BA Art Gallery and Museum Studies
In this Section:
This course allows you to study the role of museums, galleries, country houses and heritage sites from an historical and contemporary perspective, alongside history of art and culture.
You’ll learn about the interpretation, display, education and communication practices of museums, galleries, heritage and cultural institutions, with visits and privileged access to museum, gallery and country house collections throughout the course. You’ll study the history of art and think critically about its development and effects, examining the social history of art and some of the theories and approaches that can help us to interpret works of art, from aesthetics to anthropology.
You’ll gain a critical understanding of the history and theory of visual and material culture within the context of museums and art galleries history and in current practice. Our excellent links with local institutions and a dedicated work placement will also allow you to gain first-hand experience of working in the sector.
The University has a variety of resources to support your learning and research. The cutting-edge research conducted through our Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage and the Centre for the Study of the Art and Antiques Market feeds directly into our teaching, meaning you have access to the latest knowledge in these areas.
We have a wide range of museum collections and galleries on campus such as the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery and the Brotherton Library Treasures Gallery. ULITA – an Archive of International Textiles is housed on campus to collect, preserve and document textiles and related areas from around the world.
The university also houses a wealth of modern and contemporary art that make up the Art on Campus displays of sculpture, in addition to the Yorkshire Fashion Archive and the Marks & Spencer Company Archive and exhibition displays. These resources all offer exciting opportunities for our students to engage with current issues and practice in museums and galleries.
In Year 1 you will be introduced to the different ways of thinking about museums, art galleries and heritage organisations. You’ll also explore the theme of the English country house and its history and role as heritage. The programme will equip you with the fundamental skills and knowledge for the study of art history and the ways in which cultural forms have been displayed over time.
Core modules will question the ideas of ‘art’ and ‘artists’ and how they have been understood over time in different communities. You’ll learn to ‘read’ images in different contexts, and explore key themes and interpretative methods in the subject.
You’ll build on this knowledge in Year 2, taking core modules on contemporary theories of culture and museum practice. You’ll examine the methods and ideas behind the collection, interpretation and display of objects, as well as introductions to collections management, exhibitions and the exploration of museum, art gallery and heritage audiences.
Diverse optional modules will allow you to focus on art historical topics that suit your own interests, from medieval and Renaissance art to cinema and the complexities of the historical and contemporary art market.
By your final year, you’ll be able to apply your research and critical skills to an independently researched dissertation on a topic of your choice within art gallery and museum studies. You will also have the opportunity of hands-on experience through your museum or art gallery work placement.
To complement and support your research, you’ll select additional modules from the diverse options on offer. If you choose, you can take one fewer optional module and go into greater depth on an extended dissertation.
These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
- A Story of Art I 20 credits
- A Story of Art 2 20 credits
- The English Country House: Making and Meaning 20 credits
- Introduction to Museum and Art Gallery Studies 20 credits
- Introduction to Cultural Analysis 20 credits
- Cultural History 20 credits
- Cinema and Media History 20 credits
- The Museum 20 credits
- Exhibitions, Curatorship and Audiences 40 credits
- The New York School 20 credits
- Venice: Image and Imagination 20 credits
- The Art Market: Moments, Methodologies, Meanings 20 credits
- Heritage and History 1: Whose Heritage? 20 credits
- Careers Preparation for Arts and Culture 20 credits
- Art Gallery and Museum Work Placement 20 credits
- Dissertation 40 credits
- Beyond the Trench: Collaborative Projects on the History, Remembrance and Critical Heritage of the First World War 20 credits
- Cultural Diversity in Museum and Material Culture - Case Study 20 credits
- Anthropology, Art and Representation 20 credits
- Critical and Curatorial Challenges in Contemporary Art: The Documenta Exhibitions 1992-2012 20 credits
- Africa and the Atlantic World: History, Historiography and the Visual Arts 20 credits
Broadening your academic horizons
At Leeds we want you to benefit from the depth and breadth of the University's expertise, to prepare you for success in an ever-changing and challenging world. This course gives you the opportunity to broaden your learning by studying discovery modules. Find out more on the Broadening webpages.
Learning and teaching
We use a range of teaching and learning methods to help you benefit from the expertise of your tutors. These include lectures, seminars, screenings, tutorials, workshops and field trips. Some modules include sessions taught in local museums by their curators. You’ll also have the opportunity to attend talks by visiting artists and speakers, as well as conferences, exhibitions and other events.
Independent study is crucial to the degree, allowing you to develop important critical and research skills and to form your own ideas.
You’ll be assessed using a variety of methods, allowing you to develop different skills. These will include a combination of essays, module presentations, small-scale research projects and your final year dissertation.
A high percentage of our graduates go on to postgraduate study. However, others have pursued careers in curating, arts education in organisations such as galleries, colleges and universities, journalism, arts administration, image researching, PR and auctioneering.
Graduates from our School have gone on to work at the Guggenheim Museum in Venice, the Tate Britain, Tate Modern, The Saatchi Gallery, The Henry Moore Institute, National Trust, Bonham’s, Leeds City Museums, The Hepworth Gallery, The Geffrye Museum London, The Heritage Lottery Fund and the Rydale Folk Museum.
Some examples of roles they have gone on to have include Head of House and Collections at Harewood House, Events Manager at the National Portrait Gallery, PR Officer at Christie’s (London and New York), Lecturer at the University of Leeds and Chief Curator at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. Thats one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.
On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. The University has partnerships with more than 400 universities worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America.
Find out more at the Study Abroad website.
Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.
Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.