• Whitechapel Gallery - Elmgreen & Dragset-public pv_Dan Weill Photography-7
  • Whitechapel Gallery Nocturnal Creatures, London, United Kingdom - 21 July 2018
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  • Whitechapel Gallery Nocturnal Creatures, London, United Kingdom - 21 July 2018
  • Whitechapel Gallery Guerrilla Girls Commission Is it even worse in Europe (2016) c
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  • Performance Helen Cammock Che Si Puo Fare_Dan Weill Photography-93 (60)
  • Killed Negatives_WG_photo -® Justyna Fedec_3

A unique opportunity for curators to dive into an immersive one-year programme in an internationally renowned public contemporary art gallery in association with London South Bank University.


This distinctive Masters of Arts programme offers a one-of-a-kind, integrative experience in working in the field of contemporary art, developing exhibitions and multi-disciplinary and inclusive public programmes. Students are introduced to specialised aspects of curatorial practice through dedicated lectures and workshops delivered by established industry professionals, including sessions exploring themes such as Commissioning Contemporary Art, Writing about Contemporary Art, Navigating the Art World, Curating Archives and Museums and their Ethics.

Our integrated theory-into-practice approach and the intensive learning environment of this course provides a full range of creative tools for future employment in the cultural sector. Candidates enter the professional field with practical knowledge and a strong global vision as they are placed in professional networks from the outset.

Programme highlights:

  • Access to Whitechapel Gallery and its staff, the UK’s leading public gallery for contemporary art, renowned for its pioneering exhibitions since 1901.
  • First-hand exposure to the devising, researching and implementation of art exhibitions and public programmes.
  • Insight into a wide range of curatorial strands such as commissioning art and new media, curating archives, curating public and private collections, emerging artists’ and writers’ residencies and curating solo and group exhibitions.
  • Gain cultural awareness and critical understanding of all aspects of working in an art institution, including developing communications and fundraising strategies in a vibrant international environment.
  • Attain the practical, intellectual and critical skills required for a competitive field, through hands-on, behind-the-scenes experience with Whitechapel Gallery’s rich networks of curators, artists, critics and academics.
  • Free access to the Whitechapel Gallery’s diverse programme of public talks and events.
  • Free access to numerous museums and galleries across the UK and abroad that are part of the Whitechapel Gallery’s network.


Deadlines and Dates

Course Dates

This one-year, full-time course starts in January 2021.
Full programme details are available on the London South Bank University website.


Applications are now open for January 2021 start.

There is no deadline to apply but spaces are limited. A high level of interest is expected in this one-year course; prospective students are encouraged to submit an online application by 31 October 2020.

Please note: Applications from students who need a Tier 4 visa are currently under revision. Students from the EU must be officially domiciled in the UK by December 31st 2020 at 11 am.

Apply here


Interviews will be conducted in November 2020. LSBU will notify candidates and confirm the exact dates and times.

Apply Now
View the full programme details




For specific course enquiries contact the Programme Administrator at  MAadministration@whitechapelgallery.org.

For enrolment and other enquiries contact London South Bank University at  course.enquiry@lsbu.ac.uk


Survival toolkit for the Creative Industries (10 credits)

This module supports and expands students’ learning by introducing them to current concepts, debates and practices in the field of arts management. It builds students’ professional practice capabilities and explores core literature from the field of arts management, combining theoretical and critical approaches.

Working in the art world (10 credits)

Focusing on different aspects of the visual arts and public programmes, this module offers a range of dedicated workshops, covering the implementation of various curatorial strands and the professional practice of curating. Workshops include Copyright in Art, Commissioning Contemporary Art, Writing about Contemporary Art, Navigating the Art World, Curating Archives and The Museum and its Ethics. Delivered by distinguished professionals from the UK and abroad.

Exhibition Making (20 credits)

The module provides students with robust methodological approaches from designing to delivering exhibitions within an institution and beyond. Using the Whitechapel Gallery as a case study, students are introduced to all aspects of curating in the expanded field of an institution – from front-of-house operations to communications, from fundraising and administration to exhibition delivery. Closely examining the institutional context, the module considers the Gallery’s programme and processes through the respective Department Heads that, as guest speakers, share first-hand experience about exhibition-making today.

Themes in Contemporary Art (10 credits)

Key theoretical frameworks and writings that influence and respond to current practices in contemporary art and culture are examined. Students develop the skills around the research methodologies necessary to undertake and complete their own small-scale research projects. Relationships between theory and practice are explored within an overarching art historical narrative, focused on themes considered in art writing.

