SOAS University of London

Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

MA Curating Cultures (2021 entry)

Select year of entry: 2021 2020

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Employment
  • Apply

Overview

This programme provides an unrivalled opportunity to explore methods and approaches taken to the curating of the arts of Asia and Africa. It is particularly suitable for those who wish to develop in the arts sector or cultural industries whether that be in the context of museums, galleries, festivals, online platforms, biennales, and other display contexts. It will also appeal to practicing professionals in these areas who are interested in strengthening their knowledge and critical outlook. Themes and issues addressed include but are not limited to: histories and ideologies of curating and exhibitions, theories of collecting, interpreting objects, contemporary issues and debates regarding postmodernism, postcolonialism, repatriation and decolonization, curating and writing of exhibition texts and interpretation.

Additionally, this programme provides an excellent postgraduate foundation for students interested in pursuing PhD research in the fields of curating and/or Art History/Archaeology of Asia and Africa in general.

Why study MA Curating Cultures?

  • Unrivalled expertise and focus on the curating of the cultures of Asia and Africa
  • Ideal for those planning to enter a career in the arts sector and cultural industries
  • Coverage and exploration of the most pertinent debates and issues today facing museums, galleries, exhibitions, and the sector in general.

Aims and objectives

  • Ability to critically evaluate interpretative frameworks of museums, galleries, exhibition spaces, public art, online platforms/digital curating, and other display contexts.
  • Critically analyse the role practices of collecting, display, and interpretation have in the production of meaning and value of objects.
  • Study the methods, practices and key issues surrounding ways in which Asian and African cultures and objects have been presented from both within their own traditions and from the European perspective with a particular focus on decolonisation.
  • Develop an understanding of both the theory and practice of curating.
  • Acquire in-depth knowledge of the specific areas of Asian and African art and/or archaeology that the student chooses to study, as seen in their course selection.

The Department of the History of Art and Archaeology contains some of the world’s leading experts in Asian and African art history and archaeology, whose ground-breaking research informs and is informed by their teaching. Many of them are also experienced curators and contribute to the vibrant programming in the Brunei Gallery at SOAS. Students benefit from the unparalleled knowledge and enthusiasm of staff. As members of the School of Arts, students also profit from the insights of scholars and students studying the Music, Film and Media of Asia and Africa in historical and contemporary contexts. They can also select from modules from within the School of the Arts and in other departments across SOAS, taking advantage of its unrivalled expertise in the languages, history, religions and cultures of Asia and Africa.

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time

Entry requirements

  • We will consider all applications with 2:ii (or international equivalent) or higher. In addition to degree classification we take into account other elements of the application including supporting statement and references.

Featured events

duration:
One year (full-time). Two or three years (part-time, daytime only)

Fees 2021/22

UK fees:
£10,680
Overseas fees:
£21,980

Fees for 2021/22 entrants. This is a Band 1 fee. The fees are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found in the Fees and Funding tab on this page or in the Registry Postgraduate Tuition Fees page

Convenors

Structure

Occasionally the availability of optional modules changes as a result of staffing and other circumstances. Students who had signed up for such modules will be notified as soon as possible and given the opportunity to choose from available alternatives.

Students must complete 120 credits of MA taught modules in addition to the compulsory dissertation (60 credits).

Dissertation
Module Code Credits Term
Dissertation in History of Art and Archaeology: Curating Cultures 15PARC994 60 Full Year
Taught Component
Compulsory Modules
Module Code Credits Term
Asia and Africa On Display 15PARH043 15 Term 1
AND
Module Code Credits Term
Curating Cultures Cohort A 15PARH079 15 Term 1
OR
Module Code Credits Term
Curating Cultures Cohort B 15PARH088 15 Term 2
AND

60 credits from List A

AND

30 credits from List A AND/OR modules from Postgraduate Open Options.

List A (subject to availability)
Module Code Credits Term
Arts of Modern and Contemporary China (since 1800) 15PARH055 15 Term 2
Contemporary Art and the Global 15PARH085 15 Term 1
Modern and Contemporary Arts in Africa 15PARH048 15 Term 2
Modern and Contemporary Korean Art 15PARH060 15 Term 2
Theory and Method in Art History 15PARH097 15 Term 1
Arab Painting 15PARH054 15 Term 1
Ceramics in Chinese Culture: 10th - 18th Centuries 15PARH046 15 Term 2
Chinese Porcelain: Trade, Transfer and Reception 15PARH064 15 Term 2
Islam and the West: Artistic and Cultural Contacts 15PARH034 15 Term 2
Popular Practice in the Edo Period Arts 15PARH008 15 Term 2
Islamic Visual Culture 15PARH065 15 Term 1
China and the Silk Road: Art and Archaeology 15PARH093 15 Term 1
Interpreting Visual Expressions of the Mandala 15PARH086 15 Term 2
Islamic Art and Architecture of Eastern Mediterranean of the Period of the Crusades (11th-14th centuries) 15PARH080 15 Term 2
Shogunal Iconography in the Edo Period 15PARH007 15 Term 1
Southeast Asia's Art Histories I 15PARH087 15 Term 1
Southeast Asia's Art Histories II 15PARH100 15 Term 2
Themes in the Visual Arts of Dynastic China (before 1800) 15PARH051 15 Term 1
Analytical Approaches to the Global Creative and Cultural Industries 15PMUH023 15 Term 1
Global Film Industries 15PARH098 15 Term 1

