Call for applications: PhD in Curatorial Practice at MADA

Monash University Art Design & Architecture (MADA) in Melbourne, Australia invites applications for the PhD specialisation in Curatorial Practice. Launched in March 2014, the PhD in Curatorial Practice is the first in Australia and among the first in the world. The program joins the field at a moment when the discipline of curating is as dynamic and contested as it is established. The Curatorial Practice PhD at MADA is practice-based, and supports a spectrum of doctoral projects, from experimental curatorial models to academic dissertations.

The program plans to develop as an international centre for curatorial models that reflect critically on how we engage with our cultures, our cities, and our world. It fosters curatorial projects that test the limits of arts institutions. It supports advanced scholarly work on exhibitions and their histories, conditions of art’s public appearance, and the politics of display. Finally, the program nurtures spaces of retreat to allow forms of research other than those that normally occur within the framework of educational institutions.


Candidates will have advanced knowledge of art, art history, arts institutions, and curating, or relevant fields of inquiry. They are required to hold a minimum four-year Bachelor’s degree with Honours, and will preferably hold a research Master’s qualification in a relevant discipline. Candidates apply with a specific research project in mind. The program is open to applicants whose projects are interdisciplinary or historical in nature. Scholarships may be awarded to qualified applicants subject to University scholarship assessment and terms and conditions.


One of the strongest advantages of the Curatorial Practice PhD is its location within an art school. MADA is a catalyst for creative engagement in the visual arts, and supports an active community of some of the country’s leading artists, designers, architects, thinkers and cultural producers. Curatorial work is inherently dialogic, research based, and interdisciplinary, and candidates benefit from regular formal and informal encounters with artists.

The PhD program collaborates with key local and international institutions, foremost MADA and MUMA, a museum of contemporary art committed to innovative and research-based art and curatorial practice. Candidates engage with Melbourne-based artists, curators, and thinkers, as well as international visitors. Recent programs include workshops with Chris Kraus, Ziga Testen, and Tung-Hui Hu; curatorial seminars with Latitudes and Bridget Crone; and recuration panel with Rebecca Coates and Terry Smith. MUMA and Curatorial Practice will-co-present the symposium Rooms for Thought: Radical Uses of Museum Collections, September 12-13, 2014.

MADA’s Curatorial Practice Advisory Board is comprised of individuals with strong ties to MADA or to curatorial education, and includes Johanna Burton, Keith Haring Director and Curator of Education
and Public Engagement, New Museum; Charlotte Day, Director, MUMA; Juliana Engberg, Artistic Director, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne; Juan A. Gaitán, curator of the 8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art; Alexie Glass-Kantor, Executive Director, Artspace, Sydney; Callum Morton, Head of Fine Art, MADA; Julian Myers-Szupinska, Associate Professor, Curatorial Practice, California College of the Arts; Tom Nicholson, artist; Daniel Palmer, writer and Senior Lecturer in the Art Theory Program and Associate Dean Graduate Research, MADA; Anne Wagner, Professor Emerita of Modern and Contemporary Art at the University of California, Berkeley, and Visiting Distinguished Professor at the University of York; and Tirdad Zolghadr, writer and curator.

The PhD program is led by Tara McDowell, Associate Professor and Director of Curatorial Practice at MADA. McDowell is Editor-at-Large of The Exhibitionist, and has held curatorial appointments at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, where she mounted over two dozen group and solo exhibitions. She publishes and lectures frequently, and holds a Ph.D. in the History of Art from the University of California, Berkeley.

Expression of interest deadline (mandatory prior to application): 30th September 2014
Application deadline for scholarship consideration: October 31, 2014

Application details at
EOI and how to apply process details at

Monash University Art Design & Architecture
900 Dandenong Rd
Caulfield East, Victoria 3145
Ph: +61 3 9903 1837
Email: artdes-postgrad -at-
CRICOS provider: 00008C
CRICOS course code: 037830A

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