Exhibition Histories (10 credits)

A selected survey of the history of exhibitions and displays is presented through contextual lectures and a series of case studies. These might focus on a single exhibition, a group of exhibitions on a theme, or an aspect of exhibition and display history. Covering a range of exhibitions from across the globe, from European Academy exhibitions in the 18th and 19th centuries, through to African festivals of the 1970s, the module’s context will be broad, taking in examples from beyond the Western canon and with an expanded notion of art practice including crafts, film, performance, textiles and fashion.

Engaging the Public (20 credits)

An introduction to the overall strategy and working methodologies across art, public programming and curatorial practice, the practice of public programming is analysed and discussed within the context of curating and audience engagement in various institutional and geographic contexts.

Relaying first-hand information about the concepts, responsibilities and factors underpinning the making of public programmes, the module considers distinct models of engagement and asks questions about their relevance in relation to local and global audiences.

Professional Placement (60 credits)

An extensive placement is offered at the Whitechapel Gallery exclusively for students on this MA course. A unique theory-into-practice-led opportunity to critically assess established categories of curating in a real-life practical environment, it constitutes the practical ‘backbone’ of the programme. Students gain invaluable experience of the inner workings of a cultural organisation and apply the knowledge, understanding and skillset acquired through this course within a practical, embedded, real-life context.

A post will be offered in one of the Gallery’s departments, to work with professionals across the Gallery for 2 days per week (7.5 hours per day) over a period of 20 weeks, accruing 300 hours of work-based learning that equips students with vocational experience to develop key professional skills essential for work in the cultural sector.

Practical project: Exhibition or Public Programme (40 credits)

This module enables students to engage in an extended creative project centered around their individual areas of practice, creative interests and research concerns. Students will work in small groups of 3-4 and will be given the option of developing an exhibition or a Public Programme relating to the exhibition. Students will work collaboratively in teams. Emphasis will be on co-working practices and on the concept of combined creativity. Working under the supervision of Whitechapel Gallery staff with support from LSBU’s academic staff, students create original projects that are fully aligned with their intended audience.

Students are expected to produce work that demonstrates advanced knowledge and understanding of the relevant issues and debates within the context of their chosen practice. The processes mirror those in professional project development and encompass elements of research, pitching an idea, working to a brief, issues of intellectual property, image rights, press and marketing, fundraising, networking and relationship building, evaluation and other entrepreneurial and professional aspects of curating exhibitions and public programmes.

Teaching Staff

Iwona Blazwick, OBE

Iwona Blazwick has been Director of the Whitechapel Gallery, London since 2001 and is a curator, critic and lecturer. Formerly at Tate Modern and London’s ICA, as well as being an independent curator in Europe and Japan; recent curatorial projects include William Kentridge: Thick Time (2016), Thomas Ruff Photographs 1979-2017 (2017), Mark Dion: Theatre of the Natural World (2018) and Michael Rakowitz (2019) at the Whitechapel Gallery, Carlos Bunga: The Architecture of Life at MAAT, Lisbon (2019), The Palace at 4am a group show at the Archaeological Museum Mykonos (2019) and Sight a solo show with Antony Gormley and the Neon Foundation on the Island of Delos (2019). Blazwick has written monographs and articles on many contemporary artists, published extensively on themes and movements in modern and contemporary art, exhibition histories and art institutions, and is series editor of Whitechapel Gallery/MIT Documents of Contemporary Art.

Nayia Yiakoumaki

Nayia Yiakoumaki PhD, is Curator and Head of Curatorial studies at Whitechapel Gallery UK, where she developed an innovative programme of research exhibitions based on the use of archives.

Yiakoumaki annually devises the NEON Curatorial Exchange & Award, an initiative which fosters professional relationships for emerging curators, founded by NEON organization and delivered by the Whitechapel Gallery. From 2016-2017 Yiakoumaki co-directed the Athens Biennale organisation as Director of Research and International Networks. Yiakoumaki sits on the committees of the museum board for Wroclaw Contemporary, Poland; Women’s Art Library, London; Committee Art Design Archives (CADA); London and is a Trustee at Matt’s Gallery, London.

Yiakoumaki has conceived a number of successful exhibitions and commissions, including John Latham: Anarchive (2010), Rothko in Britain (2012), Aspen Magazine: 1965-1971 (2012), Black Eyes & Lemonade: Curating Popular Art (2013), Stephen Willats: Concerning Our Present Way of Living (2014), Intellectual Barbarians: The Kibbo Kift Kindred (2015-2016), Imprint 93 (2016), Guerrilla Girls: Is it even worse in Europe? (2016-2017), Killed Negatives: Unseen Images of 1930s America (2018), Staging Jackson Pollock (2018), Andreas Lolis: Prosaic Origins (2018) and the recently realized Queer Spaces: London, 1980s – Today (2019), The Return of the Spirit in Painting (2020).

