Master's Programme in Visual Culture and Contemporary Art - Curating, Managing and Mediating Art (CuMMA)


Master of Arts.
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120 ECTS

Field of Study:

Art and Design


2 years, full-time


An appropriate Bachelor´s degree or an equivalent qualification.
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Tuition fees & scholarships:

Yes, for non-EU citizens.
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Language of Instruction:

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Organising school/s:

School of Arts, Design and Architecture

Organising department/s:

Department of Art

Further information:

Master's Programme in Curating, Managing and Mediating Art (CuMMA) will not accept new students for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Note! Master's Programme in Curating, Managing and Mediating Art (CuMMA) will not accept new students for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Goal of education

CuMMA (Curating, Managing and Mediating Art) is a two-year, transdisciplinary major on contemporary art and its publics. It provides a structure for reflection and acting, learning and organizing in art institutions and the public sphere. We aim to explore possibilities to understand and shift the paradigms of contemporary art and the world around us. Thus we understand curating, educating and organizing as ways of being active, of creating relations and of being open for unexpected encounters, thoughts and knowledges.

The CuMMA studies give the students the opportunity to learn with and from artists, activists, practitioners and theorists. The content is actively developed in relation to the changing demands of the curatorial and cultural field. We put an emphasis on developing ways to promote each student’s own curatorial, theoretical and educational thinking. Our pedagogical models are based on shared expertise and exploratory learning and are applied in order to create an open, conversational and dialogic space for learning and acting.

The studies develop comprehensive and innovative professional expertise in critical curating, managing and mediating art. The students learn to navigate the multifaceted theoretical and practical sceneries of the art world. CuMMA graduates are professionals who are able to use their knowledge both imaginatively and critically in various tasks and organizations within the contemporary art scene.

Content outcomes

  • Students understand and are interested in international discourses on the visual art scene
  • Students learn and discuss about relevant theories for curating, managing and mediating art
  • Students see the interconnectedness of cultural substances and organizational practices, and can shift their perspective from individual processes to institutions and to public sphere
  • Students get an insight in the classical curatorial tasks as collecting, showing, researching, organizing and mediating, they learn to analyze them critically within history and to actualize them for their practices

Skill outcomes

  • Students are aware of different representational and post-representational practices, and can use different methods to produce, curate and build exhibition contents
  • Students learn about and experiment with strategies of conceptualization, narration, visualization, education and communication of projects in museums and institutions

Academic skills

  • Students learn to analyze and write on exhibitions
  • Students are able to engage in open research processes that think together theory and practice based approaches
  • Students master the basics of academic writing, and are able to use valid references in their texts

More about the language of instruction

The language of instruction in the Master’s Programme in Visual Culture and Contemporary Art; Curating, Managing and Mediating Art (CuMMA) is English. More information about the languages of instruction at Aalto University.

Education content

The CuMMA Major comprises theoretical lessons, workshops, practical projects, excursions and a thesis. Theoretical studies respond critically to the current practices of curating, educating and organizing in the field of contemporary art. Mutually, the practical side of the CuMMA studies aims to (re)conceptualize and challenge the conventions of the art world. Together with its curatorial and educational core content, the major also gives its students insights in critical management studies of the cultural field. It employs experimental and intensive forms of study to give the students the opportunity to analyse institutional structures and invent new strategies of organizational thinking and practices.

The two-year major consists of 120 ECTS composed of shared studies, optional studies and specialisation studies. The curriculum is based on personal study plans, in which the students can also include studies completed elsewhere (during the degree or previously), optional art courses or other modules from Aalto University.

For further details on the education content, see the study guide for the academic year of 2016-2017.

Career opportunities

Graduates mainly find employment with diverse art organisations, such as art museums, galleries, artists’ associations, art and culture projects or initiatives, and foundations or trust funds. Graduates have the skills for working independently and creating new operating models for the field.


Graduates of CuMMA Major will work as curators, gallery educators, producers, researchers and art critics as well as coordinators, managers and directors in the cultural sector.


The CuMMA Major hosts several international lecturers and seminars throughout the two study years, field visits and excursions abroad are done on several occasions, and all the courses are taught in English. CuMMA Discourse Series lectures and CuMMA Papers articles introduce international guests and their viewpoints to the Finnish and international audience. Since its launch in 2010 CuMMA has collaborated with numerous Finnish and international instituitions such as FRAME, HIAP, EMMA Museum, Kiasma, the Finnish Photography Museum, the Design Museum, Checkpoint Helsinki, and Ateneum. Visiting lectures on CuMMA have included Irit Rogoff (London, CuMMA Visiting Professor 2012–2014), Doreen Mende (Berlin), Suzana Milevska (Skopje), Manuela Bojadzijev (Berlin), H.ARTA (Timisoara), Toledo i Dertschei (Vienna), Annie Fletcher (Eindhoven), Stefano Harney (Singapore), Barbara Schroeder (New York).

Admission prodecure

Applicants for the Master’s Degree Programme in Visual Culture and Contemporary Art; Curating, Managing and Mediating Art (CuMMA) apply in the Master’s level admissions in the field of Art and Design. Selection for Master's degree programmes is done through a two-stage selection process. The admission criteria is based on the applicants’ educational backgrounds, other studies and orientation in the field (1). Other elements are an essay including a project plan from the field of curating, managing or mediating art (replacing the study plan required in the general Aalto admission criteria) (2), a portfolio (3) and an assessment seminar (interview + group task) (4), for the applicants selected to the second stage of the process. All four sections are evaluated on scale 1-5. Particular attention is paid to the applicants’ interest in understanding and challenging exhibitions, gallery education and phenomena in contemporary art. Skills are required in producing, interpreting and reviewing texts. Another criterion is the applicants’ interaction ability.

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