The course will give an overview of contemporary museum practice for curators with a focus on potential new definitions of museums and the issues that need to be considered in current times of transition.

Moving from the foundational definitions of what museums are and do in relation to curatorial practice, the course will explore critical contemporary topics such as decolonization of exhibitions, gender representation and ethical sponsorship debates within the institutional culture. We will discuss social engagement strategies and participatory outreach programmes, curating socially engaged art, community collaboration and co-creation of exhibitions using digital platforms.

Drawing on the history of the development of museums from the early collections to the contemporary multi-faceted institutions that we are familiar with today, the course concludes with a re-evaluation of the definition of museums. We will critically address what might be expected of such institutions in the future, as well as provide insights into the curatorial challenges and dynamics that new models may hold.

The classes draw on both historic and contemporary case studies from civic museums to private art foundations within an international context. We will take a practical and interactive approach, with exercises each week and a workshop-like discussion in the final session.

Week 1. Presentation

  • Introduction to the program and course overview.

This is a one-hour-only welcome session. The lecturer will introduce the program and participants will introduce themselves. No prior preparation is necessary.

Week 2: Redefining curatorial practice within museums

  • Post-critical museology; new museum theory and practice.
  • The transforming nature of museums and the role of the curator in the 21st century.
  • An attempt to redefine curatorial practice within cultural institutions in times of transition.
  • In what ways are museum architecture and exhibition design changing in response to the above?
  • How are collections being diversified?

Week 3: Museums and communities

  • Curators, collections and the co-creation of exhibitions.
    Socially engaged art, curatorial practice and online strategies in community outreach.
  • The role of contemporary curating in diversifying public programmes and the use of interactive tools.
  • Shared authority in curating: using digital platforms to invite diverse local community groups to participate in co-creating exhibitions.
  • At your local museum or community cultural/art centre, what would exhibition co-creation and shared curatorial authority look like?

Week 4: The ethics of curating

  • Uncomfortable museums and the ethics of curating: colonialism, minorities, gender narratives, trauma representation: A presentation of different case-studies of contemporary museums and relevantly-themed exhibitions within museums.
  • A critical look into the history of collections and group representation within museums.
  • Where the money comes from; the ethics of funding and sponsorship in creating museum exhibitions.
  • Curatorial practice as museum activism: Can curating be a form of activism within institutions to address contemporary issues and conflicting histories?

Week 5: The future of museum curation

  • Towards a new definition of the museum and the future of curatorial practice within the institution
  • A review of case studies, new design and new strategies
  • This session will have a workshop format with discussion from all participants

Hesperia Iliadou-Suppiej was the Curator of the Malta National Pavilion at the Venice Art Biennale of 2019. She has been acting Commissioner for the Venice Biennale since 2014 and Curator of the Inaugural Exhibition for the European Capital of Culture 2017. A professor in the History of Art and a Museum Studies specialist, educated at the University of London, the Sotheby’s Institute of Art, the City University of Hong Kong and the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries, at the University of Leicester, she has taught in numerous international academic institutions. She is a member of the International Council of Museums and the only woman elected in the Europa Nostra IEH committee, focusing on museum and gallery spaces within heritage buildings. She is currently teaching at the MA in Curatorial Practice in Florence.

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Deadline: 13/06/2021 12:00 am (Timezone: Etc/GMT+12)

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Apply until 29/10/2021

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Apply until 23/10/2021

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Apply until 07/01/2022