Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Art History develops curating strand

Wednesday, 21 December 2016


Last year, the Art History team launched a new second-year module, Curatorial Practice.

The aim of the module was to introduce students to the theory and practice of curating through a mixture of visits, taught sessions and expert-led classes from guest lecturers. The module culminated with the students presenting their own concepts as a series of ‘virtual exhibitions’ inspired by their experience during the semester.                                                                                                                                                         Art History develops curating strandCP students presenting their 'virtual exhibitions'

This year saw a second equally successful run of the module. New visits were introduced and students were especially privileged to be taken round the British Museum’s splendid new Waddesdon Bequest gallery by its curator, Dr Dora Thornton. Students also benefited from ‘behind the scenes’ tours and talks at the Government Art Collection, Modern Art Oxford and the Ashmolean, as well as having seminars with Laura Gangadeen of the National Trust and the freelance curator, Judith Winter. For the final session, the students presented their virtual exhibition posters to the module team, Elizabeth Darling, Christiana Payne and Joanna Walker.


Talking about the opportunity to present their own exhibition, which looked at differences between Western and Eastern artwork, Eleanor Palmer “We wanted to see the cultures alongside each other, and how they changed over time. We’ve tended to focus on Renaissance Art, British Art and Modern Art, so this module allowed us to look at something different. The module has definitely helped me understand the logistics of putting an exhibition on and Brookes has been a great environment to do it in.”

Art History Tutor Elizabeth Darling reads the pamphlet designed by students for their exhibition 'Somewhere in the Middle'

Building on the success of Curatorial Practice, the History of Art team has expanded the curating strand of their programme into the third year. This new development consolidates the vocational side of the degree, and strengthens the practical opportunities already offered by the course. The newly developed module was run in collaboration with Modern Art Oxford. It enabled three students: Eve Gould, Imogen Croft and Molly Osborne, to shadow members of its staff, and gain first-hand experience of working in one of the country’s leading contemporary art galleries. The aim of the module was to introduce them to the variety of work that makes up the gallery’s activities. At the end of the module, the students gave a well-received presentation on their experience to the gallery staff. The Art History team intend to expand this collaboration, and are currently developing a number of similar projects for rolling out across the next two academic years.

Modern Art OxfordEve Gould, Imogen Croft and Molly Osbourne present to tutors and the gallery team at Modern Art Oxford.

Speaking about the experience Molly Osbourne said: “Getting experience is one of the most important things you can do if you are considering a career in curating. This module has allowed us to do that and has also put into perspective what working in a Gallery is like. As a consequence we’ve been able to determine what it is we enjoy and what career paths we want to follow.”  


Find out more about the Undergraduate Art History degree at Oxford Brookes University and Modern Art Oxford