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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

ARTF5254M Critical Issues

15 creditsClass Size: 80

Module manager: Laura Swithenbank

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Module replaces

ARTF5680M & ARTF5801

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

In Critical Issues you will be supported to locate interpretive, conservation, curatorial or marketing practices in the context of current conceptual and professional debates. Through a number of tailored strands, you will be supported to explore what is at stake in how professional practices have developed and are carried out. You will also explore how, through critical analysing, researching and adapting these practices, we can inform decision-making in art gallery, museum and heritage practice. The strands will draw on a variety of theoretical traditions and innovative examples of practice in order to explore urgent issues in the field. Drawing on case studies and a field trip/symposium, you will be able to identify ways of using live practice and examples to develop your own questions and positions within current professional and academic debates.A key strand of the module will enable you to develop your own mini-research project. They will be supported through the classroom teaching to develop a research question, a reading list, an appropriate methodology and to carry it out.


The module is designed to build students critical and research skills in both an academic and professional context. A key objective is to enable students to use examples of art gallery, museum or heritage practice or the experiencing of visiting exhibitions or sites as sources for research. Students will be introduced to appropriate methods and approaches to investigate their questions. The module has been developed to build the skills students will need for undertaking their MA dissertation projects.

Learning outcomes
Through the module students will be able to demonstrate that they can:
- Identify ways in which interpretive, conservation, curatorial and marketing practices can be adapted and developed to create new possibilities for audience engagement, for research and for political debate.
- Use case studies as learning and research resources
- Develop, carry out and write up their own small scale research projects in response to the ideas discussed in class.

Skills outcomes
- Skills necessary to undertake higher research degree and/or for employment in a higher capacity in an area of professional practice.
- Self-direction and effective decision-making.
- Independent learning.
- Use of methodologies and theoretical resources.


Critical Issues will draw on a range of philosophical and practice-engaged debates – as well as case studies – to enable students to critically analyse what is at stake in interpretive, conservation, curatorial and marketing practices. Students can frame their assessments – a mini research project – either around a critique of existing practices, accounts of innovative work or give an account of an imagined experimental intervention.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours134.00
Total Contact hours16.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Students will be expected to undertake reading and seminar preparation in their private study time. This includes preparing and carrying out the mini research project (3000 words).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Presentations on plans for the research and essay

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3000 words100.00
Oral PresentationPresentation0.00
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: 06/09/2022


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