Nancy Dantas's picture
September 12, 2017 to October 31, 2017
South Africa
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Local History

The honours programme in Curatorship is offered by the Michaelis School of Fine Art’s Centre for Curating the Archive in close collaboration with Iziko Museums.

The programme offers courses in the theory and practice of curatorship, developing in students a sophisticated awareness of the practicalities, politics and poetics of working with collections of many kinds. Students are encouraged to bring the disciplinary insights of their undergraduate major (whether this be in the visual arts, the humanities or the sciences) to the curating of both material and virtual collections, and are offered opportunities to work on exhibitions in real spaces and in the digital realm. A major aim of this programme is to introduce students, through seminars, fieldwork and workshops, to the central skills of a curator: to understand objects and how to research them, to work with collections, articulating them in exhibitions, and to collaborate with artists, mediating their production. In 2018 we have a special focus on object studies, and the multiple ways in which such a focus can help transform museum practice.

The course prepares students for further postgraduate study or possible work as curators, museum educators, collection managers, and for positions that require the use, interpretation, display and manipulation of collections.



Academic criteria

Applications are invited from students who have completed an undergraduate degree in the visual arts or cognate fields, including such disciplines as art history, archaeology, visual studies, history and anthropology, as well as any of the sciences where collections are important for research, or for an understanding of the history of the discipline.

Applicants are required to submit hard copies of the following before 31st of October: 1. a detailed narrative curriculum vitae; 2. a letter of no more than two pages detailing your background and reasons for wishing to study curatorship, as well as your special areas of interest relevant to the programme; 3. academic transcripts; 4. the names and contact details of two academic referees; 5. a sample piece of academic writing; 6. 500-word research proposal


A limited number of department bursaries are available to South African citizens. Preference will be given to designated groups. Candidates should motivate for consideration when applying.

Given that the support we are able to offer is limited, it is recommended that prospective students pursue other avenues of support, namely general university funding as well as the National Arts Council of South Africa. For more information about postgraduate funding offered by the university, please see http://www.students.uct.ac.za/students/fees-funding/postgraduate-degree-...

PROGRAMME STRUCTURE (visit www.cca.uct.ac.za for a more detailed description of each component)

Compulsory components
Critical thinking in curatorship
Research essay/project

Elective courses (three required)
Practical communication
Working with museum collections
Virtual display
Local issues in curatorship

Other possible electives
An elective from another humanities faculty honours course may be chosen where appropriate to replace one of the above with permission from the programme convener, Professor Pippa Skotnes.

A range of compulsory introductory and specialist workshops will be offered in the fields of curation and conservation.

The programme includes a mandatory sixty-hour internship, at a museum or gallery, where students are exposed to curatorial working practice. Students’ performance is evaluated by internal and external supervisors.

Field trips and study visits

First-hand encounters with collections, curators and sites of display are an integral part of our programme and the learning experience on offer. These faculty-led visits include day trips to venues in and around Cape Town. In 2018 the programme will send students on fully-funded, annual overseas field trip, exposing the class to a range of institutional and independent practitioners, as well as an array of exhibition models and collections. By way of facilitators, students are encouraged to participate in intense discussion and critical reflection around these encounters.

Contact Info: 

021 650 7151 (during office hours)

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