practice-based skills. You'll also have the option to manage and curate an exhibition and produce research towards a dissertation or work-based creative projects.

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 1 year 2 days a week September 2020
Full time 2 years including professional placement 2 days a week, plus placement year September 2020
Part time 2 years 1 day a week September 2020
Location Kingston School of Art, Knights Park

Discover Museum and Gallery Studies

On this course you'll re-imagine the relationships between academy and profession, exploring the implications and applications of this approach to accepted ideas of academic museum studies and museum practice.

This degree engages across artistic, urban planning, architectural and design practices as offering alternative creative approaches to museum study and practice. Our genuinely interdisciplinary approach to creative practice is one of the unique features of our curriculum.

We aim to offer a more sustainable place-based approach to our understandings of museums, museum practices and their academic study, and further open the museum up to the world in an ethical engagement towards more-than-institutional futures.

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • The course is taught in partnership with external institutions like the Museum of London, the National Maritime Museum, the V&A, English Heritage and Freud Museum, London.
  • Our partnership with Brooklands Museum led to a nomination for the Art Fund's Museum of the Year 2018, the biggest prize in the UK museum world.
  • Kingston University has its own museum and gallery – the Stanley Picker Gallery and Dorich House Museum.

What you will study

The course examines contemporary issues and practices, including those relating to collections management, interpretation, audiences and exhibition. You will study taught modules covering critical analysis and creative practice, and conduct research around the broad themes and subjects addressed by each module. As well as working with our own in-house museums, Stanley Picker Gallery and Dorich House Museum, we work with four external institutions each year to develop real-world museum projects.

You'll take five core modules in your first year, working on live projects with our partners. Each module is worth 30 academic credits. The course totals 180 credits.

Students can choose to complete a professional placement by opting to study for an additional year. This is not a compulsory part of the course which can be completed either with the placement year or as a single year.

Year 1

Optional placement year

You will study a series of taught modules that are concerned with issues of critical theory and analysis, research methodologies and creative practice. You will be expected to conduct research around the broad themes and subjects addressed by each module. This research will allow you to tailor your own path of study according to your particular interests and future aspirations.

Core modules

Ideas and Institutions

30 credits

As sites of continuous research and communication, museums and galleries are never complete. They are always found in the process of being made and re-made; ideas and things in the process of arrangement. This module establishes a progressive interdisciplinary framework for critically and creatively exploring museums and galleries as ideas and institutions based on creative, practice-based approaches to their making.

Learning and Experience

30 credits

Experience is central to the performance of public museums, galleries and heritage sites, and to our understanding of them as complex learning environments. This module provides a stimulating and engaging context within which to explore learning and experience as a series of critical and creative practices. Museums, galleries and heritage sites are conceived and operated by a range of governmental and non-governmental agencies, organisations and institutions, by individuals and communities, often by a visiting and participating public, and in an enormously diverse range of social and spatial contexts. In this module, students explore and apply different approaches to learning by constructing an experience for visitors within and through a specific institution or site.

Exhibition and Encounter

30 credits

A predominantly rational, ordered approach to exhibition has been central to the conception of museums and galleries. This module introduces new ways to analyse and engage with the idea of display through an emphasis on exhibition as a more open and less didactic space of encounter and association, focussed on an ongoing re-imagining of display and exhibition through invention and experimentation. Extending our understandings of display, this module also explores creative approaches to the performance of heritage by engaging with experimental practices and forms of interpretation, expression and communication.

The Challenge of Change

30 credits

Museums, galleries and heritage are more than physical, immobile landmarks in the landscape; they are ongoing, place-based processes crafted from diverse and often dissonant human and non-human materials, sites, identities and narratives. Because of this they are constantly open to change. They change due to debates from within the field and a variety of drivers and pressures from outside. In many ways change, and meeting the challenge of change, lies at the very heart of ongoing questions of sustainability, relevance and innovation in the field. This module explores museum and heritage futures, locating development within a more progressive, expanded sense of policy and place. Social, economic, and legislative concerns pertinent to the field are some of the key themes developed here.

Major Project

60 credits

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.

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 tier 4 visa.

Invoicing on the placement courses is split into two stages. The standard course fee is payable in year 1 with the placement fee invoiced in year 2. Therefore, students starting in September 2020 would therefore be charged the placement fee of £1,385 in September 2021. Students commencing the course in September 2021 will be invoiced the placement fee in 2022 (fee tbc).

This amount will only be charged to your account after you find a placement and are enrolled on the module. You will not be charged this fee if you do not manage to secure a work placement.

Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.

Core modules

Professional Placement

120 credits

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

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.

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Entry requirements

Typical offer

Applicants should have a good BA (Hons) degree or equivalent qualification in a relevant subject area, which may include:

  • a humanities subject, such as art history design history, English literature, film and media studies, cultural studies, philosophy;
  • a social sciences subject, such as geography, archaeology, anthropology, sociology, history or education;
  • a practice-based degree in an area such as fine art, design or architecture; or
  • a business- or management-related course.

We also welcome students with relevant professional practice experience should they not hold a higher education qualification.

