Students from other programmes are welcome to enroll in this course. Students registered in the (Research) Master Arts and Culture: Museums and Collections, take priority.
Students who are not enrolled in the Master Arts and Culture should contact the Coordinator of Studies in order to enroll.
Museums are powerful and influential institutions in their ability to shape knowledge through their collections and exhibitions. Curating has become a crucial tool for museums in the representation of the (hi)stories they construct.
In this seminar we will study the important role of curators, curating and exhibiting in museums throughout the world. Current issues and controversies concerning curating and exhibiting will be discussed and narratives of exhibitions will be analyzed. We will examine the politics and ethics of exhibitions in a wide variety of museums. Various curatorial practices and theories will be scrutized. Special attention will be given to exhibition rhetoric and the growing role of audiences. As part of the course, we will design and install our own exhibition.
gain knowledge of museum theory with an emphasis on theory of exhibiting and curating;
gain insight into current issues and controversies concerning curating and exhibitions;
gain knowledge of and experience in exhibiting;
practice their communicative skills in weekly debates and in the presentation of their own reseach topic;
develop their research skills in formulating a relevant research question and writing a paper on this subject of their own choice.
Research Master students that take this course will write a paper that reflects the demands of the Research Master. That is, they will have to formulate more complex and original research questions than the MA students, include a critical positioning towards the state of the art of its subject, and produce a longer paper (4000 words excluding annotations and bibliography instead of 3000 words).
Please consult the timetable on the MA Arts and Culture website.
Mode of instruction
Attendance is compulsory. Students are allowed to miss a maximum of two seminars, provided they present a valid reason beforehand. Students who have missed more than two seminars will have to aply to the Examination Board of the Ma Arts and Culture in order to obtain permission to further follow and complete the course.
attending seminar: 13 × 3 hours = 39 hours;
preparation seminar (incl. reading, museum visits, weekly assignments): 8 × 13 hours = 104 hours;
installation exhibition 8 hours
attending and contributing to symposium: 7 hours;
research and writing paper: 122 hours.
Active participation in class and weekly assignments (10%);
Oral presentation (10%);
Contribution to exhibition (40%);
Paper, 3000 words (40%), (Research Master students 4000 words)
The final grade is the average of the four grades (10%, 10%, 40%, 40%). A student passes the class if the average is a 6.0 or higher (marks under 5.0 are not allowed) and the paper is a 6.0 or higher.
The re-sit consists of two parts (paper 50% and/or alternative assignment 50%).
Inspection and feedback
How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.
Blackboard will be used for special announcements, assignments and required weekly reading. Students will be expected to post questions (weekly) and assignments in Discussion Board.
Reading list will be posted on Blackboard.
Exchange and Study Abroad students: Please see the website Study in Leiden for information on how to apply/register for this course.
Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs
fieldtrips and guest lectures are an important part of the course. Students will be expected to make frequent visits to museums in order to analyze exhibitions;
in the specialisation Museums and Collections of the MA Arts and Culture, this course focuses on contemporary practices of the museum as sites of knowledge production and platform of discussion and debate regarding issues of cultural value, identity and memory. As a free component course it also holds value for the specialisation Art of the Contemporary World and World Art Studies.