 

Programme Specification

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Contact Hours

All Masters programmes consist of 180 credits, made up of taught modules of 30 or 15 credits, taught over 10 or 20 weeks, and a dissertation of 60 credits. The programme structure shows which modules are compulsory and which optional. 

As a rough guide, 1 credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. Most of this will be independent study, including reading and research, preparing coursework, revising for examinations and so on. It will also include class time, which may include lectures, seminars and other classes. Some subjects, such as learning a language, have more class time than others. At SOAS, most postgraduate modules have a one hour lecture and a one hour seminar every week, but this does vary.

More information is on the page for each module.

Teaching

Teaching consists of a combination of lectures and seminars. Classes are normally between two and three hours per week for each course. Teaching methods include lectures with discussion, seminars (at which students present papers) and museum visits. Students at all levels are expected to take an active part in class presentations. A particularly important element is the training of the student's visual memory.

In addition to their studies on the MA programme, students at SOAS can participate in a wide range of research seminars, lectures and conferences that regularly take place in the School and in the University of London.

Assessment

For each of the three taught modules, the student will be expected to submit two or three pieces of written work usually around 3,000 to 4,500 words – for a total of 9,000 words per modules. The emphasis is on developing essay skills during the session in preparation for the dissertation. In some courses the assessment is 100% on written work. On other modules, assessed course work forms 75% of the student’s final grade and an additional 25% is determined by slide quizzes, projects or other forms of assessment. The 10,000 word dissertation is submitted in September.

Learning Resources

SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

Full details of postgraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Postgraduate Tuition Fees page.

This is a Band 1 tuition fee.

Fees for 2021/22 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Fees go up each year, therefore, your tuition fee in your second & subsequent years of study will be higher. Our continuing students, on the same degree programme, are protected from annual increases higher than 5%.

Full-time Part-time 2 Years Part-time 3 Years Part-time 4 Years
Intensive Language only
UK
Students
Overseas
Students
UK
Students
Overseas
Students
UK
Students
Overseas
Students
UK
Students
Overseas
Students
£10,680 £21,980 £5,340 £10,990 £3,560 £7,330 £5,340 £10,990

Scholarships
Felix Non- Indian Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2021-01-29 00:00

Felix Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2021-02-15 00:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – East Asia

Application Deadline: 2021-05-31 00:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – Europe

Application Deadline: 2021-05-31 00:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – India

Application Deadline: 2021-05-31 00:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – Pakistan

Application Deadline: 2021-05-31 00:00

SOAS Master's Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2021-04-30 00:00

Saraswati Dalmia Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2021-04-09 00:00

Sasakawa Postgraduate Studentship

Application Deadline: 2021-03-08 00:00

Tibawi Trust Award

Application Deadline: 2021-06-04 00:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section

Employment

A Masters from the Department of the History of Art and Archaeology provides students with expertise in the History of Art and/or Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Our postgraduates progress to work in arts, culture and heritage roles, including in galleries, museums, archives, conservation, publishing and arts administration. The large portfolio of transferable skills they acquire enables them to forge careers in a range of other fields across the world. Our Masters programmes are also an excellent foundation for MPhil/PhD research.

Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:
  • Asia House
  • Bonhams
  • British Museum
  • Christie's Hong Kong
  • Design Museum
  • Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum
  • Hong Kong Museum Of Art
  • India Foundation For The Arts
  • Museum of East Asian Art
  • National Gallery of Singapore
  • National Museum of Singapore
  • People Projects Culture & Change
  • Schoeni Art Gallery
  • Sotheby's
  • Taiwan Embassy
  • The Alliance for Global Education
  • The British Embassy
  • The Chester Beatty Library
  • The National Museum Of Korea
  • The Royal Collection
Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:
  • Manager of Communications
  • Culture Programme Coordinator
  • Research Assistant
  • Social Anthropology Lecturer
  • Specialist - Indian Art
  • Architect
  • Art Historian
  • Development Specialist
  • Archivist
  • Gallery Director Innovation Programmes Learning Manager
  • Creative Director
  • Organisational Consultant
  • Travel writer
  • Art Collector
  • Chinese Painting Specialist
  • Professor of Silk Road History
  • Rights and Reproductions Officer
  • Public Education Coordinator
  • Senior Curator of Photographs

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

With the guidance of an eminent team of professors, and the support of the various resources SOAS has to offer, my time here has indeed been very productive, academically and professionally.

Vaishnavi Patil

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