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BA in Culture Criticism and Curation (Full Time)

University of the Arts London

Bachelor Degree , Culture

Course Description

BA Culture, Criticism and Curation provides you with a broad humanities-based education in the arts. On this course, you will explore the breadth of contemporary cultural theory and practices, covering a range of disciplines. These include theory of art, design, architecture, fashion, film, performance, media and literature. You will work independently and with your peers, as well as visit external museums, galleries and archives. 

Critical thinking, research, communication and problem-solving are at the heart of the course. These areas underpin written assignments, presentations and projects. Over three years, you will work on curatorial projects and produce academic and journalistic writing. You will develop your knowledge and skills, so you can seek work after graduation in the expansive fields of criticism and curation. This may include roles in galleries, museums, archives, theatre, arts and heritage management, the media or teaching.  

On BA Culture, Criticism and Curation, the term curation refers to the skills required to curate exhibitions, including historical research and the contextualisation of art practice. It also includes the broader meaning of curating as applied to arts events organisation – from planning film festivals to local street events. You will also be asked to consider how to communicate narratives and ideas when curating or planning. Criticism relates to the history and theory of arts criticism as well as the critical thinking at the heart of cultural practices. Developing these skills will help you progress as critics, arts organisers, writers and teachers.  

Through the teaching of the BA Culture, Criticism and Curation team, you will encounter a varied range of approaches. Some tutors come from academic backgrounds, while others work in journalism, curation, exhibition design and events management. Several also teach on the MA Culture, Criticism and Curation course, a number are PhD supervisors while others are PhD students. Some tutors also have close external relations which benefit the course – for example with the Guardian Media Group, the National Trust and the National Portrait Gallery.  

BA Culture, Criticism and Curation provides you with a broad humanities-based education in the arts. On this course, you will explore the breadth of contemporary cultural theory and practices, covering a range of disciplines. These include theory of art, design, architecture, fashion, film, performance, media and literature. You will work independently and with your peers, as well as visit...

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Course Content

The structure of BA Culture, Criticism and Curation provides opportunities for projects which are close to live experiences. These cover conceptual thinking to details of risk assessments, health and safety and ethics. You will develop your skills around concept generation, funding, writing press releases and writing briefs. The course addresses the challenges of collaborative work and project management from the first year, culminating in curatorial work for the Degree Show. 

You will develop transferable communication skills during every project and assignment. These include: researching and writing academic humanities essays; writing appropriate journalistic texts for traditional newspapers and for digital communication media; the preparation of pitches for clients; the completion of applications for funding; CVs and personal statements for academic and job applications; and practice in oral presentation using appropriate technology and debate. 

Stage 1

Unit 1: Introduction to Culture, Criticism and Curation
Unit 2: Aspects of Culture 1: The Long 19th Century
Unit 3: Journalistic Writing 1
Unit 4: Aspects of Culture 2: The 20th Century
Unit 5: Curating 1: A Curatorial Tool Kit
Unit 6: Aspects of Culture 3: The Contemporary

Units in this stage provide a foundation of knowledge in the histories and theories of culture in the modern period. You will be introduced to journalistic and academic writing and digital technologies. You will explore and develop your individual strengths and approaches to a relevant subject interest. In this stage, you will study together as a whole class and also in smaller seminar groups.  

Stage 2

Unit 7: Elective 1
Unit 8: Aspects of Culture 4: Interrogating Histories
Unit 9: Curating 2: Useable Pasts
Unit 10: Aspects of Culture 5: Contemporary Cultural Theories
Unit 11: Journalistic Writing 2: Multimedia
Unit 12: Critical Cultural Practice

In this stage, you will develop a variety of approaches. You will complete an extended piece of academic research and writing, and work on a chosen subject in depth. Through tutorial guidance, seminars, lectures, independent study and team projects, you will explore the breadth of your subject and develop your talents in relation to it. You will also begin your dissertation and London Project which form Stage 3.  

Stage 3

Unit 13: Dissertation
Unit 14: Elective 2
Unit 15: Degree Show and London Project

In the final stage, you will develop your independence as you complete your dissertation and London Project. You will also engage in formal study on your elective subject. You will work with your year group towards the Degree Show – a major opportunity to curate an exhibition. The London Project and the Degree Show also give you the chance to develop “real project briefs”. They offer the potential of connecting with external organisations. 

The structure of BA Culture, Criticism and Curation provides opportunities for projects which are close to live experiences. These cover conceptual thinking to details of risk assessments, health and safety and ethics. You will develop your skills around concept generation, funding, writing press releases and writing briefs. The course addresses the challenges of collaborative work and project...

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Entry Requirements

The standard entry requirements for this course are as follows:

One or a combination of the following accepted full Level 3 qualifications:

  • Three A Levels at grade B or above (two of which are in essay-based humanities subjects such as History, History of Art, English Literature, Philosophy, Government and Politics, Classical Studies)
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (Level 3 or 4) and two A Levels at grade C or above (one of which is in an essay-based humanities subject such as History, History of Art, English Literature, Philosophy, Government and Politics, Classical Studies)
  • Equivalent EU/international qualifications, such as International Baccalaureate Diploma

And five GCSE passes at grade 4 or above (grade A*–C).

AP(E)L – Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Exceptionally applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • Related academic or work experience
  • The quality of the personal statement
  • A strong academic or other professional reference.

Or a combination of these factors.

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

Please note that these qualifications alone will not be sufficient to secure entry to the course.

English language requirements

IELTS score of 6.5 or above, with a minimum of 6.0 for writing component and 5.5 in the remaining three components, or equivalent 

The standard entry requirements for this course are as follows: One or a combination of the following accepted full Level 3 qualifications: Three A Levels at grade B or above (two of which are in essay-based humanities subjects such as History, History of Art, English Literature, Philosophy, Government and Politics, Classical Studies) Pass at Foundation...

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Assessment Methods

  • Written assignments which take the form of academic essays, journalistic writing, reflexive documentation and research journals 
  • Oral presentations and written summaries 
  • In-class tasks  
  • Written research projects 

  • Written assignments which take the form of academic essays, journalistic writing, reflexive documentation and research journals 
  • Oral presentations and written summaries 
  • In-class tasks  
  • Written research projects 

Additional Information

Course dates

Autumn term:
Monday 16 September 2019 – Friday 6 December 2019
Spring term:
Monday 6 January 2020 – Friday 13 March 2020
Summer term:
Tuesday 14 April 2020 – Friday 19 June 2020

Course dates

Autumn term:
Monday 16 September 2019 – Friday 6 December 2019
Spring term:
Monday 6 January 2020 – Friday 13 March 2020
Summer term:
Tuesday 14 April 2020 – Friday 19 June 2020