Postgraduate course In partnership with Kingston University
MA Curating Contemporary Design
Did you know that the museum offers a Master's programme in Curating Contemporary Design in partnership with Kingston University?
Our collaborative degree is one of the world’s foremost postgraduate programmes for design curators, taught by leading academics, curators and designers.
Through a rigorous framework and practical experience, students engage with a contemporary discourse that responds to the complexities and urgencies of today, engaging critically and creatively with our fast-changing world.
The course is delivered by Kingston School of Art academics, Design Museum curators, visiting lecturers, guest speakers and industry specialists.
The course is structured into five modules:
The Design Museum's Curatorial, Learning and Communications teams teach in the course and lead live projects with special guests and industry experts giving the students an understanding of the curatorial knowledge and necessary skills to produce creative design exhibitions, collection displays, learning and public programmes.
Students of this course learn how to research concepts for exhibitions, select exhibits and develop approaches to interpretation. This practical learning is complemented by a historical and theoretical framework that interrogates the object, collection and display of design in museums and the expanded field.
Scholze is a design curator and an Associate Professor at the Kingston School of Art in London heading our MA Curating Contemporary Design. Her transdisciplinary research and publications cover questions around formats of interaction and contemporary design practice engaging with society, technology and the environment. Scholze is a Fellow at the Victoria and Albert Museum where she has been previously the Curator of Contemporary and Modern Furniture and Product Design working on acquisitions and exhibitions, such as 'What is Luxury?’ (2015). She is also a member of the AHRC’ Peer Review College, and a member of the board of the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg and the Stanley Picker Gallery in London. She is one of the initiators of The Design Film Festival (2020) and co-curated the exhibition ‘At Home’ for the XII International Design Biennial Saint-Etienne (2022).
Loveday is Course Leader for our MA Curating Contemporary Design and an independent design curator. Formerly Head of Curatorial at the Design Museum, Donna has over twenty years of experience curating headline exhibitions and creative programmes. In 2013 she curated the acclaimed exhibition 'Hello, My Name is Paul Smith', which has since toured to twelve international museum venues, and co-authored the accompanying book. Loveday publishes and lectures widely on her professional practice and the curating process. Her book, 'Curating Design: Context, Culture and Reflective Practice' was published by Bloomsbury in 2022. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of the advisory board for 'Exhibiting Fashion: Exhibition-making and curation as a catalyst for advancing innovative museum practices' at the Centre for Fashion Curation, London College of Fashion.
Each year the course runs projects with live briefs set by leading curators and designers addressing real-world issues and asking for critical responses.
The projects are developed in collaboration with organisations such as the Architectural Association, Bloomberg, British Council, Gallery Fumi and the Royal Academy of Arts, interrogating the objects, collections and displays of design in museums and the expanded curatorial field.
Through these varied projects, students develop practical skills in research, analysis, experimentation, communication and presentation. Several of our previous students have opted to take forward research undertaken during their course projects as a focus for their Major Project or in supporting their professional practice.
Past briefs for course projects have addressed topics as wide-ranging as 'Re-Considering Canon', 'Architectural Radicals', 'Curating Activism', 'The Design Film Festival', 'The Post-Covid Museum' and 'Design & Democracy'. A number of these projects have culminated in a final show at the Design Museum during the popular London Design Festival.
Alongside the main teaching programme, a Curated Visits Programme includes visits to exhibitions, studios and other sites of design or curatorial practice where you will have an opportunity to hear curators reflect on their practice in the context of their own spaces. These visits aim to encourage critical thinking and learning in multiple spaces.
An annual guest lecture series provides opportunities to learn from and engage with a diverse range of design curators, theorists and practitioners addressing real-world issues.
Speakers have included Janice Cheddie, Gus Casely-Hayford, Gillian Russell, Osinachi and Setareh Noorani.
Each year, our students have the opportunity to participate in a Study Trip exploring the design context of a city. Tutors devise a full programme of visits to museums, galleries and designers' studios. Past visits have included Amsterdam, Berlin, Lisbon, Milan and New York. In July 2022, students travelled to Venice for the 2022 Art Biennale.
The Major Project gives you an opportunity to work independently, creating a body of work that enables you to synthesise and apply the knowledge and skills you have acquired throughout the course. It also enables you to showcase your originality and creativity in the field of design curation. It can be presented either as a written dissertation, creative project or business plan. It supports your professional practice and has the potential to be developed for research at a higher degree level.
