Studying Art Gallery and Museum Studies at Manchester

by | Jan 12, 2022 | Arts, Postgraduate | 0 comments

From the outset of researching what I wanted to do after my undergraduate degree, I knew I wanted to work in the field of museums and art galleries. For me, a Master’s degree in Art Gallery and Museum Studies at the University of Manchester was a natural progression, especially with its potential for placements and the opportunities it can give you to make important connections within the field.

I am now one semester into my Master’s, which I am taking part-time. Already, I have learnt some incredibly valuable lessons and gained important experiences that I don’t believe I would have gotten if I had not taken the course, or if I had taken a different course elsewhere.

Wall painting saying Grayson's Art Club

Grayson Perry’s Art Club exhibition in the Manchester Art

Manchester is blessed with several important and interesting art galleries and museums, so studying in the city has been incredible! I’ve visited several exhibitions at the Manchester Art Gallery including Grayson Perry’s Art Club, and been to museums such as the People’s History Museum, the Imperial War Museum North and the Science and Industry Museum. Visiting these institutions has not only been valuable for my course, but they are also a great way to make friends and have fun in the city.

The course content is really varied, and has practical as well as theoretical elements: using anthropological studies to learn about museum theory as well as the practicalities and logistics of running a successful institution. The teaching staff are all incredibly knowledgeable as well as approachable, meaning that you are able to develop great working relationships with them, something that has proved particularly valuable to me as I transferred from full time study to part-time study halfway through the semester.

For me, one of the most valuable things the Art Gallery and Museum Studies course at the University of Manchester offers is the Managing Collections and Exhibitions module that is undertaken in the first semester. The module’s assessed work includes creating an exhibition as a group that we then showcased as in Manchester’s Central Library, open for the general public, and then creating a portfolio about this experience. This module was really eye-opening and taught me a lot about the world of museums and exhibitions, something that will definitely prove valuable in the future.

Cross cultural support for the NHS

A section of the exhibition my group created 

As well as this, I have really enjoyed the placement module offered across the whole year. I have been placed at Brantwood, the home of polymath John Ruskin near Coniston in the Lake District. Here I have been helping the collections manager to archive the collections, and assist them in creating a volunteer engagement policy. This experience has been incredibly interesting and valuable, as well as a lot of fun!

As with any university degree, the social element of studying Art Gallery and Museum
Studies at the University of Manchester has been crucial to my enjoyment of the course. The structure of the course with its several elements of group work meant it was easy to make friends and socialise.

Overall, studying Art Gallery and Museum Studies at the University of Manchester has so far been incredibly rewarding and interesting, and has provided me with several
opportunities that enhance my future career options.