About this course
Exhibition Studies engages with exhibition formats, through a theoretical and practical understanding of what constitutes an exhibition in the 21st century.
- Follow a curriculum which focuses on exhibition histories from 1850 onwards
- Apply your own expertise, as well as studio practice, to develop research topics through project-based learning
- Study full-time over one year or part-time over two years
- Benefit from a programme supported by internationally renowned arts organisations, including Liverpool Biennial, Tate Liverpool, FACT, RIBA North and Aarhus University, Denmark
- Enjoy direct benefits from the degree's links to the Exhibition Research Lab and a range of international collaborations and partnerships developed by staff
- Explore best practice and the very latest in innovative forms of exhibition and curatorial practices
- Take advantage of the generous Michael Pugh Thomas and Julia Carter Preston Legacy £1000 scholarships offered to postgraduate applicants
The programme considers the history and practice of exhibition culture, specifically the mediation of curatorial projects in galleries and museums, biennials and other survey exhibitions.
As a student, you will be based in the School of Art and Design, the oldest art school in the UK outside of London.
Additional funding for this programme is available via the Susan Cotton Travel Award and other study bursaries.
MA Exhibition Studies
Fees and funding
There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students
The fees quoted at the top of this page cover registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examinations as well as:
- Library membership with access to printed, multimedia and digital resources
- Access to programme-appropriate software
- Library and student IT support
- Free on-campus wifi via eduroam
Although not all of the following are compulsory/relevant, you should keep in mind the costs of:
- accommodation and living expenditure
- books (should you wish to have your own copies)
- printing, photocopying and stationery
- PC/laptop (should you prefer to use your own)
- mobile phone/tablet (to access online services)
- field trips (travel and activity costs)
- placements (travel expenses and living costs)
- student visas (international students only)
- study abroad opportunities (travel costs, accommodation, visas and immunisations)
- academic conferences (travel costs)
- professional-body membership
- graduation (gown hire etc)
There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students. From loans to International Scholarships and subject-specific funding, you’ll find all of the information you need on our specialist postgraduate funding pages.
Bursaries and study awards
The Liverpool School of Art and Design offers students across all taught postgraduate programmes opportunities to apply for scholarships aimed at broadening student knowledge and experience.
The Michael Pugh Thomas and Julia Carter Preston Legacy scholarships consist of a number of £1,000 awards and are open to full-time and part-time home and international students who wish to study for a postgraduate qualification in art and design with LJMU. Part-time applicants can only apply once over the two years of their course.
To be considered for the scholarship, you must submit a 500 word letter to email@example.com after being formally offered a place on a Masters programme in the School of Art and Design. The deadline for application for 2019 entry is Friday 14 June 2019.
Please ensure you include your name, contact details, the full title of the course you have applied to study on and 500 words stating why you should be awarded the scholarship, the benefits it will bring to your studies and any exceptional circumstances you face in studying for a postgraduate qualification. Further information for international students about finance, fees and scholarships can be found here.
The School's main travel bursary for existing students, The Susan Cotton Travel Awards, consists of three European Awards of £1,600 and two International Awards of £2,300. The awards are intended to help you undertake significant domestic or international travel in support of your work and personal development. The awards aren't necessarily about academic study, instead they focus on the spirit of travel and adventure. Previous winners of the bursary have travelled to a tropical island to experience life at its most basic, cycled the length of the Danube, spent a month in Morocco and inter-railed through Europe. Deadline for entry to the travel awards are Monday 14 January 2019.
Further your career prospects
LJMU has an excellent employability record with 96% (HESA 2017) of our postgraduates in work or further study six months after graduation. Our applied learning techniques and strong industry connections ensure our students are fully prepared for the workplace on graduation and understand how to apply their knowledge in a real world context.
Graduates of our MA Exhibition Studies have gone on to work for major cultural institutions, including The Henry Moore Institute (Leeds), British Music Experience (Liverpool), and National Museums Liverpool.
"MA Exhibition Studies is the only degree of its kind in the UK to focus on the craft and culture of exhibitions. I look forward to working with students to develop new and engaging ways of curating, exhibiting and demonstrating the value of art."
Sally Tallant, Director, Liverpool Biennial
Discover the building blocks of your programme
Your programme is made up of a number of core modules which are part of the course framework. Some programmes also have optional modules that can be selected to enhance your learning in certain areas and many feature a dissertation, extended report or research project to demonstrate your advanced learning.
Studio Practice (Exhibition Studies)
Studio Practice is a subject specific module, allowing for the understanding of practice and research methodologies relevant to Exhibition Studies. It provides an opportunity to share, investigate and contextualise experiences of exhibition making and aims to:
- introduce you to the professional practice of exhibition making
- develop awareness of the core practices, models, and challenges of exhibition making
- provide you with technical and critical skills and methodologies relevant to the enhancement of your practice
- analyse and critically evaluate exhibitionary practices, histories and strategies through specific exhibition case studies
Research and Practice 1
This module is shared by all students studying on taught postgraduate programmes at Liverpool School of Art and Design and allows you to collaborate across programmes.