Sofia Victorino

Sofia Victorino is the Daskalopoulos Director of Education and Public Programmes at the Whitechapel Gallery leading a programme of artists’ residencies and commissions; community projects; public programmes, performance and film. Previously Head of Education and Public Programmes at Serralves Museum of Contemporary art, Porto (2002-2011), her research interests focus on art, peformativity and social practice. Selected curatorial projects and commissions included artists Mikhail Karikis (2018), Emanuel Almborg (2017), Samson Kambalu (2016), Rivane Neuenschwander (2015), Luke Fowler and Mark Fell (2015), Peter Liversidge (2015), Bart Lodewijks (2014-15), Francis Upritchard (2014), Fraser Muggeridge (2014), Heather and Ivan Morison (2013), Theaster Gates (2013), Claire Pentecost (2013), and the collective Assemble (2017). Sofia is on the Advisory Committee for the William Townsend Memorial Lecture Series at the Slade School of Fine Art; and on the advisory board for the Documents of Contemporary Art series, co-published by Whitechapel Gallery and The MIT Press. She has lectured on the MA Curating the Contemporary (London Metropolitan University) and the MA in Contemporary Art and Education (Goldsmiths).

Lydia Yee

Lydia Yee has been Chief Curator at Whitechapel Gallery since 2015 where her most recent exhibitions include Radical Figures: Painting in the New Millennium (2020) and Is This Tomorrow? (2019). Her research interests include the intersection of art and social and cultural histories and cross-disciplinary practices in contemporary art. Yee has previously held curatorial positions at Barbican Art Gallery, London, and the Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York. She also co-curated British Art Show 8 (2015-16) and Frieze Talks (2018–19).

Janine Catalano

Janine Catalano has spent fifteen years in development in the art and higher education sector, having worked at the Courtauld Institute of Art, the Royal Academy, City & Guilds of London Art School and the University of Pennsylvania. Her experience encompasses relationship management, events and fundraising, working with stakeholders including alumni and patrons, corporate supporters, trusts and foundations and statutory funders. Additionally, Janine is an art historian with a particular interest in food in modern and contemporary art, and has taught, written and lectured on the subject, as well as designing and delivering culinary cultural events.

Jenny Lea 

Jenny Lea, Director of Communications, joined the Whitechapel Gallery in 2015 and has worked for 20 years in arts communications in London and internationally. Her experience spans both not-for-profit and commercial sectors, including The National Gallery, Tate and Phaidon Press. At the Whitechapel Gallery she leads the organisational audience development strategy and manages the Communications team who deliver all digital activity, media relations, advertising and design.

Geoff Cox

Geoff Cox, PhD, is Associate Professor at London South Bank University (from Sept 2019) and co-Director of the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image. He is also Associate Professor/Lektor in Digital Design and Information Studies at Aarhus University (DK), currently engaged (with Jacob Lund) on a research project The Contemporary Condition funded by The Danish Research Council. As part of this, he published _The Contemporary Condition: Introductory Thoughts on Contemporaneity and Contemporary Art_ (with Jacob Lund), the first in a series of small co-edited books published by Sternberg Press (2016-). He co-runs a yearly workshop in collaboration with transmediale festival for art&digitalculture in Berlin (2012-) and is co-editor of the associated open access online journal _APRJA_ (with Christian Ulrik Andersen), as well as series editor for the open access DATA browser book series published by Open Humanities Press (with Joasia Krysa). He has a research interest in software studies and contemporary aesthetics, expressed in numerous publications including _Speaking Code: coding as aesthetic and political expression_ published by MIT Press in 2013 (with Alex McLean), and is currently working on a multi-authored book project about live coding, a book on aesthetic programming (with Winnie Soon), and developing a research project on machine seeing with colleagues at University of Cambridge.


Whitechapel Gallery has run similar postgraduate programs in collaboration with other universities in recent years. Hear from past graduates:

The MA focused not only in aiding in the development of an independent curatorial practice, but also on building up the practical skills involved in all aspects of exhibition making. My work placement with the Whitechapel Gallery’s Archive and Exhibitions team was an incredible opportunity to understand the tasks to be performed in an institutional setting while providing many opportunities for network building. I feel I have gained a great amount of knowledge that contributed to my career development.

Ines Costa, Curatorial Assistant, Whitechapel Gallery

The course, through its excellent teaching, allowed for a deep understanding of art and exhibition histories as well as how this theory is carried through into the very real situation of making an exhibition, working with artists and producing catalogues. I gained a thorough understanding of the ecology of the art world, with its varied institutions and roles and was thus in a strong position to be able to apply for jobs immediately after the course. It was inspiring to be part of the Whitechapel Gallery even as a student and it definitely added to the availability of resource and knowledge.

Habda Rashid, Senior Curator, Create London