Curating Today | Course | Sotheby's Institute of Art (2024)

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Curating Today | Course | Sotheby's Institute of Art (1)

Build a nuanced understanding of the world of curating in the 21st-century by exploring contemporary curatorial practices within local, global and digital landscapes with this comprehensive course. Through project-based learning you will develop the practical, hands-on skills you need to pursue a career in museums, galleries, and independent curating.

This accelerated, interactive, remote-learning course is designed for active students and will equip them with the contextual knowledge as well as the entrepreneurial skills to plan, develop and carry out a curatorial project, and to situate it in a rapidly changing global landscape. Students who undertake this course are awarded credits from The University of Manchester upon completing the course successfully.

The course unpacks the range of contexts in which curating now takes place – institutional, independent, commercial and digital – with emphasis on new opportunities afforded by the growth of curatorial activity in the digital realm. This allows students to build an emerging network of contacts around the globe and to gain insight into emergent employment trends.

Topics explored include the curator as caretaker, auteur, facilitator, and mediator; locality and the global in the post-2020 landscape; decolonization and diversity in curating; and contemporary curatorial approaches and research methodology. Project-based learning throughout the unit will examine: initiating and defining curatorial projects and frameworks; sourcing artworks in collections for object-based exhibitions; building connections and relationships with contemporary artists; the virtual and in-person studio visit; expanded exhibition formats and sites for curating; writing curatorial statements, proposals, and press releases; sustainability and accessibility in curating; fundraising, development and budgeting; marketing and publicity; and working with digital networks and platforms. Students will experience a synergy between the online delivery of this unit and its examination of the digital landscapes for curating art.

The Details

  • Dates & Fees

    June 9 - July 29, 2021
    | 8 Weeks
    2 - 5:30pm GMT
    Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

    Online Accredited Courses are developed in London by Sotheby's Institute faculty, programming staff, and industry experts.
    Download the Online Accredited Prospectus for more details.

  • Curriculum


    Weeks 1 and 2: Expanding definitions

    • Definitions of curating, curation and ‘the curatorial’; the curator as caretaker, auteur, facilitator and mediator; the changing face of museum curating in 2020 and beyond; curating ‘independently’ in 2020 and beyond; decolonization and diversity in curating; initiating a curatorial project and framework.

    Weeks 3 and 4: Developing a practice, building connections

    • Curatorial approaches to working with objects and contemporary artists; varieties of curatorial research and methodologies; sourcing artworks in collections for object-based exhibitions; building connections with contemporary artists and commissioning new work; the virtual and in-person studio visit; exhibition spaces and expanded formats (institutional, independent, commercial, digital).

    Weeks 5 and 6: Defining a project and making it happen

    • Writing a curatorial statement and press release; space and exhibition design, including issues of sustainability and accessibility; the changing face of artwork transportation and logistics; fundraising and development for curatorial projects; marketing and publicity for local and international audiences.

    Weeks 7 and 8: Audience, locality and impact

    • Delivering interpretation and exhibition programming; building an audience and community; locality and the global in the post-2020 landscape; working with digital networks and platforms; measuring output and success; planning and funding your next project.

  • Virtual Site Visits

    Virtual Site Visits

    A variety of faculty led virtual visits to museums and galleries in London and beyond form an integral part of the learning experience. Virtual visits allow for a global array of museums, galleries, and perspectives to be experienced. These intensive sessions provide a uniquely valuable depth of student engagement, combining faculty insights and discussions, a close-up exploration of curation and artwork, as well interactive talks with curators, exhibition makers, museum professionals, and a wide variety of art world experts.
    Virtual visits and talks delivered by professionals in the art world include those from

    • Victoria and Albert Museum

    • The Wallace Collection

    • The Museum of the Home

    • Serpentine Galleries

    • Tate Modern and Tate Britain

    • The Whitechapel Gallery

    • Institute of Contemporary Arts

    • The Design Museum

    • The Royal Academy

    • National Gallery

    • National Portrait Gallery

    • Chisenhale Gallery

    • Sotheby’s Auction House

    • Frieze Art Fair

  • Faculty


    Dr. Amy Mechowski
    PhD, University College London
    Originally from Chicago, Amy was an Assistant Curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum from 2007 to 2013, in three of the four collections departments (Asia; Word & Image; and Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics & Glass), undertaking a wide range of curatorial activities and working on both major exhibitions and capital projects. She left the Museum to devise and lead the semester course Art Museums, Galleries & Curating at Sotheby’s Institute of Art before returning to the V&A as Head of the Learning Academy where she led a team which delivered the adult learning program for the Museum, including history of art and design courses, workshops, conferences and professional development. Amy was a Research Fellow at the Yale Center for British Art and has published and delivered public lectures and conference papers on research topics such as performativity and spectatorship in museums and galleries. Her extensive undergraduate and postgraduate teaching experience includes UCL, Goldsmith’s, the University of Warwick, Queen Mary (University of London)
    and Kingston University.

