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Unit information: Curating the Object in 2021/22

Unit name Curating the Object
Unit code HART20029
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Ann Matchette
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History of Art (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will introduce students to the practice and theory of the exhibition as a central strand of the discipline of art history and as a fundamental tool for communicating art historical research to the wider public. Art historians based in the university are frequently involved in exhibitions as both curators and as contributors to catalogues. This involvement requires close collaboration between museum professionals and academics. Students taking the unit will learn about the history and theory of exhibitions, as well as being introduced to the practical aspects of curating an exhibition and writing interpretative text aimed at the general public. The unit will draw on staff involvement in curatorial practice in collaboration with national institutions as well as local institutions with curatorial expertise. As part of the assessment for this unit, students will collaborate in groups to produce a virtual exhibition, which they will present as a group by actively guiding the assessor through their exhibition, just as a curator would do. Students will be expected to organise group work sessions independently, in addition to attending formal supervision sessions.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the unit, students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. broad knowledge and understanding of the role of exhibitions in communicating art historical research to the public
  2. a good understanding of curatorial practice
  3. the ability to evaluate the central concepts, stories and places of exhibitions
  4. skills in written and oral presentation, appropriate to Level I.
  5. collaborative learning skills and effective team-working
  6. how to create a coherent exhibition project from individual contributions

Teaching Information

Classes will involve a combination of long- and short-form lectures, class discussion, investigative activities, and practical activities including work toward a virtual exhibition. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis. This will be further supported with drop-in sessions and self-directed exercises with tutor and peer feedback.

Assessment Information

One 750-word exhibition review (40%) [ILOs 1-4]

One project portfolio (60%) [ILOs 1-6]


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. HART20029).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.