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Core Course II: Art History and Curatorial Practice


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Arts and Culture: Museum Studies / Art History, research master Arts and Culture, research master Arts, Literature and Media.
Students of the Humanities faculty who are interested and who are not enrolled in the Master Arts and Culture should contact the study adviser in order to enroll, only possible if there are places left.


What is the relation between exhibitions and art history? How do curators engage with the work of art historians and vice-versa? And what is the role of art criticism and collectors in making exhibitions?

In Core Course II, students will learn to think and write about the current practices in art exhibitions from a global and digital perspective. The course comprises lectures, excursions and workshops that set ideas in motion and test theories through action. It also includes hybrid sessions with the Institute of Digital Culture (University of Leicester). Students will apply the knowledge of theory and methodology acquired in Core Course I to a number of topical case studies that examine and evaluate art historical scholarship in the light of contemporary curatorial practice.

The first part of this course will introduce students to a number of important art historical debates that are relevant to curatorial practices in museums. Readings of seminal texts and individual visits to museums in Leiden will provide a basis for discussion about the relation between objects, display and theory. Group excursions to exhibitions will provide a practical framework to examine and evaluate topical issues in the field of art history as well as museum studies.

In the second half of the course, students will form small groups to organise workshops or master classes, which will focus on a particular exhibition or a specific case study related to the field of exhibitions. Each group will be responsible for organising a workshop, as well as providing a relevant and annotated bibliography to allow their fellow students to prepare for the workshop or master class. Each session will also comprise a Q&A and discussion in which all students are expected to participate.

Course objectives

Students will:

  • acquire insight into current curatorial and art historical debates and practices;

  • position oneself in relation to these;

  • develop skills in oral presentation while defending viewpoints and arguments;

  • present an analytical scholarly paper related to the current debates and practices.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

  • Masterclass

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.

Assessment method


  • Active participation in class, incl. the organization of a masterclass (50%)

  • Portfolio of 5000 words (excl. references) (50%); 6000 words (excl references) for ResMA-students

ResMa students taking this course will write a paper that reflects the demands of the Research Master. That is, they will have to formulate a more complex and original research question and include a critical positioning towards the state of the art of its subject.


The final grade is the average of the two marks (50% and 50%). A student passes the class if the weighted average is a 6.0 or higher.


The re-sit can consist of one or two parts: there is a re-sit for the portfolio (50%) and/or an alternative assignment for class participation (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.

Reading list

To be announced on Brightspace.



Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website

Registration À la carte education, Contract teaching and Exchange

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of À la carte education (without taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of Contract teaching (with taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.
For the registration of exchange students contact Humanities International Office.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Arsenaal


All other information.