Conservation of Contemporary Art and Media MSc

London, Stratford (UCL East)

This exciting two-year MSc offers a unique opportunity to undertake vocational training in the conservation of contemporary sculpture, installation, time-based media works of art and design including conceptual, digital, socially engaged, performance-based and mixed media works. Whilst ensuring that students are engaged with the key debates around the conservation and stewardship of contemporary art and design, the programme is fundamentally grounded in hands-on training for real-world situations.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
£14,100
£7,050
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
£29,000
£14,500
Duration
2 calendar years
4 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2023
Applications accepted
All applicants: 08 Nov 2022 – 30 Jun 2023

Applications open

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper secord-class degree BA, BASc or BSc from a UK university or an overseas equivalent. UCL will consider an equivalent level of work experience in lieu of an honours degree.

The programme is open to a broad range of backgrounds including (but are not limited to): arts, humanities, and social sciences e.g., arts, area studies, archaeology, anthropology, conservation, critical studies (including gender, queer, and race studies), geography, heritage and museum studies, history, history of art; and physical sciences and engineering, e.g., biochemistry, biology, chemistry, computer and data science, physics, any area of engineering.

The programme encourages those who have been out of formal education for a while but have a wealth of relevant experience to apply. For example, you may currently be working in a related field and wish to develop your career by gaining a qualification in conservation. The programme is offered both full time and part time.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

  • Are you an advocate for the art and culture of our time, able to engage with the major challenges of the day?  
  • Do you want to work closely with art and artists, responding to the changing nature of emerging artistic practice?
  • Can you bring an interdisciplinary focus that combines both scientific and humanities-based thinking through working with contemporary art and heritage?  
  • Would you like to develop your skills to handle, treat and manage artworks?  
  • Are you able to work collaboratively to understand and address complex real-world problems?

The programme will produce contemporary art conservators who will be ready to address the challenges of caring for the art of our time within a rapidly changing world. The degree focuses on the conservation of contemporary sculpture, installation, time-based media works of art and design including conceptual, performance, digital and mixed media works.  

The content of the programme will reflect current debates that are impacting the way in which we conserve, steward and care for contemporary art, design and media, thinking about the values and histories that underpin conservation practice, and urgent challenges facing the sector more broadly. This thinking underpins a programme that is fundamentally grounded in hands-on training for real-world situations.

Who this course is for

The MSc is suitable for students interested in doctoral research or pursuing a career in the conservation of contemporary art, design and media. This includes careers in museums, cultural heritage institutions, arts non-profit organisations, artist’s studios or private conservation practices. The MSc will provide preparation for careers in fields such as collection or gallery management, digital preservation and heritage management.

What this course will give you

This forward-facing programme will train the next generation of contemporary art conservators to develop and implement conservation strategies for a wide range of contemporary artistic practice. The programme offers interdisciplinary teaching and research, drawing on cutting-edge thinking from the humanities and the sciences. Increasingly conservators are required to not only have expert material knowledge and hand skills but also the capacity to draw on thinking from a range of fields to resolve complex conceptual questions related to issues such as the authenticity of objects, obsolescence, ideas of the future and an expanded understanding of the ethics and politics of conservation. 

Conservators working in this field also have excellent skills in collaborative working, engaging closely with artists and their networks, curators and communities to build connections to better understand and support the care of artworks. The programme will enable its students to engage in the urgent challenges faced by the conservation of contemporary art and culture, from understanding how the climate emergency is changing the way we think about the conservation of collections to thinking about how issues of racial and social equity are reflected in conservation practice and engaging with conservation as an agent of change within society.  

Conservators think across three temporalities: understanding the history of an artwork and how it was made; working with others to bring it to current audiences; and imagining and planning for the future of a work. Hands-on object-based studio work complements the learning which will be delivered as part of the specialised conservation training, based on a firm understanding of contemporary conservation theory and ethics. By learning with professionals and specialist practitioners from within the sector, you will gain knowledge of a range of career pathways and possibilities for further networking. 
 

The foundation of your career

As this is a new programme, there are no alumni yet. The MSc has been designed to provide specialised practical training in conservation and hands-on sector experience. Students will have an opportunity to build their portfolio throughout the programme and develop industry connections through the second year placement.  

