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 postgraduate curatorial programme in Belgium, benefitting from a unique partnership between KASK, the University of Ghent, and the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art, Ghent (S.M.A.K.). On this course students become familiar with contemporary exhibition practices across a variety of contexts, such as museums, foundations, artist-run spaces and commissioning agencies. Curatorial Studies at KASK stands out among comparable European and North 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 touches the entire spectrum of cultural production, including historical and artistic research, documentation and archival projects, and the organisation of public 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 new ways of making art public through on- and off-line displays, publications, pedagogical, social and performative interventions.
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 resources, as well as its proximity to major European cities, the programme comprises 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 speakers.
All KASK Curatorial Studies staff members 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. Thanks to the programme’s structural partnership with the University of Ghent and S.M.A.K., students enjoy access to world-class research and museum resources within walking distance of the KASK campus.
Equipped with the extensive knowledge and contacts acquired during the programme, students (re)enter the professional field in a position of strength. The programme’s alumnae/i find employment in the artistic sector upon graduation, 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 taught in English.