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Undergraduate study

Course overview

Working as a curator you develop exhibitions and facilitate creativity through, festivals, screenings, digital platforms and more. You engage with the social and political world around you and respond to and engage with the wider public.

You are taught by leading curators, artists and thinkers who are at the forefront of curatorial research around social issues such as the environment, the climate emergency, diversity and equity. This course combines a strong grounding in real world experiences and contemporary curatorial methods and techniques, with the development of conceptual and theoretical understandings of curatorial programming.

You study at MIMA School of Art & Design, an art school led by Teesside University and MIMA (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art), an international contemporary museum and gallery.

You study curatorial practice and engage with MIMA’s local, national and international communities. You examine and develop local exhibitions with gallery partners and work directly with the MIMA collection, exploring the ethics and process behind the maintenance and conservation of a collection.

As well as engaging with a rich and vibrant artist and gallery community in the Tees Valley, there are lots of opportunities to benefit from a network of art organisations, with some of the teaching delivered through external gallery visits at regional cities including Newcastle, Leeds and York.

This course includes a foundation year - ideal if you need additional preparation or if you don't have sufficient grades to join Year 1 of a degree.

* Subject to University approval


Course details

Course structure

Foundation year core modules

Contextual Studies

You are introduced to the contexts of creative and design history, investigating problem solving and themes to inform your current studio practice. You research and learn to analyse ideas about past British and international styles, design and theory. This develops your understanding of the role of the designer, the meanings and vocabulary of space and design, and the relationship between design, society and the environment. You develop skills in research, analysis, communication and critical thinking, and produce and present interpretations of historical material.

Portfolio Project

Building on your skills in the design process, you develop a project portfolio directed towards your favoured design discipline, demonstrating your creative ideas, development and final concepts. You are encouraged to take a questioning, creative and innovative approach to design project work. You focus on experimental exploration, as well as challenging your ability to motivate and organise yourself to manage a design project and work to a deadline. This project culminates with a short presentation of your completed design work.

Research and Analysis

You are introduced to the creative design process and methods of researching and recording inspirational ideas which you can then develop for your own project work. You gather inspiration, stimuli and precedent ideas from a multitude of sources and sketchbooks – these are key in developing and experimenting your design, helping you curate ideas and document your design activity.

Specialism Project

You take part in a range of specialist studio activities. You investigate, experiment and explore pathways in fashion, textiles, graphics, interiors and product design. You study creative processes and develop independent project skills to help identify the specialist subject which best suits your interests and abilities.

Thinking Through Drawing

You are introduced to a range of fundamental drawing approaches for a variety of purposes. Practical workshops include measured drawing, scale, composition and perspective as well as creatively using colour, materials and expressive mark making. These experiences increase your observational skills that help you visualise and realise ideas for potential design projects.

Thinking Through Making

You further develop and deepen your knowledge gained from the induction programmes, enhancing your skills in model construction, prototyping, printmaking, and production analysis. You gain greater insight into the complexities of model construction and printmaking by working in detail with various materials, developing techniques and creative skills. This module is project-based – you transfer your knowledge from lectures to hands-on demonstrations in a workshop environment. You primarily learn through producing models and prints from drawings.


Year 1 core modules

Curatorial Methods

You are introduced to curatorial practice and approaches to forming curatorial displays. Through sessions in the MIMA classroom, you explore methods of curatorial research, considering different styles of producing an exhibition format. You reflect on exhibition histories, inclusive of multiple voices, and develop knowledge of contemporary curatorial practices as well as artist-led curation. You work with the MIMA programme team through exhibition tours and conversations about gallery hangs and interpretation approaches.

Introduction to Curation

You are introduced to the concepts of curatorial practice, its histories and its contemporary purpose. You explore the rich history of curatorial processes and are introduced to models and processes in the 21st-century including equity, diversity and inclusion, and access contexts.

Methodology and Technique

Through practical sessions, you explore the journey of creating a public display/event. From logistical, practical and technical means of display, to the role of the curator as facilitator, exploring initial understandings of gallery access and interpretation.

MIMA History of Art, Design & Architecture

You are introduced to key art, design, architectural and cultural histories that are central to studying a creative subject. You explore a range of contexts and influences including art historical, ecological, critical theory, industrial, technological change, social and political movements, examining the changing face of art and design and informing your future research.

