The MA programme developed by Garage Museum of Contemporary Art is an experimental innovative course that prepares professionals to work in Russia and abroad. Students will get a thorough introduction to the theory and practices of contemporary art, as well as the history of exhibitions in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and develop new ways of thinking and analytical skills that will allow them to understand and evaluate contemporary art phenomena. Students can choose between two tracks: curating or art management.
The programme consists of a general theoretical section and a more specialized section of disciplines that are different for curating and art management students. The theoretical section is made up of four courses that reflect all aspects of contemporary art processes and is obligatory for all students.
The programme is offered for a fee, however Garage covers tuition fees for particular students selected on a competitive basis.
Courses are taught by Garage staff and Russian and international partners of the programme.
The system of arts and culture education in Russia has not evolved for many years and largely focuses on the study of the history of art and not on its contemporary state and development.
Art history programmes in Russia normally offer only a brief overview of how exhibitions are organised and produced and do not necessarily touch on the specificity of contemporary art exhibitions.
Hence, aspects such as the production of site-specific art for particular projects, for example, are not covered by most programs and not studied by future professionals who might require this knowledge in their work.
However, museums are evolving and so are museum jobs. Today, museums require new professionals whose tasks range from curating, research and development of education programs to publishing, archival work, fundraising, and cooperation with state and private institutions. Currently, Russian museums are struggling to find enough competent curators and managers with an adequate knowledge of art theory and the required practical skills.
On the other hand, most university art courses in Russia do not reflect the specificity of curating as a profession. Unlike a museum (or collection) registrar, curators need to be able to develop exhibition concepts. This new kind of task is broader and involves more responsibility than mere description of exhibits and their presentation in a chronological order. Existing master’s courses in Russia do not cover curating as we understand it today and are not designed for future curators.
Most courses also lack a practical aspect—project work integrated into the education process. The MA Curatorial Practices in Contemporary Art includes compulsory project work that will be part of the preparation for the writing of dissertations and encourage students to get involved in the production of exhibitions at Garage.
Lectures will take place at Garage, allowing for the easy integration of practical work into the education process.
As a graduation project, students will present their own exhibition.