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This programme is an immersive introduction to the fast-changing global industry of luxury goods and services, designed for students 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, jewellery, 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. This course examines these innovative intersections.

London is a major centre for luxury. The course explores luxury venues through central London site visits, and students will be introduced to industry insiders from a wide variety of luxury sectors in order to understand the industry and its workings.

The teaching draws on Sotheby’s Institute of Art’s wide network in the art and luxury sectors and emphasizes the acquisition of concepts and knowledge alongside hands-on, practical skills.

The program requires no prior knowledge of the field. Download the Semester Prospectus.

The Details
  • Course Dates

    Course Dates

    Fall 2019: September 09, 2019 – December 18, 2019
    Spring 2020:  January 20, 2020 – May 1, 2020
  • Structure, Teaching Methods And Assignments

    Structure, Teaching Methods And Assignments

    The course is divided into two units, one on the luxury industry and one on intersections of art and luxury.

    The first unit, entitled 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 organisations 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, entitled 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 organisations 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.

    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 (ABFP 02) in a luxury business, in place of one of the Art of Luxury units.
  • Sample Topics

    Sample Topics

    • History, theory and definitions of luxury

    • Brand management and co-branding

    • Pricing and marketing

    • Accessing and interpreting data

    • Luxury online

    • The geography of luxury and emerging markets

    • Employability in the luxury sector

    • The role of London

    • The role of fashion brands

    • Philanthropy

    • The roles of artists, designers and curators in the luxury industry

    • Art foundations

    • Art sponsorship: restorations, museums, exhibitions, art fairs

    • Art programmes

    • Art competitions and awards

    • Auction houses and luxury

  • Field Trips And Study Visits

    Field Trips And Study Visits

    London is a major centre 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.

    There will also be a four-day visit to Milan, a European centre for luxury.
  • Credits And Validation

    Credits And 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.
  • Faculty


    Dr Federica Carlotto; Course Leader, The Art of Luxury, London
  • Admission To The Program

    Admission To The Program

    There are no formal admission requirements except a good level of English language competence (a minimum IELTS score of 6.0. or TOEFL score of 78 IBT). Although no prior knowledge is required, the Institute offers places to motivated students with a passion for art and the art world. Applicants are interviewed in person or by phone. Our students are of all ages and come from a wide variety of educational and professional backgrounds. The international make-up of the student body at Sotheby’s Institute of Art generates a rich and dynamic learning environment.

    Click here
    to read student stories.
  • Program Fees

    Program Fees

    Fall 2019:
    Full-time: £8,500
    Part-time: £4,400
    Trip abroad: £990

    Spring 2020:
    Full-time: £8,500
    Part-time: £4,400
    Trip abroad: £990

    If you are enrolled as a part-time student, you can request to join the study trip abroad even if it falls in the period you are not studying. Please contact Federica Galoppo, Semester Programme Manager at to indicate your interest and add the travel fees to the payment when you settle the balance of your tuition fees.

    Click here to read Terms and Conditions.

    Click here to apply.
  • Further Information

    Further Information

    For further information, please contact: or Request Information
    T +44 (0)20 7462 3221

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