Career development courses in partnership with Whitechapel Gallery

We’re working with the Whitechapel Gallery for the fifth year running to support their series of professional development courses, and we’re pleased to be offering 50 bursaries to curators and museum professionals.

Tree of Life by Rachel Whiteread at the Whitechapel Gallery, London © The artist / Photo: Guy Montagu-Pollock @ Arcaid & Photo © Marcus Dawes 2012

Running throughout June and July, these popular hands-on courses will draw on the expertise of staff from across Whitechapel Gallery, as well as other industry leaders. Each course will focus on practical training and use current projects as case studies, allowing you to gain invaluable guidance and insight from behind the scenes..

We are able to offer 50 bursaries to museum professionals on the following one-day courses (five places available on each):

Full price places usually cost £195.


Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High St, London


10am-1pm: Morning session

1-2pm: Break (lunch will be provided)

2-5pm: Afternoon session


This series is targeted at both early career and more experienced curators, whether new to the topic or wishing to refresh and expand their existing knowledge. Led by experts in the field, each course offers fresh insight, practical advice and resources, allowing curators to develop key skills that are rarely covered in other training schemes.

Applications are open to all museum and gallery professionals, but curators and those who work with public collections will be prioritised. A certificate confirming completion of the course is available on request.

How to apply

To apply for a fully funded place please send us:

  • A one-page CV
  • A statement of no more than 300 words that answers the question, ‘How would attending this course be beneficial to your professional development?’

Please email your application to [email protected] with the word 'Whitechapel’ and the name of your chosen course in the subject line by midday on Friday 25 May 2018.

Please specify the first choice course you wish to apply for AND indicate a second choice within your email.

In the event that your first choice is oversubscribed and we cannot offer you a bursary place, we'll then consider your second choice course.

How to publish exhibition catalogues

Thursday 28 June 2018
Francesca Vinter and Cameron Foote

Publications document art, record exhibitions, generate critical discourse and disseminate ideas worldwide. They are also creative and beautiful objects in their own right. Over the course of a day, we look at how to produce and publish a range of printed art catalogues from commissioning through to distributing, as well as examining the place of the art institution as publisher.

You will learn about:

  • Planning a publication – processes and considerations
  • Working with artists
  • Practical factors – print production and copyright
  • Sales, distribution and partnerships

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Writing for the exhibition

Friday 29 June 2018
Gilda Williams

This course is aimed at curators, PR professionals, museum workers and everyone tasked with effectively communicating exhibitions to audiences. You will be given the necessary tools to write for a range of formats, from a press release to wall text, with an emphasis on analysing good examples of short-form writing, from museum labels to website copy.

You will learn about:

  • Explaining ideas and works of art effectively to create enjoyable and insightful text – whether a solo show, a group exhibition, or a collaborative project
  • Avoiding overly dense, jargon-rich language, without dumbing down content
  • Mastering the 'art of description': honing your reader's attention on selected aspects of works of art to express your ideas effectively

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How to fundraise – developing and managing fundraising events

Thursday 5 July 2018
Janine Catalano and Alexandra House

This course will look at different types of fundraising events and the most and effective suitable approaches in the context of your organisation and goals. From small cultivation events to large scale galas and auctions, we will look at the importance of realistic and measurable objectives, target audience and practicalities around planning, budgeting and pricing.

You will learn about:

  • Different types of events and ingredients for success
  • How to define your audience and the right target group for your events
  • How to manage events effectively and what resources and help you need

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How to curate a schools and community programme

Friday 6 July 2018
Kirsty Lowry with visiting teacher

Join the Whitechapel Gallery’s schools and teachers curator for this one day workshop, looking at innovative ways to engage schools with your organisation. The course will provide practical advice and case studies to help you develop creative and effective programmes. We will also be joined by a guest speaker to discuss the perspective of a partner school.

You will learn about:

  • Building creative partnerships with schools and teachers
  • Using contemporary art and exhibitions as an inspiring and cross-curricular teaching and learning resource
  • Commissioning new work in collaboration with artists and schools

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Art writing for artists and critics

Thursday 12 July 2018
Gilda Williams

This course will look broadly at the basics of art writing, including writing art criticism and artist's statements. Equally vital for critics and artists, emphasis will be on directing readers' attention to observing the precise elements in a work of art that support your ideas.

You will learn about:

  • Analysing good examples of art writing to see how ideas are communicated effectively
  • Understanding your audience's needs, whether an art magazine, gallery, newspaper, or other

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Curating events and public programmes

Friday 13 July 2018
Jane Scarth and Gareth Evans

This course will look at how to establish platforms for curatorial and artistic discussion through public engagement with various programmes, from producing and staging events to symposia, talks, performances and screenings. With the freelance as well as institutional programmer in mind, you will learn about:

  • How to conceive, produce and stage talks and live events, festivals and series
  • How to set the scene for performance and commissioning new work
  • How to work creatively across media both within institutions, site-specifically and off-site
  • How to establish and develop creative funding and promotional networks and partners

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How to curate a youth programme

Thursday 19 July 2018
Sofia Victorino, Renee Odjidja and Nicola Sim

This session looks at how best to create and sustain meaningful collaborations with young people and youth forums and how to enable a space for access and insight within the institution, using both Whitechapel Gallery case studies and other gallery partnerships as material.

You will learn about:

  • How to create and sustain meaningful collaborations with young people (youth forums, short and long-term programmes, professional development)
  • Enabling a space for access and insight into the gallery’s programme
  • Strategies for co-developing programmes with young people
  • Integrating digital platforms led by young people
  • Evaluating processes and outcomes

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How to curate an exhibition – commissioning new work and working with emerging artists

Friday 20 July 2018
Laura Smith, Cameron Foote and visiting artist

This session tackles the multifaceted role of the curator in organising exhibitions, with a focus on commissioning new work and working with emerging artists. We will look at different curatorial settings and formats, considering theoretical concerns alongside more practical project management issues, as well as logistical and registrarial procedures.

You will learn about:

  • The role of a curator
  • Exhibition organising and logistics
  • Developing exhibition proposals and communicating ideas

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How to create a communications campaign

Thursday 26 July 2018
Jenny Lea, Lucy Hawes, Priya Shemar and James Sutton

Guided by Whitechapel Gallery’s communications team, this course is an intensive fast-track opportunity to learn what makes a creative, effective communications campaign for an exhibition today; from strategy and targets to press, marketing, social media and design.

You will learn about:

  • The role of communications
  • Securing media coverage
  • Engaging audiences on social media
  • Advertising on a budget
  • Designing an effective poster

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How to curate an exhibition – curating collection and archives displays

Friday 27 July 2018
Nayia Yiakoumaki and Candy Stobbs

This session explores the role of the curator in organising exhibitions with a focus on archive and collection displays. We will look at different curatorial strands and settings within an institution, defining theoretical concerns alongside practical project management advice on working with the specific requirements of archives and public and private collections.

You will learn about:

  • The work of the curator in developing new exhibition models
  • Curating in context: alternative methodologies
  • Collaborating with artists, collections and curators to invite new perspectives
  • The logistics of organising exhibitions from archives and collections

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