About your course
Exhibition Studies is a postgraduate degree that engages with the exhibition formats, through a theoretical and practical understanding of what constitutes an exhibition in the 21st century. The curriculum focuses on exhibition histories from 1850 onwards; where students are encouraged to apply there own expertise; as well as studio practice, to develop research topics through project-based learning.
- Full time one year, part time two years
- Supported by internationally renowned arts organisations, including Liverpool Biennial, Tate Liverpool, FACT, RIBA North and Aarhus University, Denmark
- Benefit directly from the degree's links to the Exhibition Research Lab and a range of international collaborations and partnerships developed by staff
- Offers best practice and the very latest in innovative forms of exhibition and curatorial practices
- Students can apply for the prestigious Susan Cotton Travel Awards and a range of other study bursaries available
- The School of Art and Design offers a unique collaborative environment for postgraduate students. VIDEO: Hear about postgraduate research from the Director of School
MA Exhibition Studies is the only degree of its kind in the UK to focus on the craft and culture of exhibitions, and the Biennial is fully supportive of its aims. I am proud to be an advisor on the programme and I look forward to working with students to advance their knowledge and to develop new and engaging ways of curating, exhibiting and demonstrating the value of art.
Introduction to the School
Liverpool School of Art and Design has a dynamic interdisciplinary culture which supports interaction between staff and students, within and across subject areas.
In the 2014 REF, 85% of research submitted by Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory at LJMU was either recognised internationally, or considered as internationally excellent. This research helps ensure that our postgraduate courses are positioned at the leading edge of developments in the field and that you have an opportunity to study alongside leading experts.
Research is organised thematically to bring together disciplines and exploit their methods to address issues of significance and concern to the broader culture of the city and beyond. Our internationally excellent research informs our curriculum and underpins our teaching, and all our staff, including Readers and Professors, are involved in the day-to-day delivery of undergraduate as well as postgraduate and research programmes.
- contemporary art and design practice
- international art
- sound and the visual arts
- art history
- exhibition studies
- art and creative technologies
- environmental art
- contemporary printmaking
- urban architecture
We are also particularly interested in interdisciplinary methodologies.
Why study this course at LJMU?
The programme is located at the School of Art and Design, the oldest art school in the UK outside of London, originally established in 1825 as the Liverpool Mechanics’ School of Art Institute.
Today the School is housed in the RIBA award winning John Lennon Art and Design Building and offers extensive studio spaces, lecture theatres and a dedicated public exhibition space. Liverpool is a thriving city of culture and the perfect place to study the art of exhibitions, as the city has a thriving arts and exhibition culture. With close links to local and international arts organisations, this unique programme of study focuses on the history and practice of exhibition culture, allowing you to specialise in diverse fields of design, art, fashion and crafts.The programme focuses on the history and practice of exhibition culture, and specifically on the mediation of curatorial projects in galleries and museums, biennials and other survey exhibitions.
You will be studying under the direction of a variety of leading thinkers in contemporary arts, with input from visiting professors and advisors.
Permenent staff members include:
Dr Michael Birchall is Senior Lecturer in Exhibition Studies and Curator of Public Practice at Tate Liverpool. He is currently engaged in research around socially engaged art, community art, curatorial practice and theory, exhibition histories from the 1960s onwards, and new forms of creative labour in the arts, and would welcome PhD researchers in these areas. An academic of international standing he has also spoken in North America, Europe and Australia. He is curating multiple projects at Tate Exchange in Liverpool; and is steering Tate Liverpool's Research Centre in Curatorial Practice and Museology.
Professor Joasia Krysa, is Director of Exhibition Research Lab at Liverpool John Moores University, with a joint appointment at Liverpool Biennial. In 2016 she was awarded an Honorary Associate Professorship at Aarhus University, Denmark. Previously she was Artistic Director of Kunsthal Aarhus in Denmark (2012-15) and served as part of curatorial team for DOCUMENTA 13 and Liverpool Biennial 2016. Her research and curatorial practice is located across contemporary art, digital culture and critical theory, with a distinctive research expertise in the intersection of curating and computation.
