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Course options

  • Qualification

    PhD/DPhil - Doctor of Philosophy

  • Location

    Colchester Campus

  • Study mode

    Full time

  • Start date

    OCT

  • Duration

    4 years

Course summary

The premise underlying this PhD is that exhibitions constitute one of the most important platforms for sharing research – a platform that may be complemented by rigorous written research, but one that reaches audiences and makes arguments not possible through writing alone.

As part of the PhD Curating, you investigate a topic of your choosing. This topic may relate to the history and theory of curating. However, you can also explore other facets of visual culture, opting instead to use curating as the vehicle for presenting your research. Regardless of your topic, you critically assess the impact of your research, both on the history of visual culture and on contemporary discourses concerning the production, distribution and reception of exhibitions.

The practical dimension of this PhD enables you to develop your skills as a curator. To this end, you will conceive of an exhibition from start to finish, with key deliverables that include: preparing a preliminary curatorial plan of your chosen exhibition project; finding a venue; implementing a promotional plan; developing an education programme; preparing the different components of the exhibition; organising shipping; mounting and installing artworks or other objects on display (some or all of which may be loans); and, finally, presenting your exhibition to the public. If needed, you may gain professional art-handling training and further hands-on experience, which we can arrange through our ties to both university-managed and external galleries.

Alongside this practical project, you will also prepare a thesis that serves two ends: first, to explore your research question in greater detail than the exhibition itself would allow; and second, to provide a critical commentary on the process of developing your exhibition. The final degree is awarded based on an assessment of both the exhibition and the thesis.

Tuition fees

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University information

University of Essex

  • University League Table

    41st

  • Campus address

    University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex, CO4 3SQ, England

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