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Dr Nuria Querol

Meet your Course Director: Nuria Querol

MA Contemporary Arts China

Could you tell us about what you do?

I am an art historian and curator specialised in transcultural art and curating, global collaborations and contemporary art in China. I lived and worked in Beijing for three years where I was Visiting Research Fellow at the Central Academy of Fine Arts and Peking University. There I had the opportunity to conduct fieldwork on curating Chinese contemporary art and to extend my expertise on contemporary arts in China. My research and expertise feeds directly into the course, as well as my interest in socially and politically engaged art in China, and beyond.

What teaching approach do you take as course leader?

My teaching philosophy is student-centred. I aim to facilitate students to think for themselves and to develop a critical understanding and thinking on contemporary arts in China, and more broadly. I enjoy bringing my research into my teaching, and my teaching into my research. In my teaching I mix theoretical, practical, and arts-based knowledge, research training and professional development. This takes multiple pedagogical approaches such as museums and exhibition visits as learning tools to think on modes of art production and curatorial display. For me the key is that students are active learners and understand how practice and research, and what we learn in the class, matters to them.

What is the philosophy of your course?

The MA Contemporary Arts China is a unique research-led postgraduate programme that brings together research and practice in contemporary Chinese art, with a strong focus on professional development. The course has an interdisciplinary approach where students learn about Chinese contemporary arts in its local, regional and global context, while developing their own practice/research and gaining professional experience through an extended work placement, live research project or residency.

If you had to name one thing about your course that makes it distinct, what would it be?

The course has been developed with our leading industry partner organisations such as Ikon Gallery (Birmingham), Tate Liverpool (Liverpool), Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art (Beijing), White Rabbit Collection of Contemporary Chinese Art (Sydney) or OCAT (Xi’an and Shanghai), to name a few. Each student in the course conducts a secured work placement in one of our partner organisations, gaining professional experience and learning in the field. This certainly provides our students with an invaluable learning experience and distinguishes our graduates in a highly competitive job market.

Why is Birmingham a good place to study/work?

Birmingham is a cosmopolitan city and a cultural hub. It has all the benefits of being a big and vibrant city, with leading cultural and contemporary art institutions such as Ikon Contemporary or the Midlands Arts Centre and the more alternative scene at Digbeth with Eastside Projects and Grand Union. And let’s not forget Chinatown, where delicious Chinese restaurants sit across to many theatres and bars. Birmingham has a big community of international and home students and has a welcoming and friendly feel. It is a great place to study and live.

Why do you believe it’s important to study an MA? 

The MA Contemporary Arts China will improve your career prospects to work in the contemporary art field. China is a major global art player and with this MA you will have the opportunity to gain specialist knowledge and expertise, get first hand professional experience and learn from leading figures in the field. The MA Contemporary Arts China is part of the Centre for Chinese Visual Arts, a leading research centre in the UK for the study of Chinese contemporary arts. The Centre is led by Professor Jiang Jiehong, who also teaches on the MA, provides guidance to MA Contemporary Arts China students and co-supervises dissertations with me.

Where will the students be based during their time here? 

The MA Contemporary Arts China students are based at Birmingham School of Art in the city centre at Margaret Street campus. Here students have access to all the School of Art workshops and facilities, giving them the opportunity to experiment with new mediums and being part of a diverse and exciting postgraduate community. Students attend specific and specialised sessions for the MA Contemporary Arts China, alongside sessions for all the postgraduate courses within the School, allowing students to interact and learn with a diverse cohort of postgraduate learners.

What can students do to help prepare them for the course?

The Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art is an associate journal of the Centre for Chinese Visual Arts here at the Birmingham School of Art. It is an excellent source for students to read, to help prepare themselves for the academic debates on the course. I also encourage students to visit art exhibitions in their region to learn more about contemporary art practices.