Visual Perspectives

We live in a visual culture. This modules explores how we see and take meaning from images across a range of media platforms including television, cinema, the press and the visual arts.

Working in the Creative Industries

You are introduced to the opportunities available in the creative industries sector, how to start a career path and vital employability skills including networking and digital presence. You learn about the structure of the sector and how it operates locally, nationally and globally, debating the role of policy and the importance of sustainability.


Year 2 core modules

Art and Place

You combine theory and practice to examine the challenges facing contemporary societies, and undertake small-scale projects that explore social, political and ecological changes around us. You develop the aims and forms in negotiation with module tutors. The outcome could be a collaborative project that explores the process of making work in a wider context such as: shopping centres, schools, outdoor parks, and other social settings.

Career Context

You develop your understanding of building a career in the creative industries through key skills in creative leadership, collaborative entrepreneurship and sustainability. You start with a theoretical introduction to these concepts and then work collaboratively on a group project to establish a creative business. You present your project and submit an individual reflective portfolio on your research and project experiences.

Digital Curation

The role of online and experiences beyond the gallery has never been more important. You develop a digital based experience/event/exhibition and gain knowledge of what it means to curate in the digital age. This is underpinned by a historical contextual lecture series on new media and net art practices.

Global Future Contexts

You investigate a range of contemporary social, environmental, technological and ethical issues that inform all types of art and design practice. You broaden your awareness of using creativity as a form of contemporary social discussion – exploring issues through the development, production and presentation of potential future scenarios.

Learning and Participation

The role of learning is integral to gallery display and experience, it is central to a curatorial experience. You explore key learning concepts and forms of meaningful participation in gallery experiences.

Working with the MIMA Collection

Using the MIMA collection, you question the role of collecting and responding to historical narratives of artmaking. Through conversations with the MIMA curatorial team and sessions in the MIMA classroom, you examine ideas of display, mediation and presentation. You question the ways in which narrative, interpretation and experiences beyond the gallery can help the curatorial experience and consider the categorisation of objects both materially and contextually.


Final-year core modules

Art, Theory and Context

You examine approaches to written and visual communication that present key ideas and concepts underpinning a practice-based research project. You establish and investigate a research question through relevant research methods – the outcome is a critical text and small artifact, to demonstrate appropriate skills in academic and reflective writing as well as practice-based research methods. The essay and artifact, not limited to any specific medium or research area, must demonstrate a progression in focus and explore relevant artists and ideas to current debates in contemporary art theory and practice. The written element must also consider the placement and curatorial context of the artifact.

Critical Curatorial Practice

You start to develop your independent curatorial voice by responding to a set of questions/provocations. You explore the practical, analytical and conceptual requirements of developing a public display in response to those questions. This could be from any theoretical standpoint, considering the role of the work/artists within the event/exhibition/display.

Final Research Project: Curatorial Presentation (Exhibition)

A self-directed module exploring your own theme agreed through a negotiated study plan with the module tutor. The project develops a curatorial venture to an advanced standard, including demonstrations of proposals, artist communication, development and planning charts, budgets, and timeframes. This presentation is alongside an Arts Council England draft application and a written 5,000 word essay examining and exploring the key concepts of the show.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

You work on individual and group projects, building your knowledge and experience together.

Lectures deliver theoretical content and concepts, practical demonstrations and interactive exercises, while seminars and studio time allow you to work on your own original projects. You also learn through enquiry-based active learning, research and discussion-based sessions, client/user-facing activities, and critiques.

You are taught by MIMA professors and lecturers, and MIMA gallery curatorial teams who all have established curatorial practices.

How you are assessed

The modules are generally project based and assessed through a portfolio of designed work, sometimes accompanied by a verbal presentation. Creative projects are normally assessed on the final communication and visualisation of the work but also the development process of research and evidencing the analytical journey towards your final project. Verbal feedback is given during the studio sessions on work in progress with written feedback on the final submission.

Our Disability Services team provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
Find out more about our disability services

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Entry requirements

Entry requirements

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country

You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL



Career opportunities

There are a wide range of career opportunities including curator, gallery education, working in heritage and conservation, archivist, collection care, public engagement roles, directors, creative producers, marketing, technical managers, and teaching.


Information for international applicants


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Entry to 2022/23 academic year

Fee for UK applicants
£9,250 a year

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Fee for international applicants
£14,000 a year

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