Calls for Papers/Dec 18, 2015

Curatorial Challenges

Curatorial Challenges lead image

Curatorial Challenges, University of Copenhagen, May 26–27, 2016

The exhibition is a primary site of cultural exchange; part spectacle, part socio-historical event, and part structuring device, exhibitions establish and administer meanings of art and cultural heritage. Temporary exhibitions increase in cultural importance, while the traditional role of museums as institutions of Bildung transforms—even museums with well known and established collections follow the call for ever changing exhibitions. Understanding the changing role of curating in this process calls for new research.

While the spatialized discourse of objects remains vital, curating also takes part in expanded cultural practices. In critical museum studies, the museum is defined as one of the most central and indispensable framing institutions of modernity; the museum’s collections of cultural heritage create narratives shaping dominant ideas and perceptions of time, space, history, subject, and nation formation. In the past decades, however, the role of museums has changed, and so have the importance and the role of exhibitions.

As exhibitions gain in importance, so do curatorial strategies and thus new research and definitions are called for: What constitutes the curatorial? What sort of knowledge is produced in and through curatorial strategies? How do curatorial strategies inform museums in contemporary society and what sort of conservative, or perhaps critical and transformative potentials can be traced in exhibition cultures?

The conference invites curators and academics from the interdisciplinary fields of art, cultural history, and museum studies in order to discuss the challenges of curating in contemporary society. We welcome papers for 20 min presentations on the following topics:

  • exhibitions as a form of research
  • interventions: contemporary artists working with or within museums
  • participatory practices and strategies
  • curating within the changing roles of museums as Bildung institutions

A selection of the contributions to the conference will be published in a planned peer-reviewed anthology.