Centre for Curatorial Studies
Our Centre for Curatorial Studies is a research and teaching unit focusing on contemporary
curatorial practice and theory, and contemporary museology.
Curatorial studies students benefit from our close working partnerships with our University gallery
Art Exchange, and Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA),
which has a state-of-the-art teaching and research space
and is the largest collection of its kind in Europe.
We also work with a range of external partners, including firstsite gallery.
We offer a range curating courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
BA Curatorial Studies
MA in Curating
Our MA in Curating
is ideal for anyone interested in starting or developing a career in curating or working in galleries,
museums and other cultural institutions. It combines specialist modules with the option to curate an
exhibition at our University’s Art Exchange gallery;
write a dissertation; or produce a detailed proposal for a major, research-led exhibition.
MBA Museum Management
PhD Curating enables you to pursue advanced curatorial study through a combination
of research-based exhibition project with an accompanying thesis.
Curating Masters student exhibition
at our University’s Art Exchange gallery.
Other academic staff from our School contribute
to our teaching and research provision, and throughout the year we invite curators, artists and other
arts professionals as visiting lecturers.
Discover curatorial studies
In this video, our Centre for Curatorial Studies Co-Directors Dr Michael Tymkiw
and Dr Gavin Grindon talk about the range of practical, historical and
theoretical expertise from which our students benefit alongside facilities such as
Art Exchange and Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA).
Firstsite gallery, Colchester (photo: Richard Bryant).
Every year students taking our
produce an exhibition as part of the programme of our University’s Art Exchange
Students gain valuable first-hand experience of the development and organisation of an exhibition and
its programme of related public events, from working with artists, galleries and collections to source
artworks, to installation, marketing and audience engagement.
Seeking Beyond the Surface window installation.
Seeking beyond the surface: reflecting, distorting, mirroring, 25 April – 26 May 2012
- Artists: Hans Breder, Joan Jonas, Oscar Muñoz, Adad Hanah, Elina Brotherus.
- Curators: Chih-Chi Wang, Pei-Hsin chain, Isadora Liquori and Min-Huei Tsai.
- Exhibition Facebook page.
Seeking beyond the surface presented examples of the ways in which contemporary art approaches the world of reflections, distortions and unusual forms of mirroring.
The display featured artists using different reflective surfaces to represent reality that engages with different forms of perception and definition of the self far from empirical ones.
Michel Blazy’s Wall That Peels (1998) from the exhibition Timeframe.
Timeframe, 30 April – 11 June 2011
- Artists: Liz Ballard, Michel Blazy, Ori Gersht, Carla Guagliardi, Robert Smithson, Nika Neelova, Tom Pope.
- Curators: Tsung-Yi Chen, Daisy Courtauld, Katia Denysova, Hilary Jones, Sara Kellett, Kathryn Lemkus, Jo Mayhew, Jonathan Weston and Elizabeth Whitehouse.
- Exhibition Facebook page.
Timeframe sought to unveil the invisible construction of the museum as a space in which time is seemingly naturally suspended. Each of the works directly challenged this often
inherent notion of gallery as a space beyond time.
Installation shot from Neopangaea at the University’s Art Exchange gallery.
Neopangaea, 27 April – 22 May 2010
- Artists: Rasheed Araeen, Roderick Buchanan, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Adnan Charara, Eduardo Padilha, and Sama Alshaibi.
- Curators: Holly Bowen, Elizabeth Fox, Leon Garcia Lopez de la Osa, William Heppa, Ying-Tee Lee, Margherita Molinari, Arianna Sangiovanni, and Hung-Fei Wu.
- Exhibition Facebook page.
Neo Pangaea explored the idea of a new Pangaea, the ancient Greek word for the supercontinent that existed 200 million years ago. No longer a geographical location, this
reinvented Pangaea is a metaphor for multiculturalism in modern society. The exhibition brought together artworks that challenge and question perceptions of cultural diversity.
León Ferrari, Rua (1980-200), from the exhibition Stucturescapes; © the artist, image courtesy of ESCALA.
Structurescapes, 1 – 26 June 2010
- Artists: David Cotterrell, Jane Prophet, Sachiyo Nishimura, Léon Ferrari and Sinta Werner.
- Curators: Priscilla Buschinelli, Elli-Anna Peristeraki, Harriet Pratt, and Carly Turnage.
- Exhibition catalogue.
Structurescapes explored images of rural and urban constructed environments to reveal how utopian and dystopian principles manifest themselves in our everyday surroundings.
Students installing Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Microphone (2008) for Socially Active.
Socially active, 24 April – 30 May 2009
- Artists: Aram Bartholl, Cao Fei, Rafael Lozano‐Hemmer, Paul Notzold, Thomson and Craighead.
- Curators: Rachael Baum, Vivian So Hyun Choi, Helena Copsey, Sue‐Na Gay, Grace Zihua Lu, Sara Taylor.
