Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Title Cultural Institutions B
Code PHIL770
Coordinator Dr V Simoniti
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2024-25 Level 7 FHEQ Second Semester 15


To facilitate student participation in discussions on contemporary art with artists, curators, and other museum professionals. To enable students to consider art from the perspective of the institutions in which modern and contemporary art is shown across a range of museological perspectives. To equip students with the conceptual framework to consider the theoretical implications of the practical uses of museum and curatorial space. To introduce students to the theoretical implications of specific exhibition case-studies, both current and forthcoming. To develop student consideration of the role of cultural institutions in wider cultural and social patterns. In these ways to secure the integration of the theoretical and practical aspects of studying art and culture and help prepare students for future research and or a career within a cultural institution.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will be able to explain the theoretical, procedural and practical issues behind exhibitions of art within cultural institutions.

(LO2) Students will be able to explain the wider functions of the cultural institution.

(LO3) Students will be able to explain the place of cultural institutions in broader cultural and social structures.

(S1) Students will enhance their abilities in comprehending theory and its relation to concrete practical and institutional situations.

(S2) Students will develop their skills in thinking critically about and analysing problems arising from the practice of cultural institutions.

(S3) Students will enhance their ability to identify and reflect critically upon the issues that underlie debates.

(S4) Students will develop confidence in considering previously unfamiliar ideas and approaches.



Sessions will be guided by the particular projects and staff involved. Some themes that might well be developed at the site visits include:

1. Curating Spaces
Students will be asked to consider the spaces of contemporary art in which exhibitions are placed, the theoretical implications of their structure, and the modifications to the white cube that occur within curating today. The role of the curator will be explored, with the potential demarcation of such roles becoming ever more indistinct as artistic and curatorial practices merge. Further, the relationship between exhibition space and other spaces of culture and display within culture will be a theme, thinking around how art becomes absorbed in city culture through varied events and festivals.

2. Placing Audiences
In considering how different visitors are positioned and addressed conceptually by exhibitions, students will explore both curatorial and educational approaches to audience development. The exper ience of visiting an art exhibition will be discussed and deconstructed, and the pathways and narratives audiences are guided by in cultural institutions will be delineated. Expectations of the viewer and the role that audiences can have in enacting specific artworks will also be addressed. The development of public programmes and other education work will be assessed, thinking how audiences are brought within the life of the institution through such acts.

3. Disseminating Culture
How cultural institutions are presented within different media will be the central theme for this session. Considering the functions of the institution as a whole - but with a specific focus on marketing, publications and interpretation – students will be asked to consider the multiple texts produced to market exhibitions. The growth of destination culture and arts-led regeneration will be themes in considering the cultural arts ecology in which cultural institutions exist. Students will be encouraged to consider how particular institutions are perceived within wider society, and the cultural capital inherent within museum attendance.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching Method 1- Workshop
Description: Two workshops at cultural institutions in the city, and a 1-day curating Skills Workshop at VGM.
Attendance Recorded: Yes

Teaching Method 2 – Seminar
Description: One-hour seminar, held twice during the semester by tutors, will offer opportunities for students to engage in formative peer and tutor dialogue on an ongoing basis.
Attendance Recorded: Yes

Teaching Method 3 – Student Support
Description: Study support.
Attendance Recorded: No

Notes: Description of how self-directed learning hours may be used: Reading, researching, listening to podcasts, watching videos, discussing, writing.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours   2


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 132


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Essay. There is a resit opportunity. Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is an anonymous assessment.    100       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.