Programme outline and structure
The programme is underpinned by the work of the Exhibition Research Lab. It draws upon the internationally distinguished expertise of staff and visiting staff engaged in theoretical and applied research in the field of exhibitions studies and curating, in collaboration with key cultural local and international 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.
In addition, the programme benefits from the context of our own Exhibition Research Lab Gallery located at the School Art and Design John Lennon Building; LJMU Library, Special Collections and Archives (including Liverpool Biennial Archives) as well as a range of international collaborations and partnerships developed by staff.
Teaching on the programme is delivered within the studio environment, with a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops, study visits and field trips.
What you will study on this degree
Please see guidance below on core modules for further information on what you will study.
- Exhibition Studio Practice (Exhibition Studies)
You will be introduced to the professional practice of exhibition making during this module. It provides an opportunity to share, investigate and contextualise experiences of exhibition making. The module is assessed through a portfolio of written work and related documentation, presentation of exhibition proposal, and a viva
- Research and Practice 1
This shared module for all Liverpool School of Art and Design taught postgraduate programmes provides an introduction to practice-based research, history and theory as applied to the wider field of Art and Design. It will introduce you to a variety of research methods and skills and offers an exploration of the diversity of contemporary practice at the forefront of the represented disciplines
- Research and Practice 2
You will be introduced to the field of Exhibition Studies through the study of significant historic exhibitions with key contextual readings. You will be introduced to various case study examples to test and develop ideas for the written assignment through analysis, discussion and reflection. The module introduces the histories and practices of exhibition-making and develops your interpretative theoretical and discursive skills. It offers a critical environment within which you can develop the skills necessary to debate and critically evaluate exhibition studies
- Collaborative Practice
An exciting shared module for all Liverpool School of Art and Design taught postgraduate programmes which will provide you with an opportunity to work closely with departments and internal partners within the School and the wider LJMU community, and with external partners in the UK and internationally. Outcomes should include proposals for applied creative projects and demonstrable practice based artefacts relevant for exhibition purposes. An emphasis will be placed on you furthering the understanding of your chosen pathways within the programme and developing professional links and experience in disseminating work to the public/professional bodies
- Major Project – Exhibition Studies
You will undertake and complete a sustained research project in the field of Exhibition Studies on a topic agreed with the module supervisor. Building on advanced skills in practice, research and scholarship assessed at Certificate and Diploma modules, you will identify, research, and organise a significant piece of scholarly writing or undertake a practical project. Both options are undertaken with the support and advice provided through general, small-group, and tutorial meetings. The module is assessed through a written dissertation or practical project (thesis exhibition) accompanied by a written report.
Further guidance on modules
The information listed in the section entitled 'What you will study' is an overview of the academic content of the programme that will take the form of either core or option modules. Modules are designated as core or option in accordance with professional body requirements and internal Academic Framework review, so may be subject to change. Students will be required to undertake modules that the University designates as core and will have a choice of designated option modules. Additionally, option modules may be offered subject to meeting minimum student numbers.
Please email email@example.com if you require further guidance or clarification.
How will I be assessed?
You will be assessed by a range of methods as you progress through the degree.
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.
Staff research interests
The programme is taught by curators and academics with embedded posts in the region's most significant arts and cultural organisations.
Programme leader, Dr Michael Birchall, holds a collaborative post with Tate Liverpool, where he is curator of public practice; and Prof. Joasia Krysa holds a collaborate post with Liverpool Biennial.
Exhibition Studies is uniquely based in Liverpool where it draws upon a range of museums and cultural institutions for teaching, research and internship opportunities.
Exhibition Research Lab The programme is part of the Exhibition Research Lab, which underpins the research and practice activity of the programme. This includes a series of conferences and visiting lectures in response to student interests: Lars Bang Larsen, co-curator Sao Paolo Biennial 2016; Eoin Dara, Head of Programmes, Dundee Contemporary Art; Francesco Manacorda, Artistic Director, Tate Liverpool; Sally Tallant, Director, Liverpool Biennial; Jacob Lund and Geoff Cox, Co-directors The Contemporary Condition, Aarhus University, Juliana Engberg, Artistic Director, European Capital of Culture Aarhus 2017, Denmark; Koyo Kouoh, Director Raw Material Company, Dakar.
