The Master of Curating and Cultural Leadership (MCCL) is designed for graduates and career professionals who aim to play a leading role in shaping the creative and cultural landscape of the future.
Post-graduate research degrees are also available in curatorial practice, including a new Curatorial PhD Scholarship with the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Degree: Master of Curating and Cultural Leadership
Duration: 1-2 years full-time, depending on prior qualifications and experience
Entry Requirements: Completion of a recognised Bachelor Degree
- Program Overview
- Program Structure
- Studios and Areas of Study
- Career Opportunities
- Admission Requirements
We see contemporary curating as a dynamic profession, which plays a key role in setting cultural agendas and discovering new ground. We foster a vision of leadership that is deeply diverse and non-hierarchical. The MCCL is designed to build connections between curating, audience engagement, policy, management, critical writing, promotion, production and the many new roles emerging in contemporary digital culture.
This recently introduced program builds on UNSW Art & Design’s 20 years of experience in delivering leading postgraduate education for arts and cultural professionals, many of whom are now prominent leaders across the Australian and international cultural and creative sectors.
Based on extensive industry engagement and consultation, we deliver our curriculum in close collaboration with our on-campus UNSW Galleries and with a broad range of Australian and international creative industries partners. Students are able to undertake an industry internship as part of this program, including a number of paid internships. The Freedman Curatorial Scholarship provides an annual $5000 competitive scholarship for a curatorial intern from within the program.
UNSW Art & Design’s Sydney-based cultural partners include the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Artspace, Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney Biennale, Carriageworks, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Australian Design Centre, State Library of NSW, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences (inlcuding Powerhouse) and the Sydney and Vivid festivals.
Students within the MCCL are able to explore a wide range of areas of study across:
Curating: With a strong emphasis on contemporary practice our curatorial courses focus on experimentation and innovation. We combine theory with the development of independent practice through curatorial studios and dynamic and challenging live public projects.
Cultural Leadership: With an emphasis on leadership as a form of action rather than status, our cultural leadership courses nurture collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship. We combine a strong foundation in strategic management and ethical practice with an emphasis on emerging and experimental models of cultural production and audience engagement.
Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums Industry Engagement and Professional Experience
Each semester students have the opportunity to participate in curatorial studios to produce public cultural events in collaboration with different industry partners. Studio partners in 2015 include Campbelltown Art Centre, the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, the Moran Foundation and the City of Sydney.
The program benefits from numerous international partnerships. The UNSW Art & Design Artspace International Visiting Curators Program brings between 4 to 6 prominent international curators to Sydney each year to conduct research and work with students in the MCCL. Our annual World Biennales course is focused on global art and takes a group of students on expertly guided trips to major exhibitions and cultural events.
The MCCL offers students the opportunity to meet, engage and network with a wide range of arts and cultural industry professionals. These include professionals at all career stages from early career curators to directors of renowned museums, galleries and cultural organisations. Guest lecturers and studio leaders within the MCCL in 2015 have included:
- Olga Viso, Director, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, USA
- Katie Dyer, Curator, Contemporary, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney
- Jeff Gibson, Managing Editor, Artlink, New York, USA
- Anneke Japsers, Assistant Curator, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
- Megan Monte, Curator, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney
- Jodi Newcombe, Director, Carbon Arts,
- Dr Ryan Reynolds, Chair, Gap Filler, Christchurch, NZ
The Master of Curating and Cultural Leadership offers a customisable structure with flexible entry points and incorporates both full time and part time options. A core curriculum of knowledge and skills development guides progression through the three key stages of the degree:
- Students entering the 96UOC (2 years full time) pathway will be introduced to the field in their first semester through a grounding in art and cultural history, theory and policy as well as writing skills;
- Students entering the 72UOC (1.5 years full time) pathway join at the intermediate level, with a core focus on developing research skills and building a sophisticated knowledge of the forces shaping the Australian and international cultural landscape;
- Students entering the 48UOC (1 year full time) pathway join the program at the advanced level, with a core focus on high-level writing and research skills, ethics and legal considerations and advanced theory in curating and cultural leadership.
