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Mind the Gap: Distinguishing Between the Perception and Intention of Curatorial Education

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As the number of curatorial degree programmes has increased over the past thirty years, so too has the criticism about their methodology, pedagogy and overall worthiness. This article examines those critiques and exposes a variety of misconceptions voiced in the arguments made by the detractors of curatorial education. Drawing from experience in chairing a graduate programme, developing curricula, and mentoring students at the California College of the Arts, this article elucidates the practical, conceptual and relational aspects involved in teaching curating. In the contemporary context, the distrust of curatorial education is misplaced; rather than ‘flattening’ the profession of curating, the diverse and self-reflexive approach of curatorial programmes seek to provide students with a period of experimentation and discussion about the craft, history and methods of curating.
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Keywords: curating and pedagogy; curating as a discipline; curating as a profession; curatorial degree programmes; curatorial education

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: California College of the Arts

Publication date: October 1, 2017

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Curatorial Studies is an international, peer-reviewed publication that explores the cultural functioning of curating and its relation to exhibitions, institutions, audiences, aesthetics and display culture. The journal takes a wide perspective in the inquiry into what constitutes "the curatorial." Curating has evolved considerably from the connoisseurship model of arranging objects to now encompass performative, virtual and interventionist strategies. While curating as a spatialized discourse of art objects remains important, the expanded cultural practice of curating not only produces exhibitions for audiences to view, but also plays a catalytic role in redefining aesthetic experience, framing cultural conditions in institutions and communities, and inquiring into constructions of knowledge and ideology.
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