Curating – what’s it all about?

Straight from latest issue of the  School of Arts & Creative Industries Magazine , we’re sharing extracts from an interview with MIMA’s exhibitions and collection curator, Helen Welford, who tells us a little bit about her job.

Helen studied BA (Hons) Fine Art in Manchester. Following graduation she moved back to the region and set up a studio. Keen to further her learning she undertook an MA Art Museum and Gallery Studies and began curating at Newcastle University, as well as getting involved with Saltburn Artists Projects. Helen’s role at MIMA has changed over the years. Beginning as a gallery assistant, she moved up through the ranks from assistant curator to exhibitions and collections curator

“My favourite thing about being a curator is working with artists to develop ideas for shows. I love working on commissions and helping artists develop new work. My job is incredibly varied and every day is different. From studio visits to planning an exhibition to designing the gallery’s look and feel, it can be very creative.”

The School of Arts & Creative Industries at Teesside University offers an MA Curating as well as a Degree Apprenticeship in Curating, which awards an MA Curating along with the apprenticeship qualification. The degree apprenticeship offers an excellent opportunity for individuals in a curating role to gain a masters level qualification in their specialism whilst discovering the benefits of networking with other like-minded curators, studying part-time in our international art gallery and museum MIMA (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art), whilst still working and earning.

Helen’s advise for anyone considering a career in curating – “I recommend that you see as much art as possible. Read magazines and websites and soak it all up. Go to as much locally as you can but also try and go further afield. Art online has really advanced during the pandemic and it can be a great place to come across new artists. Go to openings and meet people. Ask for support and mentoring, people are happy to help. Middlesbrough is a great place to be in the art world and make things happen.”

Find out more about our Curating Degree Apprenticeship (MA)




Fine Art students from the School of Arts & Creative Industries at Teesside University, recently curated their own exhibition with the support of Pineapple Black‘s contemporary arts space in Middlesbrough

The all-female student collective, in the second year of their Fine Art degree course, described their work as being based  upon responding and reacting to the works that they have discovered within their environment.


The exhibition process created an opportunity for the students to experiment with their craft and to find their preferred methods of work. It also allowed them to find faults in their work and correct future pieces – all vital learning for future events as they progress on to employment within the creative industries following graduation.


Identifying the challenges of curating an exhibition as a group was a new experience for the students, who come from a variety of art backgrounds – some studied art in college but for others this was a completely new direction.  Working out how their works were going to be installed, how to complement the space and each others work, and how to find appropriate entertainment to add that something extra to the event were all challenging considerations.

The students also recognised obstacles with their own work, with some pieces taking a lot of physical labour to complete and install, but these were overcome by working effectively as a team, resulting in an inspirational immersive arts experience, Bamboozled.


Lecturers from the School of Arts & Creative Industries supported the students, offering new perspectives to both making and displaying works and working closely with the them to ensure they were fully satisfied with the overall look and feel of their work and the exhibition as a whole.

The installation period was collectively our favourite part of the process

quotes student Leah Roberts,

seeing all of our hard work come together in a much larger space was really enjoyable.”


More of the students’ work can be seen on their Instagram accounts:

The BA (Hons) Fine Art at Teesside University provides studio-based learning that allows students to specialise in painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography and/or new media. Students have open access to all media workshops to develop their personally defined project themes.

Teeside University’s has an Open Day on Saturday June 25th for anyone wishing to explore the facilities, tour the campus and chat with lecturers and students

Great Creations From Visiting Students

Students from Middlesbrough College and Stockton Riverside College spent the afternoon at Teesside University this week, participating in workshops delivered by the School of Arts & Creative Industries.

The workshops were part of the school’s MIMA Great Create activity days. A range of workshop activities were provided, from 3D modelling to drawing with nature and designing their own T-shirts.

One group of students made use of the university’s Adobe Create Campus status and were provided with guest logins, enabling them to use Adobe Spark. They were taught how they could source royalty-free images to create their own e-zine  

Teachers accompanying the students enjoyed the activities, feeding back to the academic team “great to meet you and love the work the students did”

The School of Arts & Creative Industries is holding one more MIMA Great Create Activity Day on Wednesday 13th April – anyone interested in coming along to experience the facilities on offer can register here


Find out more about our courses:


It’s Competition Time!


The School of Arts and Creative Industries at Teesside University opens its doors once again on 30th March, with workshops and activities to encourage creative thinking and possibly sow the seeds for some new entries to our MIMA Great Create competition. Register here if you want to come along and join us.

With 6 weeks to go until the deadline for entries Elinor Morgan, Artistic Director of MIMA (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art) and judge for the competition, invites entrants to surprise her with their entries. Here’s what she has to say…

Elinor Morgan talks about the MIMA Great Create competition

Find out about our courses at the School of Arts & Creative Industries:

Art & Design

Media & Journalism

Music Technology

Performing Arts