Project information

50 Years of Exhibition-Making

The Ruskin School and Modern Art Oxford have formed a dynamic partnership to create a new graduate studentship. This will provide a unique opportunity for an emerging curator, critic or historian to research MAO’s archive and work on a publication covering 50 years of important exhibition-making.

February 2011 - September 2014

Charity information: The Ruskin School of Drawing & Fine Art

The Ruskin School of Drawing & Fine Art logo
  • Need


    The Archive at MAO comprises a wealth of material that remains largely unexplored. It includes extensive documentation on every exhibition presented at MAO as well as rare correspondence between the gallery's directors and exhibiting artists, revealing intimate ideas about the intentions of exhibitions, artists' views on their work and its presentation in a public space. The critical history of MAO's exhibiting activity, which would be of wider public interest, is yet to be written.


    By linking the two leading contemporary art institutions in Oxford, we are enabling a graduate student to use the archive as a resource and point of departure for a piece of research. By giving an editorial voice to a 50 year period of exhibition-making from one of Europe's most distinguished contemporary art venues, this collaboration will unlock previously unseen highlights from the gallery's archive presenting academic findings in a publicly accessible and creative way.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To create a graduate studentship at doctoral level to research 50 years of exhibition making at MAO.


    » Collaboratively, formalise a research brief for the project, adhering to Oxford University guidelines.
    » Advertise new position through widest contemporary art and academic journals as well as through digital media.
    » Shortlist and interview for studentship, selecting the most suitable candidate.

    By advertising widely and recruiting the best possible candidate to carry out the research over the designated period.

    Aim 2

    To support the research of a graduate student on the history of exhibition making at MAO.


    » Through sustained academic and practical support provided by the academic supervisor at the Ruskin and by the MAO team.

    By adhering to the best practice in supporting students through regular evaluation and monitoring by both partners and through rigorous academic supervision at Oxford University.

    Aim 3

    To disseminate this research to the widest audience.


    » Through a series of public talks and events in both institutions and at appropriate conferences
    » Publish findings in a book, producing a comprehensive history of exhibition making at MAO available to the public.

    Success will be a doctoral thesis submitted to the University of Oxford and an additional publication entitled 'Fifty Years of Exhibition Making at Modern Art Oxford, 1965-2015'.

  • Impact


    The project will have an impact on the future exhibition programme of the museum and a significant scholarly impact in the fields of museology, archival research, fine art practice and art history.


    As funding for Arts & Humanities is fast diminishing, a risk is that researchers will not find the financial means to pursue doctoral study. As our proposed project is on a predesignated topic, we need to provide funding to encourage the best qualified scholar to undertake the research. To ensure project success, MAO have allocated core funding to provide appropriate support staffing and access to gallery resources. The Ruskin in turn will give academic supervision of the highest standards.


    We will regularly update supporters on the progress of the project, inviting them to all related public events and lectures held at the Ruskin School and MAO, together with updates on the websites.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £80,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £12,000 Tuition Fees Total Oxford University tuition fees at UK/EU rates for three years of full time doctoral study
      £6,500 College Fees Total Oxford University college fees at UK/EU rates for three years full time doctoral study
      £41,500 Maintenance Cost of living for three years of doctoral study
      £5,000 Advertising and Travel 2000 for advertising the studentship and 1000 per year for research related travel
      £15,000 Book Design and publishing
  • Background


    Both partner institutions are based in Oxford. The Ruskin School is the Fine Art Department of the University of Oxford. It has an international reputation as a leading art school. Modern Art Oxford was founded in 1965. Its primary aim was 'the advancement of education of the general public in the modern visual arts'. It was one of the first galleries to be supported directly by Arts Council England and has always been at the leading edge of progressive contemporary art practice.


    Both partners will organise a rich and diverse series of talks and events aiming to disseminate the research but also to initiate a public dialogue on the cultural contribution of academic institutions and museums. In addition, MAO will put significant emphasis on digital dissemination of research work which will be carried out through a specialist team.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Both partners are in a unique position to ensure the success of the project. MAO not only owns the archive but can also contribute a strong network of administrative and practical support to the researcher. The Ruskin will provide the academic context within which the research will be placed.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Dr Katerina Reed-Tsocha

    As Director of Graduate Studies at the Ruskin, KRT will draw upon her extensive experience to undertake the academic supervision of the project.

    Michael Stanley

    As Director of Modern Art Oxford, MS will co-ordinate the project and will give methodological and practical guidance in researching the archive.

    Sarah Wilkinson

    As Research Assistant at the Ruskin, SW will co-ordinate the fundraising campaign and will act as the point of contact between both organisations.