Entry requirements (Home)
Our philosophy enables us to accept a wide range of applicants.
All candidates must be able to demonstrate the ability to benefit from and contribute to the programme. Although most applicants will be graduates, the fact that candidates may not have a degree is not necessarily a bar to entry. Applications from non-standard applicants are welcomed. The Programme Leader will make a decision on whether to admit the candidate on the basis of experience.
Applications to masters study within Exhibition Studies will normally be considered in the light of the candidate's ability to meet the following criteria:
1. Generally applicants should have a 2:1 or above degree in a visual arts related subject. Appropriate indicators will include references, academic transcripts or their equivalent.
2. The applicant must demonstrate a sufficient level of knowledge to embark upon the programme (including the required linguistic competence) and to complete the programme within the required time limits.
3. Applicants should provide evidence, in the view of the assessors, of the learning capability, study opportunity and commitment to a postgraduate programme of study.
Where English is not a first language, an IELTS score of 6.5 must be achieved, with a minimum of 5.5 in each component.
Applications from non-standard applicants are welcomed. In exceptional circumstances applications for entry will be considered in light of other abilities and experiences that they may be able to evidence. In such circumstances applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have the appropriate knowledge and skills to degree standard.
On receipt of an application to the programme the Faculty Admissions Team will email applicants requesting a 500 word outline. The outline should highlight why the applicant wishes to undertake this particular programme of study, their relevant background and experience and the special field of interest within the subject they would like to pursue.
Short-listed applicants will be invited to attend interview on campus. Whilst we do recommend that you attend interview on campus (to meet with staff and see our facilities), Skype interviews can be arranged should you be unable to come to Liverpool. The purpose of the interview is to assess your suitability for the above programme and give yourself and the interview panel, an opportunity to gain further information.
Entry requirements (International)
LJMU welcomes applications from international students. In addition to normal entry requirements, you will be expected to demonstrate a very good level of English language competence, for example an IELTS score of 6.0-6.5 or equivalent. Please note: specific courses may require higher levels of English language competence.
If you have applied to study a full-time taught Masters, MRes, MPhil or PhD at LJMU, you should check if you require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme or ATAS certificate. It can take four to six weeks to receive an ATAS certificate, so please make sure you apply as early as possible. You can find out more on the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website. Alternatively, contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team for guidance.
Please note: international students entering on a Tier 4 visa cannot study part time. Students entering the UK on alternate types of visa may be in a position to study part time. Please contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team for further details before making your application.
In order to obtain a visa you will also need to show evidence that the money required to cover your tuition fees and living expenses has been in your bank account for at least 28 days prior to submitting your visa application. So please make sure that your finances are in place before applying. For more details, go to our international website.
For advice on any aspect of the application process, please contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team.
Application and selection
You will need to provide evidence at an interview of your learning capabilities and commitment to a postgraduate programme of study.
Yes. Overseas applicants or applicants unable to attend interview at LJMU may be invited to attend a Skype interview.
6.5 (Minimum of 5.5 in each component)
58-64 (Min. 51 in each component for UKVI Purposes)
Please Note: All international qualifications are subject to a qualification equivalency check via NARIC.
All full and part-time students enrolled on postgraduate taught programmes at LJMU are liable to pay an annual tuition fee. You can opt to pay your tuition fees in full at the start of each academic year or pay by instalments. If you need advice about how you will pay your tuition fees, please email to LJMU’s Student Funding Team as soon as possible.
Sources of funding
Bursaries and study awards
Applications for this year’s scholarships have closed. Details for the 2018 scholarships will be available soon.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org after being formally offered a place on a Masters programme in the School of Art and Design.
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 £1,400 and two International Awards of £2,200. 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.
Postgraduate loans for students from England, Wales and the EU
Postgraduate Masters loans are available for those studying in the 2017/18 academic year. The new government loans, of up to £10,280, are available for students attending eligible full and part-time Masters courses. To be eligible part time courses need to be studied at 50% intensity. Personal Eligibility is based on your age, your residency and if you have studied at Masters level previously.
