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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ARTF2061 Encountering Contemporary Art in a Global Context

20 creditsClass Size: 25

Module manager: Gill Park

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The contemporary art world presents us with a conundrum: on the one hand, it is defined by the spread of international art exhibitions and experimental local initiatives in which globetrotting artists encounter audiences across the world. On the other, it continues to reproduce uneven power relations, maintaining old geographical hierarchies and a one-way flow of artists from the peripheries to ‘the centre’. Furthermore, in its participation within global capitalism, the radical potential of contemporary art often seems to be neutralised by the exhibition form. What then, is the role of the curator in this complex situation? How might we understand contemporary art curating as a critical and creative practice? What form can curatorial activity take beyond the exhibition? How can curating engage with and challenge the social inequalities and power dynamics of globalisation? Through this module you will encounter a range of curated contemporary art activity from across the globe. By reflecting on these case studies in relation to curatorial theory–and through practical workshops –you will go on to develop and reflect on your own critical and creative curatorial proposals.


This module introduces students to the theoretical, social, ethical and practical implications of curating contemporary art within a global context. Through encounters with a series of case studies from a range of geographical contexts, students will learn to read contemporary art exhibitions, biennials and more experimental curatorial activity in relation to critical debates on capitalism and ‘the global turn’. Informed by curatorial theory and practice, students will then go on to develop and reflect on their own curatorial proposals.

Learning outcomes
Through this module, students will be able to

1.Demonstrate an understanding of the social and political context within which contemporary art is produced and disseminated around the globe

2.Demonstrate an understanding of the theoretical, social, ethical and practical implications of curating art within a global context

3.Critically evaluate a wide range of curated contemporary art activity including biennials, exhibitions, curatorial activism and grassroots initiatives in relation to key theories and debates.

4.Demonstrate independent thinking through the development of curatorial proposals that respond to the challenges of curating contemporary art in a global context


This module will draw on a range of theories which situate the production and reception of contemporary art in relation to globalisation. It will draw on key issues and debates such as centre-periphery power dynamics, strategies of curatorial activism and the relationship of the contemporary art world to the art market. Drawing on a range of recent case studies from across the world, it will enable students to understand the way in which curated contemporary art activity can both challenge, but may also reproduce, the inequalities that underpin globalisation. It will also build practical curatorial skills through workshops in the Fine Art project space.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students will use study hours to prepare for seminars by researching set case studies (60hours) (via exhibition websites, news articles, audience evaluations etc) and through weekly reading of set texts(60hours). They will also use their time to prepare for their assignments(60hours). This will involve reflections on weekly seminar content in relation to the development of their essays and own ideas for a curatorial proposal.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

1 x group presentations in week 7

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2500 - 3000 word essay60.00
PortfolioCuratorial proposal pdf40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 11/05/2022


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