In the final year all Masters students undertake an internship tailored to develop their skills, build their professional network and open up future employment opportunities.
Students with an interest in and demonstrated capacity for high-level research complete a supervised major research paper, allowing them to deeply investigate a pressing issue or topic. All students undertake a capstone project that enables them to employ and extend the skills and knowledge they have gained during the program through developing and delivering an independent or collaborative cultural initiative.
This core sequence is complemented by numerous specialisation options (see Studios and Areas of Study).
Students can also graduate with a Graduate Certificate (24UOC) or Graduate Diploma (48UOC).
The program offers a dynamic range of industry-engaged specialisation options that integrate theory and practice. All courses within the curriculum emphasises the transformative impact of new technologies, the dynamic field of Asia Pacific art and design and the diverse and distinctive creativity of Australia.
Current specialisation options include:
- Audience engagement, education and public programs
- Marketing, communication and audience development
- Exhibition design
- Strategic management of cultural organisations
- Conservation and registration
- World biennales
A series of curatorial studios delivered in collaboration with industry partners address key areas of contemporary curatorial theory and offer students practical engagement with real-world projects.;
Current studios include:
- Collections and Recollections
- Site and Situation
- Curating Social Space
- Experimental Curating
Our graduates play leadership roles across the arts, cultural and creative industries.
These knowledge and experience industries are key drivers of growth in the contemporary global economy. Our graduates are sought after across a range of arts, cultural, events, entertainment, media and technology sectors.
Our alumni work in diverse roles across independent, institutional, private and public environments including:
- Arts and cultural leadership, management, policy making and administration
- Curatorship, festival, program, event and museum management
- Art Dealing, advising and sales
- Directors of cultural organisations and institutions
- Creative direction, planning and production
- Art and design criticism, communications, marketing and journalism
- Cultural and creative research and scholarship
- Arts and cultural publishing, broadcasting and distribution
- Design thinking and management
- Public programming and engagement
- Art Education and training
- Entrepreneurship, strategy, creative social enterprise and start-ups
The Master of Curating and Cultural Leadership makes provision for three entry points depending on the level and nature of prior qualifications.
Applicants who have a completed Bachelor’s degree in any field (related or unrelated) with record of academic achievement equivalent to a UNSW credit average (65%) are eligible for admission into the full 2 year program. The 2 year program includes a foundational course component in Curating and Cultural Leadership.
Applicants with a completed Bachelor’s degree in a related field with a record of academic achievement equivalent to a UNSW credit average (65%) will be granted admission into the 1.5 year program. Related Bachelor’s degree programs include Art History, Design History, Art Theory, Art Education, Design Education, Curating Studies, Museum and Heritage Studies, Materials Conservation, Fine Arts Practice, Design Practice, Archaeology, Anthropology, English Literature, Media Studies, Cultural Studies and Theatre Studies.
Applicants with a completed Honours degree in a related field (see above) will be granted admission into the 1 year advanced disciplinary component of program.
Those applying without a Bachelor’s degree or a Bachelor’s degree completed more than 10 years ago can be admitted into the Graduate Certificate of Cultural Leadership by the Program Director on the basis of relevant industry experience. Students who complete the requirements for the Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma with a record of achievement equivalent to a UNSW credit average (65%) are eligible for admission into the Master’s program with full credit for courses already completed.
Entry Score Calculator
Applicants who are uncertain whether they have the equivalent to a UNSW credit average can use the UNSW postgraduate entry score calculator to convert and scale other types of grading schemes into a percentage relatable to UNSW entry requirements.
The following Scholarships are available to Master of Curating and Cultural Leadership students, including the prestigious Nick Waterlow Scholarship in Curating and Cultural Leadership which supports one exceptional student each year to undertake the Master of Curating and Cultural Leadership program.
- The UNSW Art & Design International Scholarship - Coursework
- The Nick Waterlow Curatorial Scholarship
- Freedman Curatorial Scholarship
If you can’t find the information you’re looking for or would like to speak with one of our advisors, please don’t hesitate to contact us