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Curating today: between art and commerce

Six-day intensive summer course

Short course

9—14 July 2018

This event has now ended

See upcoming short courses

Part of our

250th Summer Exhibition

events programme
Go to exhibition page

Philip Sayer, Summer Exhibition, 2015.

In the RA’s 250th year, its international team of experts shares their knowledge of curatorial process and practice for the first time in an intensive expert-led summer course.

Moderated by Andrea Tarsia, Head of Exhibitions at the RA, this immersive course provides a firm basis in the historical and contemporary theory of curation, complemented by a practical toolkit for creating world-class exhibitions.

The Royal Academy of Arts has been renowned for curating exhibitions on an international scale, featuring world-class artists and artworks, since its foundation in 1768. Since its establishment it has been at the centre of a remarkable network of influential artists, including Royal Academicians, from historical figures JMW Turner, John Constable, and William Blake to contemporary artists such as Tracey Emin, Grayson Perry and Ai Weiwei. As such, the Royal Academy’s footprint in the art world is unique and fascinating.

In the RA’s 250th year, its international team of experts will share their knowledge of curatorial process and practice for the first time in an intensive summer course hosted across the expanded RA campus, which includes new spaces showcasing the RA historic collection as well as temporary exhibitions alongside the RA Schools.

The RA exhibition team have curated world-class exhibitions large and small, from the commercial to the non-profit spheres, in subject matter from classical to contemporary, traditional to subversive. In the heart of London between Piccadilly and Bond Street: the centre of the city’s most exclusive arts and culture hub, this is an opportunity to learn from the best and experience first-hand the art of curating in an established and progressive arts institution.

In an increasingly complex world, the curator must take on many diverse roles: communicator and agitator, tastemaker and storyteller, inspirer and activist. They are the mediator between the art world and its diverse stakeholders, including consumers in different contexts, whether commercial, not-for-profit, educational or political, and as such must be able to communicate in many different contextual languages and to many audiences. Furthermore, today’s curators must be adaptable and nimble in the face of new challenges from a constantly changing and highly uncertain world.

In order to conceive, organise, build and maintain world-class exhibitions, curators must have expertise not only in art but also in the logistics behind creating new, exciting exhibitions. In recognition of this, the course is divided in two modules:

The first module delves into the history, philosophy and modern discourses of curation, facing key issues and providing the theoretical framework to challenge them. The second module contextualises and goes beyond these ideas to test how they can be applied in real-world practice.

The second module will provide a grounding in the essential logistics of exhibition management, including public relations and marketing, understanding audiences, international import and export, budgeting, conservation, loan negotiation, legal responsibilities and much more.

Course participants are encouraged to take an active part through workshops and projects where they will experience first-hand the process of making a great exhibition, underpinned by the expertise of the RA and the established track record of RA Academic Programmes.

“Brilliant experience! This course made me realise I want to continue to deepen my understanding of the art world. It involved knowledgeable speakers who connected their histories with wit, erudition, approachability and charm. I felt so enriched.” – Past participant, Great exhibitions: from the ancient to the virtual, 2017

The course is aimed at those with a serious interest in the art world and curating or with some experience in the art and/or museum sector, who want to gain both knowledge and practical experience of curating exhibitions. The skills provided in this course are transferrable and relevant whether you work in a large or small institution, in the public or private sector, or whether your interest is in contemporary or historical curating. It aims to provide not only the theoretical groundwork but also a friendly forum within which to discuss different opinions and approaches, and is such it encourages diverse viewpoints and skillsets.

The course will last six full days and is designed to produce well-rounded arts professionals with a global perspective who not only understand the language and ideas behind curation but can also apply those ideas in a variety of real-world contexts.

For more information about the course timetable, and for any enquiries, please contact Anna Pojer, Academic Programmes Programmer at anna.pojer@royalacademy.org.uk / 020 7300 5641

● Fully booked

● Cancelled

9—14 July 2018

The British Academy Room, Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly / The Life Room, The RA Schools

£1,800. Includes all materials, light refreshments each day and drinks receptions throughout the week.