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University of the Arts London

Exploring the archive: live projects in a postgraduate learning setting


This case study outlines the pedagogic, curatorial and museological practices that have influenced a long-term collaboration between the Central Saint Martins Museum and Study Collection and the MA Culture, Criticism and Curation course, which have led to the inclusion of a formally assessed Archive and Curatorial unit in the MA’s curriculum. The study draws on concepts such as experiential learning, object-based or object-centred learning and collaborative meaning-making. It summarises the practicalities of enabling students to work with uncatalogued archive material and addresses the complexities of formulating curatorial narratives from multiple perspectives. It also explores the criticality required to surface tacit knowledge and engage with curatorial practices.


archives, curation, object-based learning, experiential learning


Author Biography

Judy Willcocks

Judy Willcocks is an Associate of the Museums Association with twenty years’ experience of working in museums, and has a long-standing interest in developing the use of museum collections to support teaching and learning in higher education. Judy runs the Museum and Study Collection at Central Saint Martins and teaches an archiving unit for the College’s MA in Culture, Criticism and Curation. Judy is also interested in developing relationships between universities and museums in the broader sense and is the co-founder for the Arts Council funded Share Academy project, exploring the possibilities of cross-sector partnerships.

Dr Alison Green

Dr Alison Green is a Reader in Art, Curating and Culture at Central Saint Martins, where she is Course Leader of MA Culture, Criticism and Curation and Senior Lecturer on BA (Hons) Culture, Criticism and Curation. She is a PhD supervisor and active member of University of the Arts London's research and teaching community. Alison is an art historian, critic and curator with a strong history of publications, public talks, exhibitions and conference participation. Her current research is about socially-engaged art and curating in a (post-) global context relating to ethics of representation, economy and ecology.


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