  • Credits & Validation

    The course is validated by The University of Manchester, one of the UK’s leading universities. Students who complete the course successfully will gain 30 University of Manchester undergraduate credits.
    This generally translates to 8 undergraduate credits or 6 graduate credits in the US system and 15 credits in the European (ECTS) system. Students currently enrolled at other colleges or universities should be aware that transfer of credit is always made at the discretion of the accepting institution. Therefore, applicants should confirm the feasibility of credit transfer with faculty advisors at their home school in advance of registration.
    Students completing this course also receive a certificate from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

  • FAQs


    How will remote courses take place? What technology is required?
    Students will require a computer and broadband access. Remote courses will be delivered via Zoom Meetings inside the Institute’s regular Learning Management System, Canvas. Teaching will mix a variety of modes, including lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, small group work, project work, student presentations and discussions as well as guest speakers. Delivery will mix live with recorded teaching so as to cater to different global time-zones. Peer to peer learning will be fostered via online and social media student discussion boards and communities, as well as online social activities. The Institute’s Library offers a comprehensive and specialized digital collection and full online student support by experienced art librarians.
    When are classes held?
    Live lectures occur three times a week, from 2pm GTM to 5:30 GMT on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (students will only meet on two days during week 1). While students should attend these classes, recordings will also be made available to ensure lectures and materials may be reviewed in between classes.
    What is the class attendance policy?Students are expected to attend all taught sessions as specified in their timetables and to engage with all online activities available, ideally when they are live, but the Institute recognizes that differences between time-zones may mean that some learning activities are viewed as recordings. Students should engage with materials on Canvas and undertake all preparation and written assignments required of them by the dates specified.

  • Admissions


    Students in our Accredited Courses come from a range of educational and professional backgrounds, from current students visiting from other institutions to career professionals looking to develop new areas of knowledge. As such, each application is assessed on an individual basis, and takes into account a variety of factors.
    For non-native English speakers, a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 or TOEFL score of 78 IBT is required.
    No prior art history or subject-matter knowledge is required.
    Click here for terms and conditions.
    For further information, please contact: or +44 (0)20 7462 3229

Curating Today | Course | Sotheby's Institute of Art (2024)


How hard is it to get a job as a museum curator? ›

To become a curator at a national museum, a PhD is required, as is about five years of field experience. The market is competitive, and academic standards are very high. Useful graduate degrees include restoration science, curatorship, art history, history, chemistry, and business administration.

How competitive is museum curation? ›

Since there are few graduate programs specializing in museum conservation techniques; competition is strong for entry. Qualifications include: work experience, a background in archaeology, chemistry, art history and studio art. Knowledge of a foreign language is helpful for admission to certain programs.

How to make money as a curator? ›

Collaborate with brands and artists for promotional opportunities. Grow your audience by creating curated playlists and sharing them on platforms like Spotify, Deezer, and Apple. Offer consulting services to up-and-coming artists and labels. Monetize your content through affiliate marketing and sponsored posts.

How do you get into exhibition curation? ›

A degree will provide you with the foundational understanding necessary for this career. Also consider taking courses in related fields like museum studies, cultural studies, or anthropology. Hands-on experience is indispensable for aspiring art curators.

Does being a museum curator pay well? ›

How much does a Museum Curator make in California? As of Jun 4, 2024, the average annual pay for a Museum Curator in California is $81,669 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $39.26 an hour. This is the equivalent of $1,570/week or $6,805/month.

Who is the highest paid museum curator? ›

The Museum of Modern Art's director Glenn Lowry earned $1.32 million over the past year, but that's down from the $1.95 million he took home in salary, bonus, and benefits the previous year.

What degree is best for a curator? ›

For those wondering how to become a museum curator, the first step is to acquire the proper education. The BLS states that most curator positions require a bachelor's and master's degree in a related field, such as art history, history, archaeology, or museum studies.

What education do most museum curators have? ›

Most museums require curators to have a master's degree in an appropriate discipline of the museum's specialty—art, history, science, or archaeology—or in museum studies. Some employers prefer that curators have a doctoral degree, particularly for positions in natural history or science museums.

Are museum curators in high demand? ›

Overall employment of archivists, curators, and museum workers is projected to grow 10 percent from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations. About 5,000 openings for archivists, curators, and museum workers are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

How much do curators at Moma make? ›

The estimated total pay range for a Curator at Moma is $62K–$101K per year, which includes base salary and additional pay. The average Curator base salary at Moma is $79K per year. The average additional pay is $0 per year, which could include cash bonus, stock, commission, profit sharing or tips.

What is the average age of a curator? ›

The average age of male Archivists, curators, & museum technicians in the workforce is 45 and of female Archivists, curators, & museum technicians is 42.9, and the most common race/ethnicity for Archivists, curators, & museum technicians is White.

Can you become a curator without a degree? ›

Just like there are many paths to becoming an artist, nowadays, there are many ways to become an art curator beyond earning an art history degree. This is partly because the job of curator can have many definitions.

Do you need a PhD to be a museum curator? ›

Some smaller institutions may hire entry-level museum curators who possess only a bachelor's degree. However, it is far more common for these professionals to hold a master's degree as well, and some of them also have a doctoral degree.

How hard is it to become a curator? ›

It's a good idea to seek a master's degree or higher if you want to work in museum administration. A Master of Fine Arts will give you a practical education with lots of real-world experience in curating art shows for galleries—experience that will be invaluable if you decide to work in a museum.

How do you get noticed by a curator? ›

Showcase your work professionally

Make sure to include dimensions, materials, and date for every piece. A curator will keep printed catalogs on hand for reference when putting together an exhibit.

Are museum jobs hard to get? ›

Remember, anyone who has a current job in a museum was once in your shoes, and they may have some suggestions for you. Don't give up! This is a very competitive career field, and lots of people want to work in a museum, but Keep Going!

Is becoming a curator worth it? ›

If you enjoy art or history and find the idea of working with the public exciting, then a career as a curator may be right for you. With a strong earning potential and responsibilities that vary from day-to-day, a career as a curator can be extremely fulfilling.

What is the average age of a museum curator? ›

The average age of male Archivists, curators, & museum technicians in the workforce is 45 and of female Archivists, curators, & museum technicians is 42.9, and the most common race/ethnicity for Archivists, curators, & museum technicians is White.

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