MA Art Gallery and Museum Studies / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:

Course unit fact file
Unit code SALC70300
Credit rating 30
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Full year
Available as a free choice unit? No


As part of this course, students will undertake a placement of 15-20 days in collaboration with a cultural organisation (usually arranged by staff) supported by a series of lectures/workshops and tutorials. Assessment will be based on documentation, analysis and reflection on the work undertaken.  


The course is designed to enable you to develop and evaluate personal transferable skills and attributes within a working environment. It also provides you with the opportunity for close analysis of various professional creative practices and theories, and the acquisition of knowledge and experiences that will support the preparation of assessment tasks for an MA programme. Most importantly, it will help to develop skills for lifelong learning, networking and an awareness of the cultural sector(s). University education is not separate from the ‘real world’ and the placement is part of the process that develops links between the student and the profession in the region and wider economy.


During the placement period, students are under the direct supervision of a supervisor assigned from within the host organisation, with support from staff within the Institute for Cultural Practices. You will have access to placement tutorials to discuss any concerns or issues, as well as lecture/workshops to support your reflection on the placement experience.

(All fieldwork is subject to government guidelines)



• To provide students with the opportunity to acquire practical experience within the cultural sector and/or use their knowledge and research skills in cultural organizations;

• To develop further individual transferable skills gained in the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures MA programmes;

• To develop organisational awareness and build an appreciation of the working environment for cultural professionals;

• To engage with local employers in the sector through student mentoring, work-based interaction and feedback;

• To provide material for reflective practice and analysis; • To develop career choices;

• To enable the industry to develop future employees and to demonstrate the career potential that is available.

(All fieldwork is subject to government guidelines)


Teaching and learning methods

The core principle behind the placement as a learning experience is for you to undertake practice, reflect on it and then critically analyse this experience. Lectures/workshops and small group tutorials will be provided at key points of the process in order to support the individual experiences of the students and provide time for developing reflection and analysis. These sessions will introduce and support students’ work on their assessed reports. 

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the field of contemporary museum practice, the social, ethical, political and financial contexts in which the cultural sector operates today  
  • Develop knowledge and understanding of professional practices, institutional and policy contexts from direct experience as part of the work placement; 

Intellectual skills

  • Critically evaluate an organisation’s role in relation to institutional objectives, other roles and professional practices within the placement organization;
  • Apply methods and approaches learnt in the academic context to professional practice; 

Practical skills

  • Respond effectively to objectives set within a professional context, identifying specific challenges and possible solutions;
  • Develop and apply relevant practical skills as appropriate to the placement objectives;
  • Communicate information and ideas effectively in a professional environment; 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Display planning and decision-making skills in complex and unpredictable situations;
  • Critically evaluate personal performance through monitoring and analytical reflection.


Employability skills

Work experience within a cultural organisation Research skills, Critical Reflection skills application to grant-writing and assessing performance

Assessment methods

Work Placement Report 30 credits 100%


Feedback methods



Written feedback on Work Placement Report



Recommended reading

 The readings listed below relate to reflective practice. You will need to identify specific sources and literature relevant to your placement. This might include: publications by professional bodies, documents used by professionals you are working with, academic sources you have read as part of your studies on your MA or previously, and literature you have identified through your own research.


Amulya, Joy (2011), What is reflective practice? (Center for Reflective Community Practice: Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Access at:


Bolton, Gillie (2014), Reflective practice: writing and professional development (4th ed.; London: SAGE).


Campbell, Fiona and Harvey, Jen (1992), The workplace experience: a guide for students on placement (Edinburgh: Napier Polytechnic).


Cunliffe, Ann L. (2004), 'On becoming a critically reflexive practitioner', Journal of Management Education, 28, 407-26.


Moon, Jennifer A. (2004), Reflection in learning and professional development: theory and practice (2nd ed.; London: Kogan Page).


          (2004), A handbook of reflective and experiential learning: theory and practice (on-line ed.; Hoboken: Taylor & Francis).


          (2006), Learning journals: a handbook for reflective practice and professional development (London: Routledge).


Schon, Donald A. (1987), Educating the reflective practitioner: towards a new design for teaching and learning in the professions (San Francisco: Jossey Bass).


(2006), The reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action (new ed.; London: Ashgate).


Also recommended are the book chapters in Section 5 ‘Commentaries from the Field’ in: Janes, Robert R. (ed.) (2012), Museums and the Paradox of Change (London: Routledge).


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 7.5
Tutorials 3
Placement hours
Placement 140
Independent study hours
Independent study 149.5

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Andrew Hardman Unit coordinator

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