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Go behind the scenes of the luxury business and explore the connection between luxury and art as a strategic partnership to generate innovation and stimulate economic and cultural growth.

This program is an immersive introduction to the fast-changing global industry of luxury goods and services, designed for students and professionals considering careers in this field. In recent years there has been a blurring of the boundaries between the worlds of fine art consumption and luxury more generally, as high-end consumers become as interested in art as in watches, wine, cars, yachts, jewelry, high fashion, property, and luxury lifestyles. Art fairs and auction houses are beginning to traverse these lines, while leading fashion brands engage with contemporary art as a way to connect on a deeper level with their customers and enhance their cultural leadership. This program examines these innovative intersections, providing the students with the specialist skills to create and manage the synergies between art and luxury.

Designed to fully illuminate this intersection, the program devotes one unit to the luxury industry and a second unit to the relationship between art and luxury. In the luxury unit, students explore luxury business models, strategies, trends, and analyze its consumption. In the art and luxury unit, students examine the roles of artists, designers, and curators in the luxury industry as well as the role of brands in the art world. The teaching draws on Sotheby’s Institute’s wide network in the art and luxury sectors and emphasizes the acquisition of concepts and knowledge alongside hands-on, practical skills.

As the program is based in London—a major global center for luxury creation and consumption—it explores luxury venues in central London, from flagship stores and boutiques to galleries and museums as well as ateliers and manufacturing plants. Students will be introduced to industry insiders from a wide variety of luxury sectors in order to understand the industry through exclusive behind-the-scenes access and knowledge.

UPDATE FOR FALL 2020: This course will be offered in an online format, starting September 21. Learn more.

The Details
  • Dates


    January 25 – May 7, 2021
    To ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff, we are providing remote learning from January 25 - February 12, 2021 for this program. All programs will begin onsite in London (circumstances permitting) on February 15, 2021.
    Download the Semester Booklet
  • Curriculum


    STRUCTURE: The program is divided into two units, one on the luxury industry and one on intersections of art and luxury.
    - The first unit, The Luxury Business, is taught on two days a week across the entire semester. It explores history, theory and definitions of luxury, and its contemporary economic, business, and social status, identifying its particularities as well as its place in the broader consumer landscape, and how these are changing. Students will learn about networks, relationships, key roles and organizations in the luxury industry. They will examine the themes of marketing, pricing and most importantly branding; the roles of data and technology; emerging markets and challenges to market growth; and ethical practice in the luxury industry. Aspects of London’s luxury sector will receive particular attention, as an example of the ways in which global trends can interact with a specific location of prestige and influence. The unit blends theoretical and practical learning, which includes site visits, case studies, group and project work.
    - The second unit, Art and Luxury, is taught on a different two days a week across the entire semester. It explores the increasing varieties of intersection between art and the luxury industry. The unit interrogates the theory, nature and significance of art-luxury collaborations, looking at organizations on both sides of the consumer equation and the implications, positive and negative, both for luxury and for art. The unit also explores the ways in which dimensions of artistic and art world practice such as design and curating have been adopted in luxury contexts. London’s main geographical focus for fine art, including Sotheby’s in New Bond Street, is also, and not coincidentally, the location of numerous luxury outlets, offering outstanding opportunities for studying the phenomenon which is the subject of this unit.
    ASSESSMENT: Assignments include essays, oral presentations, a journal, and group and individual projects. Appropriately qualified students may be able to undertake the 30-credit semester Work Experience Placement unit in a luxury business, in place of one of the Art of Luxury units.
  • Field Study Trips

    Field Study Trips

    London is a major center for the art world. A wide variety of faculty-led visits to art world and luxury locations forms an integral part of the learning experience. Site visits in London may include:
    - Luxury flagship stores
    - Savile Row ateliers
    - Sotheby’s Auction House
    - Victoria and Albert Museum
    - Newport Gallery
    - Wallace Collection
    Field study trips abroad are planned for Spring 2021. Destinations are yet to be determined.
    We continue to monitor and respond to the public health situation regarding COVID-19. We will take every precaution to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff and will adhere to all government travel recommendations.
  • Faculty


    Dr. Federica Carlotto (Course Leader) has 10+ years of experience in the analysis of material culture. She has appeared as a guest speaker at conferences and workshops in Italy, UK, France, Australia, Canada, and Japan on topics such as: consumption and creation of social identity; luxury trends; place branding and luxury products; the concept of luxury; cross-cultural issues in clothing (focus on Japan and Asia); social and anthropological history of costume and fashion. Carlotto is the founder of SALT, a cultural branding consultancy with focus on luxury strategy. She also collaborates on specific qualitative projects with other boutique consultancies, providing insights to companies in the luxury, fashion, and beauty industry.
    View all faculty
  • Student Stories

    Student Stories

    "This program gave me a professional perspective of the luxury industry and helped me find out and reinforce my professional skills."
    —Elena del Castillo (Student)
    Hear from previous students about their experience.
  • Credit & Validation

    Credit & Validation

    The program is validated by The University of Manchester, one of the UK’s leading universities. Students who complete the program successfully will gain 60 University of Manchester undergraduate credits.
    This generally translates to 16 undergraduate credits or 12 graduate credits in the US system and 30 credits in the European (ECTS) system. Students currently enrolled at other colleges or universities should be aware that transfer of credit is always made at the discretion of the accepting institution. Therefore, applicants should confirm the feasibility of credit transfer with faculty advisors at their home school in advance of registration.
    Students completing this program also receive a certificate from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.
  • Tuition


    SPRING 2021:
    - Full-time: £8,800
    - Part-time: £4,500
    - Trip abroad: £1,040*
    *Travel fees are indicative only and subject to change.
    Our programs require travel that may include visits to galleries, special collections, art fairs, and art-related events including destinations abroad on Semester programs. Local travel costs, i.e. (public) transport within London, are borne by the student and vary from program to program. Semester programs charge a pre-set travel fee, which is due at the same time as tuition ahead of the start of the program. This travel fee covers the cost of all study trips abroad including travel, accommodation, and entry tickets for exhibitions and other art-related events. Travel costs relating to scheduled trips to collections or museums outside of London but within the UK are borne by Sotheby’s Institute of Art.
  • Admissions


    Semester students come from a range of educational and professional backgrounds, from current students visiting from other institutions to career professionals looking to develop new areas of knowledge. As such, each application is assessed on an individual basis, and takes into account a variety of factors.
    For non-native English speakers, a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 or TOEFL score of 78 IBT is required.
    No prior art history or subject-matter knowledge is required.
    View Terms and Conditions
    For further information, please contact: or +44 (0)20 7462 3229

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