University College for Interdisciplinary Learning

Curating Culture NOT RUNNING IN 2018 -19

Course Code


Course Details

  • Level: 2
  • Credit load: 10
  • School/s: University of Manchester Library


Discover how curators collect, select and exhibit material, from ancient Egypt to Electronica, in order to create inspirational experiences.

Gain skills in researching and delivering a cultural activity and writing for a public audience. Work with educational outreach teams to engage and inspire young people. Visit leading cultural institutions to learn from the experts about how collections are cared for and preserved. Bringing all these learning experiences together, you will take part in practical assessments such as blogging, copy writing and delivering public engagement events such as tours and educational activities.

You will come away from this course with enhanced communication skills and the ability to present complex ideas that captivate and educate your audience.

This course unit is based around the rich collections of the John Rylands Library, the Manchester Museum and Whitworth Art Gallery.

Through this course you will gain insight into how organisations such as specialist libraries, museums and art galleries operate.


Summary of Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand the key concepts of why individuals, societies and organisations collect cultural artefacts, how 'value' is attributed to them and what decisions inform the selection process
  2. Develop an awareness of ethical, cultural and conservation issues involved in collecting and exhibiting material
  3. Critically evaluate exhibitions and other public engagement activities based around cultural and heritage material
  4. Present ideas involving cultural and heritage material in creative and innovative ways
  5. Deliver engagement activities which are sensitive and accessible to a wide range of audiences.



Students will curate an exhibition case. Interpretation panel and object labels. (Individual work: worth 50% of mark);

EITHER: Students develop a plan for a 15 minute collection encounter for the general public, and deliver this session to their peers. (Group work: 3 sides A4 for plan, 15 minute delivery, 50% of mark)

OR: Students develop an educational workshop linked to either a specific collection or current John Rylands Library exhibition and deliver this session to their peers. (Group work: 3 sides A4 for plan, 15 minute delivery, 50% of mark).


This course is only open to undergraduate students.

University College course units are available to take on programmes which have 'free choice' options available to them, (i.e. programmes which allow you, as part of the degree programme, to take a number of credits from subject areas outside of your home school). As these courses are credit bearing, you must enrol by following the standard procedure for your school when adding units outside of your home school.

If you are not sure whether you will be able to enrol in University College courses, please contact your School Undergraduate Office to find out whether these options are available for your degree programme.


Dr Janette Martin

Donna Sherman

Henry McGhie

Uthra Rajgopal

Teaching and Learning Methods


1-12Thursday14:00 - 16:00Workshop
Sometimes you have to climb a mountain to properly curate a sock (David Balzer)

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