module specification

JC72W2 - Professional Practice (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Professional Practice
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 40
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Total study hours 400
328 hours Guided independent study
72 hours Placement / study abroad
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 80%   Workplace Diary/Report/ Critique
Coursework 20%   Mentor's Report
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester City Thursday Morning

Module summary

This module runs at Whitechapel Gallery

The purpose of this immersive placement (18 week, 25 hours per week) module is to equip students with first-hand experience of the preparation and delivery of the gallery's annual programming, with particular reference to Commissions and Collection displays.

Working under the guidance and management of an appointed workplace supervisor, students will contribute to the overall process of planning and development whilst taking individual responsibility for a specific area of activity, ranging from display to publishing, fundraising, marketing and interpretation. Students will be expected to work independently, under structured supervision, and in team-settings, as appropriate, towards defined goals.

Prior learning requirements


Module aims

The module aims to:
• Encourage students to acquire extensive, first-hand experience of key areas of curatorial practice
• Enable students to contribute effectively to aspects of the planning and presentation of gallery's annual programme
• Consolidate relevant working knowledge and conceptual understanding of the principles and practice of curating contemporary art works in the circumstances of a professional gallery and under the guidance of an appointed mentor.
• Support and guide students to communicate effectively in a professional environment
• Help students to maintain good professional relations and teamwork.
• Broaden an understanding of health & safety and other statutory obligations in the workplace.


Students will work within a project team under guidance and in regular consultation with their workplace mentor towards the completion of specified tasks and functions (circa 25 hours per week for 18 weeks) and of their diary/report/critique.

Learning and teaching

Immersive, professional practice, observation, supervision and reflection, including regular, weekly contact with workplace mentor.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. Demonstrate integrated knowledge and understanding of the multiple forces and relations governing the staging of Kunsthalle exhibitions;
2. Work effectively both independently and within a team demonstrating independence and ethical responsibility;
3. Deliver outcomes in an appropriately professional manner through the performance of assigned roles and tasks;
4. Demonstrate critical imagination in devising and delivering a creative programme with a disciplined approach, ensuring objectives are achieved within fixed budget and to deadline;
5. Communicate effectively and resolve and/or address problems with sensitivity and consideration
6. Operate within institutional constraints and with regard to statutory obligations, including issues of health & safety, as appropriate

Assessment strategy

Students will submit:

Workplace Diary/Report/Critique (80%) (including attendance minimum of 450 hours) (indicative word count 4-5000)
The workplace will submit:
Mentor's Report (20%)

Work will be assessed against the learning outcomes in relation to the following criteria:
• Subject knowledge and relevance
• Quality of communication and presentation
• Appropriate technical competence
• Appropriate use of problem solving, testing and experimentation
• Management of own learning and personal professional development
• Effective collaborative and/or independent working methods


Students devise their own bibliography as appropriate to the work based tasks and research about the placement host and its context. Indicative reading list includes:

Harrison, C. Wood, P. Gaiger, J. (ed.) (1998) Art in Theory, 1815 - 1900, An Anthology of Changing Ideas, Blackwell.
Harrison, C. Wood, P. (ed.) (2003) Art in Theory, 1900 - 2000, An Anthology of Changing Ideas, Blackwell (2nd edition)
Marincola, P. (ed.) (2006) What makes a Great Exhibition? Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative & Reaktion Books.
O'Doherty, B. (1999) Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space, University of California Press, (expanded edition).
O'Neill, P. (ed.) (2007) Curating Subjects, Open Editions.
Staple, P. et al (2007) Frieze Projects: Artists Commissions and Talks, Frieze Books.
Tannert,C. Tischler,U. (2004) Men in Black: Handbook of Curatorial Practice, Revolver