Employability

The MSc will prepare students for careers in the conservation of contemporary art, design and media. This includes museums, cultural heritage institutions, arts non-profit organisations, artist’s studios and private conservation practices, collection or gallery management, digital preservation and heritage management. Some students may also continue to doctoral research.

Teaching and learning

You will be assessed through a combination of methods including: poster production, exhibitions, essays, reports and a dissertation or project paper. While working towards your degree, you will be designing and gathering materials for your portfolio, which is essential for early career conservators entering the job market. 
 

Students will typically have 5 contact hours a week and should expect around 25 hours of self-directed study.

Modules

Year 1

You will receive hands on training in the visual and material examination of artworks, the principles and practices of conservation and the key ethical and political issues impacting the discipline. The Advanced Seminar in the Conservation of Contemporary Art and Media, delivered collaboratively with the V&A, will expose you to a range of object and museum conservation challenges.

As part of Communicating Conservation, you will complete a collaborative project resulting in a creative output, e.g. an exhibition display, film or audio, or photography.

The third term will include a project working on either an artwork or design object through studio-based practice. Students must take EITHER Studio Practice: Conservation of Time-based Media OR Studio Practice: Conservation of Contemporary Materials.

Year 2

Central to the second year is a work placement at one of the institutions with which the programme has a partnership, culminating in a dissertation or project report.

You may choose to undertake your studies part-time, in four years instead of two years.

Compulsory modules

Examining and Analysing Artworks

Communicating Conservation

Science of Contemporary Materials

Advanced Seminar in Conservation of Contemporary Art and Media

Dissertation or Project Paper

Work Placement

Conserving Complexity: Conversation of Contemporary Artworks


Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 360 credits. Upon successful completion of 360 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Conservation of Contemporary Art and Media.

Placement

The programme includes a placement during the first term of the second year.

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Conservation of Contemporary Art and Media MSc (AM)

UCL's new hands-on Conservation of Contemporary Art MSc offers a unique opportunity to undertake vocational training in the conservation of contemporary sculpture, installation, time-based media works of art and design including conceptual, digital, socially engaged, performance-based and mixed media works. Join Professor Pip Laurenson to find out more about this progressive Master's programme, career pathways, making an application, and ask your own questions.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Conservation of Contemporary Art and Media MSc (PM)

UCL's new hands-on Conservation of Contemporary Art MSc offers a unique opportunity to undertake vocational training in the conservation of contemporary sculpture, installation, time-based media works of art and design including conceptual, digital, socially engaged, performance-based and mixed media works. Join Professor Pip Laurenson to find out more about this progressive Master's programme, career pathways, making an application, and ask your own questions.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £14,100 £7,050
Tuition fees (2023/24) £29,000 £14,500

Additional costs

The programme includes study-visits, e.g., one-off visits to museums, galleries, and heritage sites in and around London. We expect students to pay:
• their own fares to travel to classes held anywhere within the M25
• the entrance fee to any admission-charging exhibition or museum visited by a class; the teacher will usually negotiate a group discount where this is significantly cheaper than the individual student discount.

The programme includes a placement during the second year. We expect the students to pay any additional costs, for example, costs for accommodation, subsistence, visa costs, travel etc.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Arnold Hayward Stevenson Scholarship

Deadline: 24 March 2023
Value: £10,000 towards tuition fees (50% in each year if part-time) (1 year (full-time) or 2 years (part-time))
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: UK

Fer-Garb Scholarship

Deadline: 24 March 2023
Value: Covers fees (£12,900) and provides a stipend (£18,500) for one year of full-time study (or two years (1yr full-time or 2yrs part-time)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: UK

Next steps

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

Prospective students will need to submit a personal statement with their application, stating:

  • their motivation to pursue a career in conservation
  • how their background has prepared them for undertaking this Graduate Taught Degree
  • highlighting their interests, knowledge, and skills.

They should be able to demonstrate in their personal statement that they know some aspects of what conservation and collection care work might entail and provide examples that demonstrate their visual and manual dexterity and skills.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2023-2024

Got questions? Get in touch

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