Film Programming and Curating (MA)

Year of entry


Start date

October 2018


Central London


Fully Approved


One year full-time or two years part-time


Two days a week full-time or one day a week part-time, October to September

A first of its kind, this MA Film Programming and Curating explores the diverse ways in which films are selected and presented to an audience. Studying in the heart of London, one of the world’s leading media hubs, this MA takes full advantage of its location to build professional networks, visit various sites of exhibition (from galleries and museums to film festivals and cultural centres) and learn about contemporary film programming and curatorial practice.

The MA provides a strong academic foundation and relates the latest theoretical thinking to critical practice. It encourages an independence of intellectual thought and spirit, equipping you with the necessary skills and historical and critical knowledge to nurture film and film culture.

This MA offers a historical, intellectual and conceptual understanding of film programming, curatorial practice and moving image culture. Its curriculum involves:

  • theories of spectatorship, the audience and the changing conditions of film reception
  • sites of exhibition and the architecture of the filmic experience
  • the role of the archive, film canons and the exhibition of great collections
  • the practicalities involved in programming a film and locating audiences for it.

The MA combines these strong historical, theoretical and academic foundations with site visits across London, as well as providing students with internships at leading cultural institutions and film centres, such as the ICA and BFI. Students have the chance to programme events for organisations as diverse as BFI Education, the Korean Cultural Centre and other film centres around London.

The MA’s teachers are internationally distinguished academics while visits from cultural practitioners introduce students to experienced film programmers, curators and art practitioners. Making full use of the opportunities offered by our proximity to London’s vibrant film culture this MA provides a first step towards building a career in film programming and exhibition, or for further research into the cultures of curating and curatorial practice.

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Course structure

This programme consists of compulsory and core modules to a total of 180 credits.

Core course

The core course, History Theory Methods, runs over the autumn and spring terms and consists of screenings, site visits and weekly seminars. It consists of the following parts:

  • historical perspectives on audiences and theories of spectatorship
  • spaces and places of film exhibition, with London as a case study
  • great film collections and sites of exhibition
  • practices of curating and programming.

    Autumn term modules

    Spring term module

    Summer term

    • Themes in Film Festivals, including a week-long trip to the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June.
    • In the summer term, there is the opportunity to complete a placement in a relevant institution.
    • There will also be weekly lectures by visiting film, media or gallery professionals as part of the Invited Speakers course.

    Final project

    The Final Project involves a 10-12,000-word dissertation, exploring a topic of individual choice related to any aspect of film programming and curating, combined with a short programme that realises the key ideas of the thesis.

    Full-time students will complete all modules in one year. Part-time students take History Theory Methods in Year 1 and the remaining modules in Year 2.

    Read more about modules
    Visit the Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies