Who is this for?
The Curatorial Studies programme at Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten / Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) of University College Ghent is an intensive one-year English-language postgraduate course aimed at applicants with an MA in the arts, humanities or sciences and a keen interest in contemporary art. Established in 1999, KASK’s Curatorial Studies is the only programme in Belgium and a leading curatorial programme in Europe. On this course students become familiar with contemporary exhibition practices across a variety of contexts, from museums and foundations to artist-run and independent spaces. Curatorial Studies at KASK stands out among comparable European and American programmes for the breadth of skills it covers, from conservation and exhibition history/theory to collection building and public mediation. Through this programme, students are equipped to excel in the curatorial field, in its practical as well as theoretical applications.
What will you be studying?
Curatorial Studies at KASK considers curation – from the latin ‘cura’, to care for – to be a vital link between cultural production and the wider social sphere. In this expanded definition the curatorial crosses the entire spectrum of cultural production, from historical and artistic research to the documentation and archives of displays and the organisation of events. At KASK, Curatorial Studies students are confronted with the diverse possibilities of the curatorial – from the collection, conservation and study of modern and contemporary art to developing news ways of making art public through on- and off-line displays, publications, pedagogical, social and performative projects.
KASK’s Curatorial Studies programme not only encourages students to develop their personal curatorial practice through the making of exhibitions, publications and events – with a final project acting as a culmination point – it also lays emphasis on the history and theory of exhibitions. Through a mix of lectures, seminars, workshops and independent research, students become conversant with the most up-to-date debates within the contemporary curatorial field, particularly as these intersect with social, political and ethical issues. Drawing on Ghent’s exceptional cultural history and present-day resources as well as its proximity to major European cities, the programme comprises a number of behind-the-scenes visits to key art institutions in Belgium and in neighbouring countries. The students’ experience is further enhanced by regular talks by prominent international speakers, including curators but also museum directors, artists, writers and theorists.
All KASK Curatorial Studies lecturers are research-active and recognised in their areas of specialisation, as conservation specialists, mediators, curators, and scholars. This expertise allows for an immersive experience, where students are immediately put into contact with real-world situations and professional challenges. Since the programme is formally affiliated with the University of Ghent and the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art, Ghent (S.M.A.K.), students enjoy access to worldclass research and museum resources within walking distance of the KASK campus.
Thanks to the extensive knowledge and contacts acquired during the programme, students (re)enter the professional field in a position of strength. The programme’s alumni/ae find employment in the artistic sector upon graduation, including in museums, galleries, non-profit art spaces, governmental cultural agencies, biennials, artist studios, magazines and, not least, academia. Moreover, given the long history of the programme, Curatorial Studies graduates benefit from a large network of alumni/ae who remain active within the cultural field.
The programme is English spoken.