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  • Writer's pictureART CURATION

Study Art Curating With Us

The Master of Art Curating at the University of Sydney is a postgraduate coursework degree that will develop your knowledge of the cultural, theoretical, social, political and economic issues underpinning the art gallery and museum systems. For professionals already working in the sector or for those seeking in career in the arts and cultural sector, this degree is for you. Options include a Graduate Certificate entry level, Graduate Diploma or Masters. Study an internship in a local or international institution or undertake a dissertation to expand your research skills.

The internship programs are well recognised by students for offering important opportunities to gain hands-on learning in sector workplaces, to engage and extend learning from course-work units, and to establish professional networks. Indeed, a significant number of students find employment from their internship experience.

Internship at the Chau Chak Wing Museum


Gain a sophisticated understanding of the full range of cultural, theoretical, social, political and economic issues underlying the art gallery and museum system. This degree offers a Capstone and Elective options in Industry Internships in partnership with leading institutions across Sydney and beyond. Several units are taught in collaboration with Sydney Cultural Institutions.


The Art Museum: Past, Present and Future ARHT6935 CORE UNIT

This unit of study explores the art museum from its origins in Renaissance and Baroque princely and aristocratic collections, through to the creation of new public spaces and institutions for exhibiting art in the 18th and 19th centuries, including national Academies and international exhibitions. Shifting conceptions of the role of the art museum will be addressed: from public instruction to nation building and mass entertainment. The final section explores current debates, including those posed by an expanding range of new media and changing audience perceptions.

Jos was director of Sotheby’s Institute of Art from 2008-19 and has a research focus on art and the British Empire, as well as ethics and business in the arts industry. Lilian is the former Course Leader for the Curating, Museums and Galleries semester course at Sotheby's Institute of Art, London, prior to relocating to Sydney.

Contemporary Curating ARHT6960 CORE UNIT

This unit of study focuses on contemporary curatorial practices and explores emerging trends and new directions in curating. It considers the expanding role of the curator, moving from traditional contexts in the art gallery and museum, to contemporary art spaces, artist-run initiatives, public sites, and into globalised and virtual settings. Curating is its own discipline. It has its own histories and is constantly evolving new modes of exhibition-making. The Contemporary Curator is inventing new ways for art to involve itself in society and we investigate the curatorial practices that meet the complexities, complacencies, inequalities, and possibilities of the contemporary moment.

Ways of Curating: Exhibition and Display ARHT6932 NEW UNIT SELECTIVE/ELECTION OPTION

Exhibitions are the key medium through which art is displayed and interpreted as a prominent and diverse part of contemporary culture. This unit engages with current exhibitions in Sydney art museums and art spaces to interrogate textual, theoretical, and exhibition-based strategies. Students will critically engage with ways of thinking about curating from decolonisation, globalisation and communities, to historical, narrative, biographical, feminist, queer and activist models as they relate to current exhibitions in situ. A range of curatorial approaches will be analysed alongside historical and current art exhibition critique.

THIS NEW UNIT IS TAUGHT AT THE ART GALLERY OF NSW. Professor Terry Smith is an internationally renowned scholar and until recently the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh. Terry is Professor in the Division of Philosophy, Art and Critical Thought at the European Graduate School and Faculty at Large in the Curatorial Program of the School of Visual Arts, New York.


Dr Yvonne Low This unit investigates the rising interest in Asian art by galleries, museums, bi/triennials and their audiences; it explores the politics and issues related to the circulation, exhibition and collection of modern and contemporary Asian art both inside and outside of Asia. Students will achieve a unique insight into institutional settings and curatorial practice in relation to Asian art both internationally and regionally. Critical attention is given to the global interaction between “Asia” and the West, with the aim to ultimately broaden the experience of students who are interested in curating aspects of pre-modern, modern, and contemporary Asian art.


Art Unseen: Addressing Absent Objects ARHT6962 NEW UNIT

Dr Mark de Vitis Art galleries, museums and archives are only ever able to display a fraction of their collection. Much of what they hold remains in basements and storage facilities and these works are rarely, if ever, seen. This unit will take students into those overlooked collection areas to understand how cultural institutions connect with the works in their care. Students will work with prominent collections to produce content to bring underrepresented collection areas, cultures and individual artists into the public eye. The unit will also explore the social, political and art historical issues of display, and the relationship between audiences and taste, and cultures of display. THIS UNIT IS RUN IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE POWERHOUSE MUSEUM


Working with Art: Objects in Focus ARHT6914 CORE UNIT

This unit introduces students to fundamental skills and issues in the study of art through object-based interpretation. It considers complexities and challenges related to the analysis, interpretation and display of individual works of art in the context of museums and galleries, and provides an introduction to the materials and techniques of art production from curatorial, public engagement and conservation perspectives. Students are supported to develop the ability to work closely with the physical art object, as classes will frequently take place in art galleries across Sydney. THIS UNIT IS RUN IN PARTNERSHIP AT THE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART.

Writing for the Art and Museum Sector ARHT5902 SELECTIVE UNIT

Writing is essential for working in art galleries and museums, such as interpretive texts for audiences, research for publications, education, criticism, or for digital media. This unit will study essential texts by curators and critics and offers workshops to develop skills in writing for a range of contexts, objects, and art forms. Engage in research and writing methods for object labels, podcasts and audio guides, audiences with diverse needs, auction catalogues and other contexts. The modules offer interactive platforms and collaborative learning opportunities with the Chau Chak Wing Museum and local collections to build experience and enhance skills for career readiness or development.

Exhibiting Australian Art ARHT6933 SELECTIVE/ELECTION OPTION

What is Australian Art? How are we to understand its changing form and focus from the time of colonisation to the present? Through gallery visits and selected case studies, this unit will examine how contemporary artists, curators and writers are re-imagining and re-seeing the history of Australian art. Current and past exhibitions and collection displays will be explored alongside recent approaches to writing the history of Australian art.

Film Theory: Art, Industry, Culture ARHT6930

The relation of film to industrial modernity is an ongoing issue for film theorists. With the advent of digital image processes and production the relation of art and industry has re-emerged with a new set of problems. How do we conceptualise the new forms? What theoretical and aesthetic language(s) do we draw on? And how best to rethink film in the face of rapid technological, formal and cultural change? These issues will be investigated via an examination of the history of film theory's attempts to formulate concepts adequate to the age of industrial modernity.

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