Socially Active consisted entirely of interactive artworks and aimed to explore and question the effect that modern technologies have had on contemporary sociality.
With the emergence of new social technologies, people can connect and communicate with each other faster and more efficiently than ever before.
Socially Active was inspired by
debates surrounding the use of these technologies, particularly the growing popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.
Installation shot from Yours, Mine, Ours.
Yours, mine, ours: appropriation in contemporary art, 21 April – 31 May 2008
- Artists: Jake and Dinos Chapman, Christian Holstad, Idris Khan, Seb Patane, Pierre Bismuth, Graham Dolphin, and Loukia Alavanou.
- Curators: Nikki Arnold, Melissa Blanchflower, Myra Brooks, Eleni Chatziantoniou, Sarah Fairclough, Anupama Prakash, and Charikleia Sevastou.
Yours Mine Ours explored the use of appropriated imagery by established and emerging artists. Using photographs, film stills, newspaper cuttings and historical artworks, these
artists layer, erase, rework and manipulate found images until the original focus and meanings are severely obscured or even destroyed, creating new visual narratives on the foundations
of the old.
Jorge Luis Macchi’s Vidas Paralelas (1996), from the exhibition Reality Undone; © the artist, image courtesy of ESCALA.
- Artists: Frode Fjerdingstad and Marcus Palmqvist, Jorge Macchi, Chema Madoz, Duane Michaels, Ivan Navarro, Richard Wentworth.
- Curators: Sarah Clementson, Evi Papavergou, Eva Ledaki, Victoria Rookyard, and Maria Tidball-Binz.
Reality Undone aimed to challenge our perception of reality. It explored the representation of mystery and the trick within contemporary art, taking Michel Foucault's 1973 book
This is not a pipe as a starting point.
Logo from exhibition De-sign.
De-sign, 10 May – 8 June 2006
- Artists: Rupert Clamp, Antti Laitinen, Langlands and Bell, Paul Moss, Paul Schutze, Alex Villar.
- Curators: Wen-Chin Chi, Ashlee Gross, Leigh Hazzard, Alex Hugo.
This exhibition was borne out of a desire to stimulate enquiry into the language of architecture, exploring its intrinsic relationship with human behaviour and our understanding
of urban systems worldwide. Using artworks by emerging and well established artists, De-sign transformed the Art Exchange gallery into a space revealing the presence of an entire
language encoded within our built environment.
Installation shot from e:motive.
e:motive, 15 June – 6 July 2006
- Artists: Jim Andrews, Giselle Beiguelman, Ladislao Pablo Gyori, Eduardo Kac, Robert Kendall, María Mencía, Ana María Uribe, Brian Kim Stefans and Nico Vassilakis.
- Curators: Laura Carnicero, Lydia Gordon, Elina Leventaki and Caroline Sones.
e:motive: Visual Poetry in the Digital Age was the first UK exhibition of computer-generated visual poetry, showcasing a variety of works by international artists based in Argentina,
Brazil, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The Contingency of Curation conference at Tate Britain.
The Contingency of Curation
Curating students from the University of Essex, Chelsea College of Art and Design and Sheffield Hallam University collaborated to produce a conference at Tate Britain and accompanying publication exploring key topical issues in the theory and practice of curating.
Project Biennale book launch in Venice.
Project Biennale, June 2009
- Contributing artists and curators: Lana Mullen, Regina Shin, Bryan Eccleshall, Rachael Bau, The Hut Project, Kirsten Cooke, Dale Holmes, Martyn Cashmore, Goesta Diercks, James Stevens,
Harriet Davies, Becky Shaw, Ann Harezlak, Sayoko Nakahara, Ingrid Swenson, Teresa Gleadowe, Yan Geat Cheng, Mafalda Susin, Jeni Walwin, Marion Coutts, Helena Copsey, Fiona Shipwright,
Bruce Haines, Alex Rich, Luiza Holub, Sue-Na Gay, Sarah Smizz, Taylor Le Fin, Paul O'Neill, Natalie Mortimer, Hamja Ahsan, Jeffrey Charles, Henry Peacock, Maxa Zoller and Pippa Lennox.
- Project Biennale blog
- Project Biennale publication
For Project Biennale, curatorial students from the University of Essex, Chelsea College of Art and Design and Sheffield Hallam University collaborated
to produce an exhibition in book form investigating the peripheral activities that extend and support the experience of the phenomenon that is Biennale culture.
The book was launched at The Venice Biennale's opening week.
Art Exchange gallery
Our University gallery Art Exchange runs an exciting programme of exhibitions and artist and curator talks - allowing our students to see art
works first hand as well as to gain work experience.
Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel
Our Centre for Curatorial Studies Co-Director, Dr Gavin Grindon has helped Banksy curate a Museum of Colonialism
at the heart of The Walled Off Hotel which the artist has opened in Bethlehem.