1 year Full-time (2 days a week: Tuesdays & Thursdays)
2 years Full-time, including professional placement (2 days a week: Tuesdays, Thursdays + placement year)
2 years Part-time (1 day a week: Tuesday or Thursday)
Home Fees 2023/24
MA Full-time: £10,900
MA Part-time: £5,995
International Fees 2023/24
MA Full-time: £18,700
MA Part-time: £10,285
Please check the university's website for enquiries regarding scholarships.
• Applicants should have a 2:2 or above honours degree or equivalent qualification in an academic subject or creative practice field.
• We welcome applicants with relevant work experience such as practitioners, museum staff and designers looking to extend their professional experience.
• Applicants should be able to demonstrate an ability to work creatively and within a team.
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Many of our graduates have pursued successful careers in museums, galleries and cultural organisations around the world. This has developed into an extensive network of international curators from which current students and graduates benefit.
Some of our previous students include:
Raphael Chikukwa: Executive Director at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe.
Catherine Ince: Director of Exhibitions and Programmes at ARoS Aarhus Art Museum.
Sumitra Upham: Head of Public Programmes at the Crafts Council in London. Previous Curator of Programmes, 5th Istanbul Design Biennial and Co-curator of the British Pavilion, La Biennale di Venezia 2023.
Eunjoo Maing: Director/Head of D-TEC Academy and International Affairs at the Korea Institute of Design Promotion and Regional Advisor, World Design Organisation, Seoul.
Fleur Watson: Associate Professor, School of Architecture & Design at RMIT University and founding director of collaborative curatorial practice at 'Something Together'.
Nina Due: Director at the Röhsska Museum in Gothenburg.
Melita Skamnaki and Wilhelm Finger: Directors and Co-founders of Double Decker in London.
Keinton Butler: Senior Curator of Design and Architecture at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) in Sydney.
"Curating Contemporary Design has been a truly inspiring course! The course provides a unique experience of working between Kingston University and the Design Museum, providing an academic theoretical foundation with a breadth of commercial knowledge whilst working on live curatorial briefs. The course has broadened my ability to think critically about design, expanding my awareness of complex design theories and how objects and design impact and shape us and our world. The teaching has been first-class, engaging, inspirational, collaborative, and refreshingly democratic. The entire experience has provided a pivotal foundation for my curatorial career". Ayesha Adonais
"My biggest takeaway from the course is that it taught me how to critically engage with any and everything around us. It expands the very understanding of Design - beyond objects and the visible, it is about how we inhabit and build our worlds including the invisible dynamics, impacts, and aftereffects of design. How the design, the social and the ecological is bound in a politically active relationship, and as curators how do we unravel or redefine those for the public. The collaboration between a museum and a university provides a balanced exposure to critical theories and varied curatorial formats." Samta Nadeem
"I thoroughly enjoyed the Curating Contemporary Design (in partnership with the Design Museum) course. The dual trajectory of Design Theory and Thinking combined with the practical side of curating offers an enriched programme ready to navigate current societal questions through a curatorial lens. The theoretical course makes you question and think from an academic perspective, while the practical course takes you to the here-and-now of the curatorial field with guest lectures from inspiring practitioners. The course has taught me the versatility of the practice and how to keep developing it into the future by pushing the boundaries of what we know." Lisa Sneidjer
"It has been a challenging but rewarding year studying this MA course. It has given me so many valuable experiences and opened up new opportunities. It has introduced me to the latest design and curatorial theories and the practical aspect of curating; it has also provided a platform for collaboration between students from different cultures and backgrounds. All of these have broadened my perspective of design and curatorial practice. As someone who came from a commercial fashion and textile design background, it has allowed me to look at design differently and think beyond the restriction of the commercial world. It has inspired me to unlearn and reimagine what design and curatorial practice could do to make a better world. And I am extremely grateful for the encouragement and support that I received from my professors, and the opportunity to work towards a social cause that resonates with me throughout my major project about curatorial practice and migrant integration." Ellen Wong
"Taking a year off from my professional life to participate in this MA has been the best life choice. The course offered me a careful mix of practice-based learning and theoretical frameworks, which helped me understand what design is, can and should be. I particularly appreciated the professors' dedication to carefully supervising each project. This process challenged my ideas and helped to form my own curatorial approach." Yuka Takahashi