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Yorkshire Sculpture Park Partnership Studentship‌

Bob and Roberta Smith, All Schools Should be Art Schools, 2017.  Courtesy the artist and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.  Photo (c)Jonty Wilde

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park Partnership Studentship will provide the successful applicant with an opportunity to undertake a placement at the gallery.  Open to all full-time and second year part-time Home/EU and Overseas applicants, this studentship has a value of £1500 and will be of particular interest to students on the Modern and Contemporary Art pathway.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

About Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Founded in 1977, Yorkshire Sculpture Park is an international centre for the creation, display and appreciation of sculpture appreciated by over 600,000 visitors each year. YSP curates a rolling temporary programme that balances established with emerging artists, objects with experiences, in four indoor galleries and an 18th-century chapel. The 500 acre historic Bretton Estate shares over 50 works in the open air and permanent site-specific interventions such as Deer Shelter Skyspace by James Turrell, an Art Fund commission.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park is located just outside the city of Wakefield in West Yorkshire.  You are free to make your own travel arrangements to suit your needs, but we would suggest a train from York to Wakefield Westgate (~40 minutes; a great chance to do some reading!) followed by a bus or taxi to take you the remaining seven miles to the Park.

The partnership

The partnership

The highly productive curatorial team conceive and deliver the programme to UK museum standards and the placement will be hands-on in the busy office, experiencing every aspect of work. The successful candidate will demonstrate a contagious enthusiasm for modern and contemporary art and the ways in which this can be shared with diverse audiences. They will need to be highly organised, an excellent communicator and able to work within the team as well as on their own initiative. In return they will gain excellent training and insight into the role of a curator in support of their future career prospects.

Tasks may include, but are not limited to: undertaking research, auditing and/or cataloguing existing collections and new acquisitions, including updating electronic databases; assisting with the acquisition of new works; assisting with the planning and assembly of exhibitions; organising, attending and contributing to museum/gallery events; giving talks to the general public; contributing to publications; and undertaking training or induction activities, as required by the museum/gallery.

The successful applicant will have the opportunity to undertake a volunteer placement at YSP equating to about one day a week over the period. In practice, hours will fit around the placement holder's university work. The placement will be timed to take place at the end of the taught component of the MA programme and before dissertation research begins in earnest.  The details of the work to be undertaken will be agreed between the placement holder, YSP and Academic Supervisor at the outset of the placement.

The student view

The student view

What are you currently working on?

At the moment, I’m incorporating the recommendations of an outside adviser and my own observations into restructuring YSP’s procedural manual. This manual is the guide people use in order to keep the Park functioning‌ at its internationally-renowned and ambitious level, so the pressure’s on. Before this, I was doing research on artists for on-going or upcoming exhibitions, drafting and editing didactic texts and guidebooks, as well as lending a hand to a short-term installation by Amp Art entitled refuge/e, which resituated a refugee shelter from the Beqaa Valley on YSP grounds. There’s always something new and interesting to help with here!

What experiences would you say have been most useful or unexpected?

It’s been wonderful to observe how the curators conceptualize and carry out projects over the past eight months. The staff at YSP is relatively small, so everyone is multitalented and adept at juggling a myriad of things at once. At previous internships, my role would be specific to one project or type of work: ie, cataloguing, research, data entry, etc. Here, I’ve gained a diverse range of experiences in a short amount of time. Working in this kind of environment has encouraged me to better oscillate between tasks, ask questions liberally, and communicate articulately.

What do you value most about your experience with the institution?

Outside of the professional growth, I most value the opportunity to visit the Park every week! The landscape is gorgeous, and the sculpture punctuates it in some surprising and fascinating ways. I particularly like having an excuse to visit the former Chapel, where two of my favourite exhibitions have been staged since starting my placement. I went walking for a break a few weeks ago, and discovered there was a huge plot of the park I hadn’t yet explored! It really is a unique institution, not only because of the landscape but moreover because of how YSP chooses to engage that landscape.

How has your work with Yorkshire Sculpture Park enhanced your studies at York?

There are dozens of contemporary artists on my mind now whom I wouldn’t have been introduced to if it wasn’t for YSP—the Park makes a point to support both established and emerging artists. I have a growing Word Doc of future research prompts based on some of the artists I’ve met or researched while completing my placement, and I’m excited to explore them in the future. It’s also given me an excuse to step away from my studies for a little while, which helps clarify some of the questions and prompts I work through during the rest of the week.

Do you feel it has been helpful with career planning or improved your job prospects, and if yes, how?

Definitely! My CV is more robust now, and I’ve been able to fill in some gaps in my experience. Additionally, YSP is a name that people recognize, and the staff is well-networked. I’ve gotten a lot of needed job advice from discussions with staff members at YSP that I look forward to taking with me once I complete my MA.

Would you recommend it to future students?



Kat Lukes - Previous recipient of the YSP Partnership Studentship



Studentship applications are welcomed from all full-time students, and part-time students in their second year of study, on the MA in History of Art, or a related pathway degree, regardless of fee status (Home, EU or Overseas).

How to apply 

Submit an enthusiastic personal statement of no more than 800 words which explains your interest in, and suitability for, this partnership opportunity. In particular, we will be looking for:

  • your awareness of, interest in and commitment to the period / theme / collection(s) of the partner institution
  • any relevant skills, knowledge and/or experience
  • how you see the award fitting in with and facilitating your career plans

Remember to consult the information on this webpage, and the partner institution's own website, before you apply.

Please email your personal statement to by 11am (BST) on Monday 21 October 2019.


Shortlisted applicants will be invited for interview within the Autumn Term 2019. Please allow time in your diary for travel and attendance and email us ( if you have any questions.

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marc quinn, wilder shores of desire 2011 (c)jonty wilde