VA7041 - Curating Asian Art

What will I learn on this module?

This module is designed to equip you with a range of critical, theoretical and practical approaches to curating Asian art. It introduces you to histories of curating, as well as contemporary debates, drawing on art forms and collections from India, Tibet, Southeast Asia, China, Japan and Korea. Through seminars, expert guest lecturers, museum tours and a curatorial project you will develop your knowledge of the ideologies, politics and practices involved in curating Asian art. You will analyse different ways in which Asian art has been appropriated, interpreted, represented and exhibited at different historical periods and in different cultures, and will be encouraged to critically evaluate a range of displays. You will engage with contemporary ethical debates relating to the exhibition of sacred/religious material in museums, the increasingly important role of communities in interpreting and developing collections, as well as arguments for and against restitution.

You will develop the critical judgment, reflective practice and skills appropriate to planning and developing strategies for curating Asian art. The module introduces you to research methods that you will draw upon in the development of your assignments and personal research. You will learn how to deepen your enquiry through sustained questioning into aspects of curating Asian art that interest and inspire you. You will learn how to exchange and balance your experiences and ideas on the theme of curating Asian art with your peers. You will also learn to conduct research at post graduate level and the skills to become a strong independent learner.

How will I learn on this module?

The module encourages self-directed learning, supported and guided by the teaching of active academics and practitioners. You will learn through weekly lectures/seminars (online teaching) that introduce you to key themes and examples. Lectures and seminars introduce the breadth and depth of ideas in relation to curating Asian art and foster curiosity and analytical skills, alongside museum visits/gallery tours (actual and digital) where diverse approaches to practice offer a foundation for ongoing development of curatorial skills. Seminars are interspersed with sessions delivered by experienced practitioners and academics who offer a range of approaches to curating. The module focuses on technology-enhanced, small-group and one-on-one approaches to teaching and learning, emphasising student-centred and practical activities and debates, providing opportunities for you to make connections between theory and practice. You will further develop your critical judgment, practical skills and communication skills whilst involved in research, discussions, debates and presentations.

The summative assessment will be in the form of a Creative Portfolio (100%), which is the equivalent of 5,000 words.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Induction week introduces you to the module, teaching staff and resources available throughout the University which support academic activities. You will also receive a programme handbook and module guide offering information on specific details relating to assignment and submission dates.

Seminar sessions provide you with the opportunity to ask questions, discuss assessment criteria, develop analytical, communication and other subject-specific skills, and receive ongoing feedback. Regular attendance enables you to speak to tutors on a more informal basis about the work you are engaged in. Unscheduled conversations are useful for discussing immediate practical problems/questions or to check progress.

Further feedback will enhance your academic progress, research and practical skills by facilitating your reflection on and awareness of your achievements and potential as an active learner. Your tutors’ contact details and availability for tutorials is included in the module guide and posted to the e-Learning Portal.

All relevant course material is uploaded to the module e-Learning Portal (eLP) in a timely and organised manner supported by technology-enhanced learning as appropriate. You will be encouraged increasingly toward self-directed study over the course of your studies during this module, but clearly guided in the appropriate parameters and methodologies appropriate to professional practice and research.

The University and the Faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences have a range of mechanisms underpinned by strategy, policy and practice ensuring that you are supported in your learning, employability and career development. You can also take advantage of central university support services including Careers Advice and Chaplaincy.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1) Understanding of the different histories, practices, politics and ideologies of curating and displaying Asian art in museums around the world.
2) Ability to demonstrate a critical knowledge of the role of the museum (historically and in the present) in the production of meaning and value to Asian objects, via practices of curating and display.

Intellectual/Progressional skills & abilities:
3) Ability to use critical thinking and reflective practice in an independent pro-active manner that draws upon and synthesises a wide range of knowledge and understanding in order to develop and implement appropriate strategies for curating Asian art.
4)Demonstrate the ability to take responsibility for your own learning by: selecting the knowledge required to complete assignments from resources available on the eLP; identifying appropriate additional resources of knowledge; working on independent projects; considering the views of tutors and peers in the development or enhancement of your own work; making constructive use of feedback; shaping your assignments; and identifying your own learning needs.

Personal Values Attributes:
5) Demonstrate enthusiasm, curiosity, integrity, ethical and professional awareness in all aspects of work, communication and engagement with others, as well as sensitivity and awareness of cultural diversity and culturally diverse needs in a global context.

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessment
Formative feedback helps you to understand how you are progressing in the module as you are developing your essay and presentation/report ideas. It identifies where your work is successful and where more work is required. It helps you improve during the module and to plan ahead for your assessment. Your learning is supported by on-going feedback given by your tutors.
Formative assessment is carried out throughout the seminar sessions, in which you discuss literature, issues and themes; undertake problem-orientated tasks; and complete e-tivities relating to a wider range of issues pertinent to curating Asian art. All students are expected to read at least one of the prescribed texts each week. Peer and tutor feedback, and self-reflection, encourage sensitivity, ethics and curiosity. Tasks will encourage the ability to communicate effectively and to present yourself in a professional manner. Formative assessment will also be carried out through the briefing and development sessions in relation to the summative assessment. Presentations will enable public discussion of ideas and stimulate student interactions. This experience should enable a refinement of ideas and feed into the summative essay.

Additional Formative Feedback
Additional Formative Feedback is provided in email enquiries.
Summative Assessment
The summative assessment is a series of activities presented in a Creative Portfolio (100%), which is the equivalent of 5,000 words.

Summative feedback is written feedback given to you at the end of the module as part of the marking of your assessment. Summative feedback provides you with a comprehensive overview of your learning. It supports your continued academic progress by helping you to reflect-on and understand your achievements and how to move forward with your studies.

Electronic Submission & Feedback
Electronic submission and swift high quality feedback is provided for both formative and summative assignments. According to the University guidelines

Module Learning Outcomes
KU 1,2,3; IPSA 1,2; PVA 1,2





Module abstract

Curating Asian Art is designed to equip you with a range of critical, theoretical and practical approaches to curation, and will appeal to students wishing to pursue careers as curators in museums and galleries around the world. The module engages with practices, politics, histories and contemporary case studies, covering material from India, Tibet, Southeast Asia, China, Japan and Korea. You will learn about issues faced by contemporary curators - such as the restitution of contentious objects, sensitivities around the exhibition of religious/sacred material, and community involvement in displays. In particular, the module will provide you with the practical and intellectual skills involved in the interpretation and display of material in the Woon Gallery of Asian Art at Northumbria University by enabling you to develop a proposal to digitally re-curate objects of your choice. The module also includes actual visits and/or detailed online tours of Asian art displays in museums.

Course info

Credits 30

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year full-time
1 other options available

Department Arts

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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