Contemporary art curating news and views from Michelle Kasprzak and team

Opportunity: Curatorial Fellowship, Hosted by Ferens Art Gallery, Hull

Posted by Sofia Landström • Monday, April 22. 2013 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities

Curatorial Fellowship (East Coast), Hosted by the Ferens Art Gallery, Hull
Initiated by the Contemporary Art Society and Whitechapel Gallery
Deadline: 3 May, 2013

Contemporary Art Society and the Whitechapel Gallery
(September 2013–August 2014)

As part of the Whitechapel Gallery’s on-going programme to open up public and private collections, the Gallery presents a curatorial collaboration with the Contemporary Art Society. For a period of 12 months from September 2013 onwards, a series of four displays will draw works from collections held by the Contemporary Art Society’s membership of 65 publicly funded museum and galleries across England. Focusing on the North West, East Coast, Midlands and South the displays will use the founding principles of many of these institutions-philanthropic giving-as a springboard. Each of the four displays will then tour to a regional museum.

The four displays will be researched and conceived by a specially appointed curatorial fellow. From June to September the fellows will undertake substantial research into public collections. Within the broad theme of ‘Philanthropy’ they will each have a particular focus allocated for its specific relation to museums within the defined area. For the Fellow in the East Coast the focus will be to consider: the role of art schools as sites of making and production (recognising their particular relationships to past local industry).

The display should:
• Draw attention to and celebrate the wealth and particularity of regional art collections and their histories
• Open up a range of topics which have a resonance to a broad audience in relation to contemporary art nationally and internationally
• Generate interest in London audiences in the narratives of regional collections

Other outcomes include:
To write an essay for the catalogue
• To document any research so that it can be publicly available on the Contemporary Art Society website and museum collections databases/knowledge capture systems this might include any interviews undertaken with experts, artists, collectors or curators. The Contemporary Art Society will provide some financial support for this documentation.
• To play a key role in devising events for the public programme at the Contemporary Art Society, the Whitechapel Gallery
To participate in programme of evaluation
To contribute to the installation of the exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery as well as to a supporting public programme.
To contribute to the installation at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art.
An additional fee of £1500 will be provided for this work.

Personal Specifications
Knowledge and experience
• A specialist knowledge and interest in the role of public and private collections in the UK arts ecology
• A specialist knowledge of contemporary art and a firm grounding in 20th century art history
• Experience of engaging audiences in art historical narratives through curatorial or academic work
• An awareness of the challenges, possibilities and opportunities presented when working with public collections in a curatorial capacity
• Four years minimum experience of working as a curator, preferably with a collection
• Awareness of issues relating to audience development
• Experience of generating ideas through substantial multi-disciplinary research

Skills and Abilities
• Ability to work effectively on own initiative and as part of multi-disciplinary team
• Ability to lead on researching, developing and delivering projects to a high level
• Excellent written and verbal communications skills
• Well organised and able to work on several projects simultaneously
• Ability to work to tight deadlines
•Ability to interpret the work of contemporary artists as well as art history and make often complex ideas clear to a wide audience
• ICT skills sufficient to use a word processor and a database package
• Ability to initiate partnerships and develop networks with other related institutions as well as museum professionals and professionals in other fields related to contemporary art Experience, Skills and Abilities that are Desirable
• Applicants must be able to show a sustainable interest in and dynamic sense of enquiry in to public collections of contemporary art
• Existing knowledge of collections in the East Coast of England

•A Postgraduate qualification in a related subject: curatorial studies, museum studies, research, art history or other related subject.
• A substantial period working as a curator working within the specialism of contemporary art.

How to make an application:

We welcome applications from curators who have not had previous experience of working with collections. It is important however to demonstrate an interest in working with collections that could be sustained and developed throughout the Fellowship and beyond.
Please complete the application form provided. This Statement of Application should be structured around the following questions and take full account of the details provided within this pack and the person specifications.
1. How would you apply your recent curatorial research and current interests within the context of this Fellowship?
2. What is your curatorial experience to date and how can you use this experience in your approach to the Fellowship?
3. What interests you most about the possibility of researching these collections and how would you approach the research?
4. Why is this an important opportunity for you and how would you use this experience in the future?

Please also include an up to date C.V. on no more than two sides of A4 and names of two referees.
Applications should be submitted by 5pm on 3 May 2013 by email to:
[email protected]

Interviews will take place on the 14 and 15 May at the Contemporary Art Society. If you would like further information please contact:
Lucy Bayley at the Contemporary Art Society [email protected]

Further information:

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BAM International Visitor's Programme Report

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Friday, April 15. 2011 • Category: Musings

BAM (Flemish Institute for visual, audiovisual, and media art) is an organisation based in Ghent that "provides information, and encourages development and networking" and "encourages collaboration and exchange between Flemish organisations and institutions abroad and tries to increase the interest in and knowledge of the Flemish art scene". Their International Visitor's Programme is a key component of their overall activities, with several invitations extended each year to foreign art professionals. I was fortunate enough to be invited and had a bespoke programme created for me that extended over four days and four cities in Flanders this February.

For the four days, Brussels was my base and I travelled throughout the region either by car with my gracious host, Nele Samyn from BAM, or I used the extensive Belgian train system. Nele was a great guide who designed a perfect programme for me, and answered all my general questions about the cultural situation in Flanders in between the scheduled meetings.

It's going to sound like a bit of a cop out, but there were so many things that I saw and people that I spoke with that making a big list of it would be a bit meaningless. So I'll just single out some highlights that are easy to summarise:

In terms of commiserating with colleagues, it was a great pleasure to meet Eva De Groote at Timelab, and see what's cooking there with their lab and their artist in residence programme. It was inspiring to visit Netwerk, a terrific and fairly large centre for contemporary art in the fairly small town of Aalst (home to fewer than 80,000 people). I greatly enjoyed dining with artist Frederik de Wilde, hearing all about his fascinating work (and getting some free Dutch lessons on the side). Going to Argos resulted in a lovely chat with Paul Willemsen, then spending a solid hour in their galleries being blown away by "Sea of Tranquillity", a piece by Hans Op de Beeck. I had a fabulous time at the Artefact festival in Leuven, especially the opening night and a group meal with several of the artists and festival curators. I had previously seen the work of Koen Vanmechelen in Den Haag, and I was very keen to meet him. Despite busy schedules all round we managed to meet for a great discussion over coffee in Leuven. BAM makes all your wishes come true!

I walked away from my brief visit to Flanders with a head full of artworks and a pocket full of business cards, but I also departed with a new conviction: that every country should have a programme such as this. This quick and intense introduction to the art scene in Flanders was invaluable to me as a curator. I saw dozens of artworks, attended a festival, viewed many individual shows, had studio visits with several artists, and met a number of fellow curators. It was a packed four days that I could never have organised on my own. I also now feel like I have a good grip on the aspects of the Flemish art scene that are relevant to me as a curator, something that can only be accomplished due to the bespoke nature of the programme. A generic version of this programme with a one-size-fits-all approach just wouldn't work as well. I hope that BAM continues this programme long into the future, and that other places adopt their exemplary model.

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