cod. 1008201

Academic year 2021/22
3° year of course - Second semester
- Valentina ROSSI - Federica VERATELLI
Academic discipline
Museologia e critica artistica e del restauro (L-ART/04)
Metodologie, analisi e tecniche della comunicazione
Type of training activity
66 hours
of face-to-face activities
9 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

The course aims to provide students, according to the Dublin Descriptors for the bachelor’s degree (First cycle - European Qualification Framework Level 6), with adequate knowledge and understanding of the role of curator, its basic functions through the history of curatorship (1° Descriptor - Knowledge and understanding).
At the end of the course, the student must be able to:
• demonstrate, by applying knowledge and understanding, to be professionally able to solve through the creation of arguments, different kinds of issues relating to curatorship (2° Descriptor - Applying knowledge and understanding);
• have the ability to independently collect and understand the sources on curatorial practices and curatorship through different case studies, including the consideration on connected social, scientific or ethic issues (3° Descriptor - Making judgements);
• communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions in the field of curatorial practices to both specialist and non-specialist audiences (4° Descriptor - Communication skills);
• improve the learning skills that are necessary to continue undertaking further study with a high degree of autonomy in the field of curatorial practices and curatorship, with specific attention to the history and to the role of the curator and to the accomplishment of curatorial projects (5° Descriptor - Learning skills).



Course unit content

The course aims to provide students with the basic knowledge by applying an historical approach to curatorship, through the history of the profession.
The Introduction - Part One (30h) will investigate the evolution of the role of curator with particular attention to the double meaning of curatorship: the curator in charge of permanent collections and museums (i.e. Andrew Bolton), or the contemporary art curator working for biennales and major art hall installations (i.e. Harald Szeemann). The course explores, through case studies in the field of history of curatorship, the progressive emancipation of the curator during the 20th century, the rise of new curatorial practices and of new patterns exhibition. The life of Fernanda Wittgens (1903-1957) will allow students to learn more about the curatorial practices in Italy before, during and after the Second World War (1939-1945), through the project of reconstruction, preservation, and valorization of the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan. This history will consent to observe the evolution of the curator in the Italian frame of Museum professions before and after the reform of superintendencies in postwar period. This evolution could be understood by studying the art world and its history, as well as the evolution of the art market, the phenomenon of collecting, the rise of the art exhibitions, the history of art criticism connoisseurship, and finally, the history of cultural and artistic heritage management. For every aspect the course provides case studies and the terms in Italian and others European languages.
The case of the Tate Modern in London, presented during the workshop (36h), will disclose to the student a new approach to exhibitions, through the history of a museum and of its curatorial practices. In addition, during the workshop the student will get used to the right keywords related to the curatorship (the museum, the archive, the street, the digital space, etc.), with particular attention to curatorial projects developed in the last twenty years, in Italy and abroad. As a final part of the workshop the students will trained in the realization of a potential curatorial project through small group seminars.

Full programme

Introduction - Part One (30h)
A Brief History of curatorship. Curators and curatorial practices from XVII century till today

Workshop - Part Two (36h)
Curatorial Practices today. From museum to the street, from collective to digital


Subject matter:

• A DIGITAL DOSSIER: PowerPoint slideshows containing images and sources shown during frontal lessons (available at the end of the course on the platform for blended learning Elly DUSIC);
• THE BOOK OF: G. Ginex, Sono Fernanda Wittgens. Una vita per Brera, Milano, Skira, 2018;
• A CHOSEN BOOK among: Become a curator, a cura di G. Romano, Milano, Postmedia Books, 2019 (on contemporary curatorial practices), or, F. Haskell, The Ephemeral Museum. Old Master Paintings and the Rise of the Art Exhibition, Yale University, 2000 (on the history of curatorial practices and the rise of the art exhibitions).

For the students NOT attending the workshop:
• V. Rossi, Tate Modern. Pratiche espositive, Milano, Postmedia Books, 2019.

Teaching methods

Classroom lectures, with PowerPoint projections (sources, works of art, video, documentaries). PowerPoint slideshows containing images and sources shown during frontal lessons are available at the end (and not before) of the course on the platform for blended learning Elly DUSIC).

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral exam.
The exam (20 minutes max) concerns the entire course and aims to test the student knowledge on the first part and on the second part of the course.
Students who don't attend the classes on regular basis must refer to the list of recommended reading.

In Italian Universities grades are given on the basis of 30 points (30/30). When the student's performance is considered outstanding, laude can be added. The minimum passing grade is 18/30. Grades below 18 are a failure and are not registered.
A failure is determined by 1. a lack of understanding of the basic content of the course; 2. the inability to express oneself adequately; 3. by a lack of autonomous preparation; 4. the inability to solve problems related to information retrieval and its decoding; 5. the inability in making judgements independently.
The minimum passing grade (18-23/30) is ascribed when the student's performance is acceptable, according to the 5 evaluation indicators expressed above. Middle-range scores (24-27/30) are assigned to students who show more than a sufficient level (24-25/30) or a good level (26-27/30) according to the 5 evaluation indicators expressed above. High scores (from 28/30 to 30/30 cum laude) are assigned to students who show a very good or an excellent level according to the 5 evaluation indicators expressed above.

Other information

For any further information please contact the teacher during the Office hour (