For those students without professional experience in museums and galleries, voluntary museum work is not a requirement for acceptance on the course.

Interviews

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

Prior learning - AP(E)L

Applicants with prior qualifications and learning may be exempt from appropriate parts of a course in accordance with the University's policy for the assessment of prior learning and prior experiential learning. Contact the faculty office for further information.

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

Teaching and assessment

You will be taught and assessed through essays, project work, portfolio, and a dissertation (12,000–15,000 words) or creative project (5,000 words and a piece of critically-informed creative practice).

Guided independent study

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 document 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

The course can be studied full-time or part-time. For full-time students, two days a week are spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

13% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 230 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1,570 hours

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Type of teaching and learning

Type of teaching and learning
  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 230 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1570 hours

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprise of a written dissertation and practical work with presentations/exhibitions, blogs, portfolios and critical reflective statements. The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows:

Type of assessment

Type of assessment
  • Coursework: 96%
  • Practical: 4%

Feedback summary

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

Class sizes

Class sizes are generally small because we work on live projects with museums and galleries in a team. That means we get to know all our students well. The course normally enrols a hand-picked group of 15 to 20 students. Lecture sizes are small (approximately 15 students) with lots of opportunities for talking to lecturers and curators.

Who teaches this course?

This course is delivered by Kingston School of Art, a highly creative and energetic environment that directly informs the programme and its teaching.

Key staff are responsible for leading individual course components. Their teaching is supplemented by a wide range of practitioners from our collaborating institutions, including curatorial, public engagement, learning, marketing, design, exhibitions, digital, research, management and archives.

 

What our graduates say

I was not able to go to university when I was younger but always wanted to, so I was really pleased to be accepted as a mature student. I undertook the MA in Museum and Gallery studies during 2017/18 and had wonderful support. I found the lectures and tutorials really inspirational and would always come out buzzing with thoughts and ideas. When I set about writing my dissertation I had help and solid, knowledgeable support.

I particularly appreciated how practical and useful the course was; every day I use the knowledge gained during my studies. This has been integral to the displays and ideas I have put forward for the London Bus Museum. When I read the Museum Association magazine, I am reminded how relevant the course is to the present day, whether it be an article on colonialism, or corporate funding/sponsorship. I also cannot praise the Esteve-Coll Centre (and its staff) highly enough; it seemed to have every book, periodical and download I needed for the course and for my dissertation. It's a wonderful and precious asset.

Nigel Fryatt

I chose the Museum and Gallery Studies MA at Kingston University as I was looking for a course that would provide both a theoretical and practical understanding of the museum as cultural institution. I also wanted a course that approached the subject in a more imaginative, creative and experimental way than it is taught elsewhere.

I enjoyed the freedom of being able to follow my research interests and to develop them further in my final dissertation. The course also gave me the opportunity to gain new skills by working with creative practices not commonly associated with this field of study, such as film, scenegraphy, and creative forms of writing.

Studying at Kingston was a very versatile and stimulating experience. I studied the changing role of the visitor, the notion of institutional critique, and installation art. I attended field trips to museums and heritage sites in and around London, and developed ideas in response to a real-world exhibition brief. The course positively influenced my decision to pursue PhD research in museum studies.

Stephanie Stroh

Undoubtedly the most exciting feature of the Museum and Gallery Studies MA at Kingston was the element of collaboration between the University and some of London's most famous and respected museums. This allowed students to tackle realistic, real-world challenges within the safe confines of the course's academic projects.

The course provided a valuable introduction to the myriad practicalities of managing museums in our modern world; to the continually shifting debate surrounding collections and their interpretation; and to a broad spectrum of the academic theory in which they are situated.

Sarah Hayward

Fees for this course

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • MA full time £9,500
  • MA part time £5,225

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

  • MA full time £17,600
  • MA part time £9,680

Additional costs

For this course you will be:

  • involved in processes of making – to explore, experiment and understand your practice – using a diverse range of media and materials;
  • required to purchase your own books for required reading; and
  • required to participate in study visits and/or field trips.

You may incur extra costs associated with your studies, which you will need to plan for. To help you budget, the list below shows activities and materials that are not covered by your tuition fees.

  • Personal laptops
  • Personal copies of books
  • Optional study visits and field trips
  • Printing costs
  • Your own chosen art materials
  • Cost of participating at external shows and exhibitions

You will need to plan for the costs of travel to our museum partners but you will not need to pay for entry. As a guideline, the travel costs for mandatory field trips in previous years have been a maximum of £100 per module. They are normally equivalent to the cost of a London Transport Zone 1 to 6 travel card.


International postgraduate deposit

International students from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) are required to pay a deposit in order to receive a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from Kingston University. This applies to all full-time postgraduate taught masters courses.

Facilities

Knights Park campus is situated on the Hogsmill River, with a restaurant and bar opening on to the waterside. The relatively small campus has a friendly, creative feel and includes a reception area with a gallery, art shop and the light and airy open-plan library.

