Taught course

Curating Contemporary Art and Design: Theory and Practice - Short Course

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

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Entry requirements

Participants must:

  • have an undergraduate degree
  • have a good level of English language
  • be 18 years or over.

Months of entry


Course content

Course overview

This one-week summer school provides an immersive introduction to contemporary curatorial thinking and practice in art and design. It offers critical perspectives from the viewpoint of experts who curate, research and write in the cultural sector, with a unique opportunity for participants to engage with London’s diverse creative scene.

The summer school emphasises critical thinking around curating practice and theory in a contemporary context. As well as looking at galleries and museums, the sessions consider wider modes of delivery such as interventions, public programmes, publications and digital platforms.

Led by the School of Arts & Humanities, the course teams comprised of of London-based curators, critics, researchers, historians and writers. The short course combines analytical debate with practical, hands-on activities taught in the world’s leading art and design university. As a forum for learning in a collaborative, lively atmosphere, the course also offers the opportunity to gain one-to-one support and advice from our faculty of experts and visiting speakers.

The course will provide a concentrated programme of workshops, masterclasses, behind-the-scenes visits, project work and critical debate. As well as experts from the Royal College of Art, previous years have included sessions with renowned curators and researchers from Tate Britain, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Somerset House, the Museum of Modern Art and influential London fine art galleries and commissioners such as Cubitt Gallery and UP Projects.

Considering factors such as identity, geopolitics, social economics, digital developments and the creative economies, participants will be encouraged to consider critically the role of art and design in the expanded field. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, you will explore a range of fine art and design disciplines in international contexts.

What will I learn?

You will:

  • engage with current debates in art and design
  • explore contemporary critical and curatorial practice
  • understand how curatorial projects are conceived, researched and delivered
  • learn how to pitch project ideas.

How will I learn?

You will learn from:

  • masterclasses
  • one-to-one support and advice from subject experts
  • workshops and crits
  • collaborative projects
  • visits to London galleries, studios and museums.

Sample programme

Each morning will consist of a masterclass, followed by a workshop with discussion of the day’s task. Afternoons will include visits to exhibitions, galleries and studios, with workshops and crits that are designed to develop the skills and insights vital to curators and critics.

Who should attend?

The Curating Contemporary Art and Design course is designed for early-career professionals in the arts, as well as graduates considering vocations in curatorial practices and related critical contexts. It is also suitable for those considering a change of career or a means to develop their own personal and professional practice and experience through curating or research. Previous students have gone on to deliver work together that originated in the summer school via collaborative projects and new networks established during the summer school.

Who is this course suitable for:

  • art and design graduates
  • early- and mid-career professionals from the cultural sector
  • curators and arts programmers
  • artists and designers
  • writers
  • researchers.

Programme team

The course is convened by academic leader Rosie Ram who is a Visiting Lecturer and Doctoral Candidate at the Royal College of Art. Most recently, Rosie has been working with Tate Britain where she has co-curated Vital Fragments: Nigel Henderson and the Art of Collage. Previously, Rosie was academic coordinator of The Artist Collective Summer School, a joint initiative between Yale University, the Paul Mellon Centre, and the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA). Rosie is a specialist in modern and contemporary visual culture. Her interests include collaborative artistic practices, as well as intersections between art, architecture, photography and design. Her PhD is funded by an AHRC scholarship and she was awarded a fellowship at the Yale Centre for British Art. Rosie has shared her research via print, film, online and in public presentations. She has curated displays, taught and programmed events at Central Saint Martins and Chelsea College of Arts. Prior to her doctorate, Rosie worked at Chisenhale Gallery.

The course is overseen by Professor Victoria Walsh, Head of Programme for MA Curating Contemporary Art. Prior to joining the RCA she curated and worked on a significant range of exhibitions. She is a curator and active researcher whose projects span from the post-war period to the contemporary with a particular focus on interdisciplinary collaborations between artists, architects and designers; performance art and its documentation; the reconstruction of exhibitions; practices and histories of gallery education and audiences; issues of curating in relation to the digital, hypermodernity and globalization.

Teaching will be delivered by staff from the School of Art & Humanities.

The full list of academics and external practitioners names is to be announced.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • Certificate of Participation
    part time
    1 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

RCA Short Courses