Taught course

Curating Contemporary Art and Design: Archives and Collections Intensive - Short Course (online)

Royal College of Art · School of Arts and Humanities
Certificate of Participation

Entry requirements

See the webpage for this course on the RCA website for entry requirements.

Months of entry


Course content

Course overview

Discover contemporary approaches to curating archives and collections of art and design, with leading curators, archivists and researchers, live online.

The Curating Contemporary Art and Design: Archives and Collections Intensive offers an exploration of the latest curatorial approaches to working creatively and critically with archives and collections. Drawing upon contemporary developments in curatorial thinking and practice, this course asks how archives and collections invite experimental approaches, rethinking what it means to produce knowledge using objects, images, and diverse forms of documentation.

Archives and collections of art and design present complex configurations of material culture. As sites of individual and collective memory, they allow us to explore our relationship to time through the artefacts and ephemeral traces of the past, present and future. Rather than serving as static repositories, archives and collections offer creative opportunities for curatorial interaction, collaborative investigation, and trans-disciplinary experimentation. Through critical modes of engagement with archives and collections, established histories can be troubled and re-interrogated through the lens of the current moment. By bringing the residues of the past into dialogue with the present, alternative narratives can be constructed and urgent new questions can be articulated.

This online course invites you to explore different curatorial modalities and to test experimental approaches through interactive sessions. During the course, you will engage directly with the RCA Special Collections, which holds distinctive, rare and unique materials, including archives, photographic collections, artworks and rare books. Taking the form of an expanded workshop, the programme features curatorial research exercises; object ‘handling’ activities; guided visual analysis; and conversations that pose questions about interpretation, mediation, classification and display practices. Throughout the course, curatorial research, theory and practice are taught as symbiotic methods for investigating the contents and structures of archives and collections.

Through the Curating Contemporary Art and Design: Archives and Collections Intensive you will encounter experimental approaches from across the sector, presented by leading curators, archivists and researchers working in different organisational contexts, including museums, galleries, studios, archives, libraries, and other cultural institutions. The programme combines analytical debate with practical activities, taught from the world’s leading art and design university and delivered online in an interactive learning environment.

Course team

The course is led by Dr Rosie Ram, Visiting Lecturer in MA Curating Contemporary Art and Course Leader of the Curating Contemporary Art and Design: Theory and Practice Summer School, and Dr Ben Cranfield, Senior Tutor in MA Curating Contemporary Art. It is delivered by tutors from across the School of Arts and Humanities as well as invited guests from leading institutions.

Who should attend?

  • Art and design graduates
  • Archivists, curators and arts programmers
  • Museum and gallery professionals
  • Artists and designers
  • Writers
  • Researchers
  • Early and mid-career professionals and creative practitioners from across the cultural sector

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • Certificate of Participation
    part time
    1 months
    • Online learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

RCA Short Courses