Loan repayments will begin the April after course completion, with the first cohort of borrowers commencing repayments in April 2019. Repayments will be made at a rate of 6% of income above an earning threshold of £21,000. This threshold will be frozen until 2021. For details of loan terms, conditions and eligibility, go to:-
Postgraduate Loans for students from Northern Ireland
The Northern Irish government is also introducing a loan for students commencing postgraduate study from September 2017 onwards. Unlike the loan for students from England and Wales this scheme offers a loan for tuition fees only with no funding available from the NI government for living costs. The loan for tuition fees will be paid direct to LJMU.
The maximum loan for those starting in 2017 is £5,500 per course. Please note this means in some instances the loan will not cover your tuition fees in full and you will need to make alternative arrangements to pay the balance as well as source funding for your living costs.
LJMU Alumni Award
Alumni of the University are eligible to apply for a 20% reduction in their postgraduate tuition fees if they choose to progress onto a higher degree programme at LJMU. Both Home and international LJMU students and alumni can apply for this award (subject to eligibility criteria*).
Postgraduate International Scholarships
LJMU offers scholarships for international applicants accepted onto taught masters programmes (excluding distance learning programmes) and research degrees. Current LJMU international students and alumni interested in pursuing postgraduate study and research at the University are eligible to apply for these scholarships along with new applicants.
English for Postgraduate Studies Bursary
A Bursary is also available for international students who need to improve their IELTS score prior to enrolling on their postgraduate course or research programme at the University. This course is run by LJMU’s International Study Centre.
Earn while you Learn
Working while you study means you may be able to pay for your course without taking out any further loans or at least reducing the amount you need to borrow. Working while you study also gives you the skills valued by employers, such as managing your workload and prioritising your time.
LJMU’s Vacancy website can help you find graduate vacancies, sandwich/industrial placements, internships / summer work, part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities and work-based learning placements. Over 1,000 local and regional employers regularly list opportunities on the website.
Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDL)
Many students fund their postgraduate studies via Professional and Career Development Loans. This is a bank loan which you will have to pay back once you’ve completed the course. However, while you are studying any interest on the loan will be paid for you by the Skills Funding Agency. PCDLs worth between £300 and £10,000 are available for eligible postgraduates to fund up to two years of study (three if the course includes work experience). The loan is split into course fees and living costs.
Some organisations and companies fund the cost of postgraduate studies for their employees as they recognise the value of having well qualified staff. Check out our courses and see if there are any on offer that could enhance your current career. Remember, employer support doesn’t always have to be financial; it can take other forms too, such as flexible working arrangements, day release and time in lieu of study.
Support for disabled students
Disabled Students’ Allowances or DSAs are designed to help meet the extra course costs students can face as a direct result of a disability, on-going health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty. DSAs don’t have to be paid back and the type of support you receive will be determined by your specific needs not your household income. Please contact LJMU’s Disability team for further advice: 0151 231 3164/3165.
Council tax exemption
All full-time postgraduate students studying courses lasting one year or more are eligible for a council tax exemption certificate.
Graduates of 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. Some students have pursued their research interests and gone on to PhD research.
The ambition of the programme is to offer best practice in exhibition formulation and to prepare graduates to be leading researchers in exhibition histories, exhibition cultures, curatorial practice, and innovative forms of display that allow visitors to think about exhibitions in new ways, while working across diverse industries and fields of practice.
International applicants are required to demonstrate equivalent qualifications to the standard requirements for entry when applying for courses at LJMU.
Students must also demonstrate a proficiency in communicating through English, for example via an IELTS tests or equivalent.
Please note: UK visa restrictions mean that international students are only permitted to study on a full-time basis.
Please contact LJMU’s International Team by visiting www.ljmu.ac.uk/international for more information and advice.
LJMU has launched a range of generous international scholarships for students enrolling at the University.
These prestigious scholarships take the form of tuition fee waivers and are available for outstanding international students applying for taught postgraduate programmes and research degrees.
You will need to complete an additional application form in order to be considered for these scholarships. Full eligibility criteria and the online application form are available here: www.ljmu.ac.uk/international
Applications for these scholarships are welcomed from:
- new international applicants
- current LJMU international students hoping to progress onto postgraduate study at the University
- LJMU international alumni
The University may make changes to a programme of study or module where 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.
Further guidance on programme changes