- A series of lectures, seminars, tutorials and visits will introduce you to current and emerging practice in relation to a diverse range of historical, theoretical and critical principles
- Guest lecturers will expose you to areas of collaboration
- Seminars and tutorials will require you to share, discuss and evaluate your ideas and practice with others
Research & Practice 2 (Exhibition Studies)
Significant historic exhibitions, together with key readings, will form the core syllabus of Research & Practice 2 (Exhibition Studies). It aims to:
- deepen the practice of exhibition research
- introduce the histories and practices of exhibition-making
You will have the opportunity to work closely with internal partners within the School of Art and Design, the wider LJMU academic community or external partners in the UK and internationally. Through key partnerships you will engage with a range of collaborative projects which challenge the notion of the interdisciplinary practice within the context of contemporary art and design and which enable you to propose, plan, organise, publish and promote your work within the context of an external body.
- Guest lecturers will expose you to areas of collaboration
- This module is shared by all students studying on taught postgraduate programmes at Liverpool School of Art and Design and allows you to collaborate across programmes
Major Project (Exhibition Studies)
This module encourages you to engage, more broadly, in active learning and to reflect on and identify further intellectual development and training needs. It enables you to:
- conduct an extended independent research project
- identify appropriate topics and research questions, analyse and structure research material, develop cogent arguments, sustain an enquiry over a lengthy period of time and organise a lengthy piece of writing
An insight into teaching on your course
Your studies commence with a full timetable of seminars as you get to grips with your MA and the school-wide collaborative practice module. The main study days for the majority of your MA are Tuesday and Friday with a full week of preparation for the School-wide Masters degree show in April/May.
The programme is underpinned by the work of the Exhibition Research Lab. It draws on the internationally distinguished expertise of staff and visiting staff engaged in theoretical and applied research in the field of exhibitions studies and curating. There is also collaboration with key cultural local and national institutions.
Operating in close partnership with Tate Liverpool, Liverpool Biennial, FACT (Foundation for Creative Art and Technology) and RIBA North (Royal Institute of British Architects), we can offer our students opportunities to develop public presentations, curatorial projects, and exhibitions in real-life contexts.
How learning is monitored on your programme
To cater for the wide-ranging content of our courses and the varied learning preferences of our students, we offer a range of assessment methods on each programme. Assessment techniques vary from module to module to reflect relevant assessment approaches and the key learning points of each topic.
You will be assessed by: coursework, written essays, reports, oral presentations, projects and evaluations. The major project will comprise a written dissertation or practical project (thesis exhibition) and a written report. In most modules, more than one piece of assessment is required. Programme assessment seeks to replicate professional curatorial and exhibition practice.
Our staff are committed to the highest standards of teaching and learning
Dr Michael Birchall holds a collaborative post with Tate Liverpool where he is Curator of Public Practice. This allows for collaborative research and curatorial projects to manifest in the museum, while at the same time enriching his teaching at the university. His academic research and curatorial practice spans contemporary art, socially engaged art, artistic labour and exhibition histories from the 1960s onwards. Prior to joining the university, he held curatorial appointments internationally in Canada and Germany, and lectured on the curating programme at the Zurich University of the Arts.
The development of the students throughout the year is incredible, you can really see how much the course enriches their knowledge of the subject, in particular when they take on an area of specialism and use this for their final project. One of the most delightful aspects is seeing the students perform well when they start working in museums and galleries, then I feel like I’ve prepared them well for the cultural sector.
What you can expect from your School
You will need:
- a minimum 2:1 in a visual arts-related subject (non standard applications and those without a degree will be assessed on the basis of experience)
- a reference
- to attend an interview
- to be able to demonstrate the ability to benefit from and contribute to the programme
- IELTS English language requirement: 6.5 (minimum 5.5 in each component)
- Pearson requirements: 58-64 (minimum 51 in each component for UKVI Purposes)
- RPL is accepted on this programme
If you have any specific queries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Application and selection
Securing your place at LJMU
You will apply for the majority of postgraduate courses using our online application form. You should complete the form thoroughly and provide a detailed personal statement which reflects your suitability and aptitude for the programme.
Short-listed applicants will be invited to attend an interview. Whilst we do recommend an interview on campus (to meet with staff and see our facilities), Skype interviews are available if you are unable to come to Liverpool. The interview will assess your suitability for the programme and provide you and the interview panel with the opportunity to gain further information.
During your interview you will need to provide evidence of your learning capability, study opportunity and commitment to a postgraduate programme of study.
The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.
Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.