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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : History of Art

Postgraduate Course: Curating after 1989: Exhibitions, Institutions, Politics (HIAR11122)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course focuses on landmark exhibitions, institutions and curatorial networks that have shaped the contemporary art field since the end of the Cold War, when the idea of a 'global art world' emerged, was debated and, in some cases, contested. Exhibitions are discussed alongside broader institutional and political questions, including questions relating to post-colonialism and decolonialisation, as well as expanded notions of 'infrastructure'.
Course description This course will help you navigate some of the key themes, directions and debates that have shaped curatorial narratives and exhibition making since the 1990s. The inclusion of topics is necessarily selective, yet the course will help you acquire an overview of developments that still resonate today.

The historical thread of this course revisits (currently dominant) post-1989 narratives of the curatorial as critical of object-based exhibitions and proposes more recent counter-histories where the exhibition form registers as integral to multi-faceted, transdisciplinary field-shaping projects. We will discuss exhibitions alongside wider institutional and political questions, as well as expanded notions of institutional infrastructure. Emerging research that has recently returned to re-evaluate exhibition histories after 1989 as well as publications or online audio-visual discursive archives that cross academic and art-institutional research, and engage with historiographic questions as part of curatorial research (e.g. Former West, L'Internationale) will constitute key resources and case studies. Pre-1989 histories may be selectively included, e.g. as part of specific themes such as feminist curating which emerged in the 1970s but expanded and changed post-1989.

Frameworks and angles to be examined vary from year to year but are likely to include political and methodological themes, such as socially engaged institution-making in geopolitical 'centres' and 'semi/peripheries', the institutional production of counter-publics, queer/feminist curating and care, relations of post-colonialism and decolonisation, migration and displacement in art-institutional contexts, access and accessibility, institutions of the common/s, the concept of 'affective infrastructure', social justice in curatorial programming and labour, configurations of critical or socially-relevant contemporary art curating in response to technological developments.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key developments and debates in curatorial practice and theory since 1989.
  2. Analyse the ways in which curators, artists and critics have engaged with different models of art institutions and art publics.
  3. Critically examine how and why broader historical changes in society have contributed to changes in art curating and museological practices.
  4. Apply developed skills of analysis, communication, and organisation.
Reading List
Paul O'Neill, Simon Sheikh, Lucy Steeds and Mick Wilson (eds), Curating after the Global: Roadmaps for the Present (Center for Curatorial Studies Bard College/Luma Foundation and MIT Press, 2019)

Bo Choy, Charles Esche, David Morris and Lucy Steeds (eds), Art and its Worlds: Exhibitions, Institutions and Art Becoming Public (Afterall in partnership with Asia Art Archive; Center for Curatorial Studies Bard College; and the Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts, University of Gothenburg, 2021)

Anthony Gardner and Charles Green, Biennals, Triennals and Documenta: The Exhibitions that Created Contemporary Art (John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2016)

Anthony Downey (ed), Future Imperfect: Cultural Institutions and Contemporary Art Practices in the Middle East (Sternberg Press, 2016)

Maura Reilly, Curatorial Activism: Towards an Ethics of Curating (Thames & Hudson, 2018)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Visual and critical analysis; Clear thinking and the development of an argument; Independent research; Presentation and communication skills; Organisation and planning; Teamwork through group discussion
KeywordsCurating,Global Art World,Institutional Critique,Publics and Counter-Publics
Course organiserMiss Angeliki Roussou
Course secretaryMr Nathan Ross-Hammond
Tel: (0131 6)51 5880
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