Workshops and studios

The workshops and studios are open for creative exploration and offer you plenty of opportunities to collaborate on projects and share ideas, whether you are studying or researching. Building on this open approach, there are many adaptable architecture studio and workshop spaces, designed by Stirling Prize-winning Haworth Tompkins, alongside active breakout spaces.

At the heart of the building are state-of-the-art workshop facilities, which include:

  • 3D workshops, with ceramics, concrete, resin-casting, plastics, metalwork, woodwork and a bronze-casting foundry, as well as a Big Build space for Architecture, set design and large scale model making
  • animation and post production studios
  • digital Media workshop
  • knitting and sewing workshops with digital and analogue facilities, plus a working dress archive which includes pieces from 1750 to the present day
  • HackSpace (for collaborative, creative, solutions-focused projects)
  • letterpress and printmaking workshop, with digital and analogue facilities, to experiment creatively
  • moving Image workshop, with studios, editing suite, and industry-standard equipment
  • photography workshop, including studios, colour, and black and white darkrooms, processing facilities

All our facilities are open access, meaning you can use them whenever you want, and irrespective of what degree you're studying.

The University's museum and galleries

The University has its own on-site galleries, including:

  • Dorich House – the former studio home of the sculptor Dora Gordine and her husband the Hon. Richard Hare, a scholar of Russian art and literature. Now Grade II listed, the building was completed in 1936, to Gordine's design, and is an exceptional example of a modern studio house created by and for a female artist.
  • Stanley Picker Gallery – one of the leading examples of a university gallery in the UK. Its public activities are dedicated to the research, commissioning and presentation of innovative new practice across the fields of art, design and architecture for general, academic and specialist audiences.
  • project spaces at Knights Park campus, which you can book for the exhibition of large-scale work.

Resources in London

Kingston is just a 30-minute train journey away from central London. Here you can access world-famous museums and galleries.

After you graduate

We have an extensive network of alumni who have successfully completed this course. Graduates have progressed to roles at prestigious organisations in the UK and around the world, including: Tate Gallery, Natural History Museum, V&A, National Gallery, Ministry of Stories, British Council, Imperial War Museum, National Trust, Strawberry Hill House, Ben Uri Gallery, Museum of Brands, Madame Tussaud's, Brooklands Museum, National Maritime Museum, Museo Andino de Historia, Arte y Cultura Viva Peru, William Morris Gallery, Baldwin Gallery, National Museum Prague, Kingston Museum, London Postal Museum, Churchill War Rooms, English Heritage, Historic Royal Palaces, London Bus Museum, Sir John Soane Museum, Wallace Collection, Museum of London and The Barbican.

Students have also progressed onto PhD studies at University College London, Sheffield Hallam University and Royal Holloway, University of London.

Links with business and industry

Several of the modules on this course are developed and assessed in partnership with museums, galleries and other practitioners. This will include visiting lecturers who are leading practitioners in their field.

Previous partner institutions for this course have included Brooklands Museum, English Heritage, the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, the Salisbury Museum, the Museum of Futures, the Museum of London, the National Maritime Museum, Turner's House and the V&A.

Research areas

All staff and student researchers in the faculty are part of a research centre. They engage both with collaborative and individual projects and with local, national and international research events, including workshops, seminars, visiting lecture series, conferences and symposia.

Museum and gallery study is located within the interdisciplinary Visual and Material Culture Research Centre. The centre enables academics, emerging scholars, and students to conduct research in a stimulating and collegiate environment that actively seeks to shape the future of visual and material culture as field of inquiry. The centre is committed to the continuing development of a wide range of interdisciplinary research methods and activities. It provides an intellectual infrastructure through which researchers engage with both individual and collaborative projects.

Find out more about research in Kingston School of Art.

Historical and critical studies

Staff and students untangle the knotty historiographical and methodological questions of the past, present, and future of the history of art, architecture, and design. Interests and expertise include: History and Genre Painting; patronage, dealers, and the art market; English and European avant-gardes; the history of the art school; inter- and cross-disciplinarity; archives; and the practice of 'research' itself in the Arts and Humanities.

Place, space and global futures

Researchers are committed to interrogating the historical and theoretical comprehension of local, national, and international identity, of located-ness and dis-location in our contemporary global visual and material cultural context. Interests and expertise include: Museum and Gallery Studies; public sculpture; art beyond the gallery; transcultural practices; Arab women artists; Japanese popular culture; contemporary Chinese art; Orientalism and the Middle East; and the global art market.

Gender, technology and the human image

Staff and students engage with thorny discourses of gender, technology, and the human image in our volatile, mediated, and often traumatising visual, material, and immaterial cultures. Interests and expertise include: beauty; fashioning the body; performance art; feminism; masculinity and conflict; heterosexuality; mass media; new media; photography; film; informational networks; technological reproducibility; and our bio-cultural futures.

Cultural activism research group

Art has a long and celebrated history in struggles for social change. Drawing on and working across thematic and critical areas, this research group brings together researchers and artists to engage with the historical and theoretical connections between artists and social movements, the cultural production of social movements, and the many important but often overlooked practices which occupy a liminal space between these disciplinary positions.

Postgraduate study
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