A ground-breaking new Teesside University apprenticeship which aims to broaden curating opportunities has welcomed its very first students.
The University’s School of Arts & Creative Industries is offering the UK’s first combined masters and higher degree apprenticeship in curating. The MA Curating degree apprenticeship is open to a wide range of staff at galleries, museums, libraries, and creative organisations, who are involved in residentials at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA) and self-directed online studies over two years. The aim of the course is to broaden opportunities across not only the creative and cultural sectors, but to also provide scope for development for those working as curators in other sectors, such as health, science and the environment. The first eleven students to start the apprenticeship are from Turner Contemporary in Margate, Site Gallery in Sheffield, P21 Gallery Charitable Trust in London, HOME in Manchester, Barnsley Museums, British Ceramics Biennial, The Wellcome Trust, Redcar and Cleveland Council, Tees Valley Arts and Durham University. Rhiannon Ewing-James, artistic programme manager at British Ceramics Biennial, is among the first cohort. She said: “I wanted to apply for the course as my work involves working with artists and I love making connections between people and the art world. “I was interested in developing my skills in critical perspectives and debates, which I’ve not previously had an opportunity to engage in with as much depth as this course will allow. It is exciting too to be working alongside a cohort of peers, allowing me to go beyond my usual network and spheres. “It is a unique experience and one in which my learning will be transformational.” Alice Wilde, Talent Development Producer (Visual Art) at HOME Manchester, said: “My role at HOME in Manchester focuses on working with artists and supporting their work whether that is working on commissions, workshop programmes or new exhibitions. “The first week of the apprenticeship has been incredible. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know everyone on the course. Each of the sessions have been amazing with such a wide variety of speakers and activities. I am really excited to connect this learning to my own practice back in Manchester.” Alice added: “My first impression of Middlesbrough was how friendly everyone has been. I found it inspiring how supportive and connected the local arts ecology is and I really enjoyed visiting the different art spaces in town. I have also enjoyed grabbing a pint with everyone after class.” The qualification has been designed by Professor Sarah Perks and Principal Lecturer Dr Paul Stewart, from the University’s School of Arts & Creative Industries along with MIMA gallery’s artistic director Elinor Morgan. Professor Perks said: “It’s a dream task as a professor of curating to co-develop this very first apprenticeship in curation and to tailor it to the needs of a dynamic role that has changed massively over the last few decades. “It has never been more important to focus on how to navigate content and collections, and how to engage with different types of people and communities, which are all key aspects of the profession of being curator.” Professor Perks added: “Whilst people associate curating with contemporary art, this course is not subject specific, it is about curating across all contexts including heritage, the creative industries, health, science and the environment.” Dr Paul Stewart added: “It has been an honour to co-develop the course programme and an exciting opportunity to re-think access, representation, engagement, and the role of collections with new audiences. “From my own experience of working in galleries and as a curator, I hope the course offers new points of access to study for those already in work and those who have not had an opportunity afforded to them to study through traditional routes. The aim being to democratise curatorial voice.”
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