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The basics
Australia: Subject Guides

Master of Art Curating at University of Sydney (AUS)

Master of Art Curating at the University of Sydney is a new course.

Think back to when you were younger and you went on school trips to the museum: did you ever wonder how the people who led your group around and spoke about the exhibits, knew so much?

It’s likely that they took a course similar to the Master of Art Curating. We say similar because if you live in Australia, this is the first of its kind and has just been introduced by the University of Sydney. But there are many more opportunities available to a graduate than simply working in a museum, if you choose to go down this route.

Annamarie Jagose and Jacqueline Milner gave us a preview of their new course:


What one aspect of the course you teach do you personally look forward to each year, and why?

'The thing I am most looking forward to in the new Master of Art Curating is seeing the students interact with practising artists and engage with real-life exhibition spaces. This opportunity makes our course unique. Students will be able to actually curate an exhibition, from theoretical conceptualisation, to studio visits, to installation, all the way through to the vernissage.'


Tell us a bit about the faculty or staff in the department, and where they come from.

'The people teaching into the Masters of Art Curating actively contribute to the contemporary art scene as writers, curators and artists. Among them are curators with many years’ experience as directors of contemporary art centres, emerging curators who currently head up artist-run and pop-up spaces, and art critics who have helped define the field of contemporary art in Australia.'


What are the benefits of studying this course at this particular university? 

'The course offers a unique balance of the traditional and the contemporary. It is based at Australia’s oldest university that has an international reputation in art historical research, but is co-taught by the university’s art school, Sydney College of the Arts, that is a key player in the contemporary art scene. The university is located in the creative heart of Sydney, in the midst of both established and emerging galleries and museums that provide a rich environment for curating students. Sydney is also very well located for engaging with the rapidly growing Asia-Pacific contemporary art network.'


Why is it an exciting time (socially, historically or culturally) for prospective students to move into your field?

'Curatorial studies is both an emergent field of scholarly research and a burgeoning professional field, with the rapid growth of galleries, museums and blockbuster exhibitions in the Asia-Pacific region. In very recent times, curators have come to be recognised as key contributors to cultural knowledge through their interpretation of art and artefacts for the public.'


Can you give a few examples of the roles and positions which graduates have gone onto? As well as those you might expect, are there any unusual directions which graduates have gone in, or unorthodox ways they have applied their qualification?

'The graduates of our course move into key roles as curators, scholars, and directors of cultural organisations. They also practice their entrepreneurship by initiating their own curatorial projects or setting up their own art enterprises. This might include running an arts festival or pop-up gallery, or curating a major exhibition.'

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