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Curating 2023 (ARTX11047)

Curating 2023 (ARTX11047)

MA Contemporary Art Theory, School of Art, ECA

Curating /// ARTX11047 /// Semester 2 /// 2023

MA Contemporary Art Theory, School of Art, ECA

Curating //// ARTX11047

Course Handbook 2023

Welcome to the course!!!

Q. Where is the course handbook?

A. This IS the course handbook.

The rationale and context of each of the Deadlines, Assignments & Assessment Details is supported by this course handbook – all resources are either here or link from here.

Here you will find flipped learning resources in advance of the Seminars which can be viewed online and supporting materials which scaffold your role as a supportive peer.

All course communications via: MS Teams ‘Curating’ Channel (link)

We will NOT be using email in this course.

We will use our Curating Channel in MS Teams – (link)

To support a Jigsaw Classroom, we also have three breakout groups that each have their own private MS Teams channel:

If staff need to communicate with you individually, rather than in a group, they will use MS Teams chat. You will receive emails only when the subject matter is too lengthy to place in MS Teams chat or when comms are sent to you directly from the ECA SAAS.

Please remember to try not to communicate with staff via email; please use MS Chat in Teams.


An overview of:

  • The Course Philosophy and Aims
  • Briefly remind you of the key teaching methods we will use (Collaborative Inquiry, Jigsaw Classroom, authentic and blended learning)
  • Briefly remind you of the learning environments we will use (MS Teams for 1:1 tutorials, seminars, meetings and the use of WordPress for Portfolio work)
  • The project management software we will use to programme the CAT project (Miro)

Course Philosophy

This curating course supports and develops how you interact with contemporary art as it happens in ways that are both relational and responsive.

‘Curating’ forms a discursive concept for learning about, and taking part in, contemporary art practice.

The course practises ‘authentic learning’, placing you at the  heart of contemporary art in the making. To enable this, you will collaborate to curate a programme of contemporary art for public engagement.

Curating includes the commissioning, selecting, combining, re-framing, producing, disseminating and archiving or documenting of art practices.

We will encourage you to locate your approach in relation to the expanded field of curatorial theory and practice in Edinburgh, Scotland and wider geographies. The Course  aims to help enable you to generate your own collective structures as a group; to design ways of working that generate a creative event in which others can share and participate.


  • some of the ways in which contemporary art is produced (programmed), distributedencountered, co-created and participatory
  • how such programming integrates transdisciplinary research through different methodological lenses
  • about the many forms of knowledge that contemporary art produces and makes openly available and how these are openly contested by art (contested spaces, dissensus)
  • how contemporary art organisations facilitate creative practice, widen cultural participation and support open learning across a wide range of communities
  • how contemporary artists, critics, curators and programmers contribute collectively to the organisation and development of art
  • how they can directly contribute to, and be supported by, the programmes of contemporary art organisations

As an individual, you will work toward the realisation of a curatorial project of your own design.

As a cohort, you will work toward the realisation of programme wherein your own curatorial project will reside.

Supported by your tutors, you will collectively determine the direction and focus of a) your project b) the programme.

The programme will run on either Thursday 20th April or Friday 21st April 2023 depending on whether the curatorial project that you each devise and deliver is digital/online/remote or in-person/IRL.

Collaborative Inquiry

We will continue to develop the model of ‘collaborative inquiry‘ (Heron and Reason, 1997) that you engaged with in Open Learning (and will continue to work with in Art + Anthropology) and seek to further develop some of the paragogical and ‘scene’ research practices that you learned in Semester 1.

You will form a community of practice that conceptualises (ie devises) and delivers(ie produces) a programme of propositional, practical, experiential and public curatorial inquiry.

The process of collaborative inquiry may be integrated around any current or pressing themes, methods of making/curating, sets of ideas, areas of creative and critical practice.

The Curating course forms a common programme purpose around which we can join forces to conduct research, enabling you, as individual curators, to pool and share your curiosities and resources with wider publics.

Authentic learning

We will begin by engaging with some of the conventional locations and settings wherein artworks continue to be displayed, encountered and consumed: professional institutions such as museums, galleries, festivals, biennale and art fairs. We will, equally engage with challenges to the professionalisation and institutionalisation of curating that have emerged from grassroots, artist-run and citizen-led cultures, learning from open, public, socially-engaged organisations. Additionally, we will consider the ever growing body of cultural and epistemological practices that are described as the ‘curatorial turn.’

As a group, you will start to engage with some of the politics, artistic development and programming practices of Scotland’s art infrastructure.

Organisational Practices

The MA CAT has developed an ‘organisational’ approach to artistic practice. What this means is that you – as a cohort – will consciously form a collective. You will study why and how artistic organisations form and use this knowledge to inform your own praxis.

A key task, in this course, is to build a collective that is akin to a ‘programming organisation’.

As you do so, you will begin to develop your own contribution to the collective’s artistic programme.

In this way, you will effectively learn how to determine, develop and play your own role within a collective or group structure that reflects the organisational and collaborative context in which curators work.

With generous peer support your curatorial research and practice is supported is improved and, crucially, put to the test.

This aspect of the course will be supported by a schedule of regular group meetings and tutorials.

Finally, you will present your individual Curating Project in the form of a public programme that you develop together in your collective and deliver across Thursday 20th April or Friday 21st April 2023.

Taking responsibility

Remember you are all responsible for pulling your weight to your mutual benefit as a collective. If you do not take on your share of responsibility: your peers will suffer as a whole; your group’s ability to conduct research and development, to organise and programme will be impeded.

Your success and that of your group and the cohort as a whole are intertwined.

Reflect 👀

Your personal and collective critical reflection on the formation of your collective structure is required in your Curatorial Portfolio (Course Blog). There will be a workshop that goes through how to create this in Week 1.



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