SOAS University of London

School of Arts

Curating Global Arts

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 2, Year 3 or Year 4
Taught in:
Term 2
This School of Arts unit combines curatorial training with an exploration of key debates in the theory, history and practice of curating art, music and media in a global context. The course includes a series of off-site visits in galleries and arts institutions during which students will meet curators and engage with current perspectives on curating in London. Students will study the histories and debates of curating through a close reading of seminal exhibitions, manifestos and texts, and will cover themes including collecting and display, postcolonial exhibition practice, representation and the ‘other’, curatorial initiatives in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, curating sound and music, and the use of archives and digital technologies in curating. Throughout the course, students will work on group projects to develop practical and conceptual skills for curatorial research, and will end the course by producing an exhibition proposal. The course will appeal especially to students interested in pursuing a career in the arts sector.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this course a student should be able to:

  1. critically engage with central debates in transnational curatorial practice, particularly in the context of the arts and music of Asia and Africa.
  2. demonstrate knowledge of the history of curating international art and music in the twentieth century.
  3. demonstrate awareness of current exhibitions and institutions dealing with contemporary art and music from Asia and Africa in London.
  4. demonstrate the skills needed to research and present an exhibition proposal.
  5. understand the stages, processes and parameters of exhibition production.


  • One lecture (2 hours) each week
  • One tutorial (1 hour) each week

Scope and syllabus

  1. Collecting and Modes of Performance and Display (Exhibition Histories Part 1)
  2. Offsite lecture: Museum
  3. Post-colonial Exhibitions (Exhibition Histories Part 2)
  4. Exhibition research, development and production
  5. Curating the Digital
  6. Offsite lecture: Art Museum
  7. Curating Sound and Music
  8. Offsite lecture: Sound installation or music studio
  9. Exhibition theory for art and music
  10. Offsite lecture: Gallery

Method of assessment

  • Review of sound installation or visual arts exhibition (1,500 words) - 30%
  • Exhibition proposal (for visual arts, moving image and/or sound event)(3,500 words) - 60%
  • Group research project, culminating in group presentations. - 10%

Suggested reading

  • Barker, E (ed) Contemporary Cultures of Display (Yale University Press, 1999)
  • Belting, Hans, Andrea Buddensieg, and Peter Weibel, The Global Contemporary and the Rise of New Art Worlds (Karlsruhe, Germany : Cambridge, MA ; London, England: MIT Press, 2013)
  • Clifford, James The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth Century Ethnography, Literature and Art (Cambridge MA and London: Harvard University Press 1987)
  • Enwezor, Okwui All the World’s Futures: 56 International Art Exhibition. La Biennale Di Venezia, Box edition (Venezia: Marsilio, 2015)
  • Enwezor, Okwui Documenta 11: the Catalogue, Ostfildern-Ruit / Hatje Cantz, (London, Arts Book International, 2002)
  • Filipovic, Van Hal, and Ovstebo, eds., The Biennial Reader (Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2010)
  • Ferguson, Bruce, Reesa Greenberg and Sandy Nairne (eds.) Thinking about Exhibitions (Routledge, London, 1997)
  • Spring, Christopher James A way of life: considering and curating the Sainsbury African Galleries (Middlesex University PhD thesis, 2015) Available at
  • Weiss, Rachel. Making Art Global: The Third Havana Biennial 1989. (part 1) (London: Afterall Books, 2011)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules