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Postgraduate study
Curating (Degree Apprenticeship)

Curating (Degree Apprenticeship) MA

Curation is a rapidly expanding field across the cultural and creative sector. Based in our international art gallery and museum, MIMA (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art), this professionally focused course covers the advanced practical and intellectual requirements of a curator including collections, commissioning, interpretation, engagement, project management and critical theoretical contexts.


Degree apprenticeship


Course overview

The apprentice explores:

  • collection development, management (including acquisitions and loans), and historical and contemporary relevance
  • research, development and project management of new exhibitions, and curatorial projects and commissioning artists
  • interpretation, learning and audience development including digital methodologies
  • specialist sector networks and future-proofing your career as a curator.

The apprentice develops their practice across key issues and economic, social and cultural landscapes including decolonisation, diversity and inclusion, place-making and sustainability. The apprentice develops advanced curatorial skills as part of their current employment, providing them with a comprehensive and critical understanding of professional practice, and preparing them for future challenges within the cultural and creative industries.

Developed and delivered in partnership with key stakeholders from the sector and led by established curators from MIMA, this course is embedded in the MIMA programme, allowing the apprentice to contribute to a range of events, projects and exhibitions.

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Course details

Course structure

Core modules

Curating Collections and Access

You expand your understanding of curatorial practice through engagement with collections, including inclusive and decolonial frameworks within the context of curatorial display. You gain a critical perspective on institutional practices, through a detailed knowledge of collection management and development incorporating audience development projects, communications, interpretation, events and learning programmes.

Global Critical Contexts

You develop your critical awareness of social, political, ethical and conceptual issues in and around curation. You explore key theories and practices, both historical and contemporary, developing your curatorial research, analytical and communication skills.

Major Project: Curatorial Practice

This module offers you an advanced learning environment in which to demonstrate an extended professional practice to a level of distinction. Through project supervision you are inspired to build your own creative voice and original practice in the field of curating. You create a portfolio of research and contextual information alongside a presentation of an exhibition, event or project to an audience.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

The apprentice learns through intensive week-long sessions of seminars, lectures, workshops and group activities, plus regular smaller seminars delivered online. Research informed teaching is embedded throughout and delivered by MIMA professors, curatorial specialists, the programme team, key speakers and experienced academics.

We encourage independent exploration, allowing the apprentice to take ownership of their learning and work with their tutors as collaborators rather than dictators of knowledge. This radical new approach to developing the learner as a professional creative practitioner promotes independent enquiry, self-direction and responsibility, communication and negotiated learning.

The apprentice develops a self-directed engagement plan demonstrating professional standards across three areas:

  • sustainable and ethical production and partnerships
  • developing strength in peer networks and collaboration
  • innovative collaborative working towards resilience and inclusion in curation.

How you are assessed

The apprentice is assessed through reports, presentations, project research and development work, presentations and visuals, there are no formal exams.

The assessments focus on the analytical, professional, theoretical and practical elements of the apprentice's study, and they engage in consistent dialogue with tutors about their unique practice and progress towards their engagement plan. The apprenticeship portfolio demonstrates the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviours to achieve the qualification.


Entry requirements

Places on this course are 95% government funded for employers in the creative and cultural sector. This is open to a wide range of staff at galleries, museums, libraries, and creative organisations, who come to Middlesbrough for week-long residentials then pursue self-directed studies online over two or three years.

The apprentice must be working in an institutional setting with relevant registration and sponsored by you, the employer. The apprentice must also:

  • have an honour’s degree or previous experience. Evidence of study at Level 6 may be considered - the learner is invited to discuss their individual needs with the course leader to determine their suitability for study at master’s level
  • have a minimum of three years full-time or equivalent in part-time hours institutional experience – if they have less than three years’ experience they may be considered following discussion with the course leader providing they have their manager’s support
  • have English and maths at a minimum of Level 2 as within the general apprenticeship requirements
  • attend an interview, a separate induction and a three-way progress review meeting at regular intervals between the apprentice and the University.

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements



Career opportunities

The apprentice is prepared for a career in curating across the cultural and creative industries including visual arts, museums and heritage, programming and creating projects across media, design, performance, fashion, festivals and cross art forms. Curators are increasingly sought by sectors such as teaching, academia, health and the environment, to improve public engagement and communications. Curators have an increasingly vital role in interpreting and selecting content across many areas and managing creative relationships of all kinds, it is a future facing career choice that is exploding and the government has labelled a priority through its apprenticeship scheme.


Degree apprenticeship

A degree apprenticeship combines vocational work-based learning with study for a university degree. Designed in partnership with employers, degree apprenticeships offer it all - a higher education qualification, a salary, and invaluable practical experience and employment skills.

Find out more


  • Not available full-time


2022/23 entry

Fee for UK applicants

for the full course. 95% by the government and 5% from your employer

More details about our fees

  • Length: 2-3 years
  • Start date: September or January

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