Scholarly research is giving growing importance to curatorial practices. Publications such as the Museum History Journal (8:1, 2015) have discussed how, since the mid-to-late 19th century, curators worldwide have adapted from the scholarly and administrative art expert archetype (George, 2015) to one that ‘possesses an authorial/artistic function’ (O’Neill, 2012), in which the ‘making’ takes centre stage (Acord, 2010). Have British curators followed the same evolution or are there distinctive characteristics that set British curators apart from their colleagues abroad? This panel aims to cover a gap in curatorial research by discussing the history of curators in Britain, reflecting on how they have engaged with their economic, political, and professional contexts since Victorian times (Black, 2000). It will analyse the role of professional associations such as the UK Museums Association (1889) as a forum for exchanging ideas and practice, the emergence of training programmes in the mid-20th century, the creation of the first HE curatorial course in the Royal College of Art (1992) and the potential professional challenges of a post-Brexit scenario.

We invite papers on the following possible topics:

  • distinctiveness of British curatorial practices
  • peculiarity of British curators’ training in different periods and its impact upon practice
  • isolation and connection in the relations with foreign artists, institutions, colleagues, critics, connoisseurs, private collectors, commercial art galleries and public powers
  • internationalism and Britishness in curatorial discourses
  • class and gender inclusion in the profession compared to other countries
  • the impact of curation on the art market and art education in the UK and abroad.

Session Convenors:

Laia Anguix (Northumbria University)

Elisabetta Fabrizi (Newcastle University)

Massimiliano Papini (Northumbria University)

Please email your paper proposal to the session convenors using the Paper Proposal Form

You need to provide a title and abstract (250 words maximum) for a 25-minute paper (unless otherwise specified), your name and institutional affiliation (if any).

Please make sure the title is concise and reflects the contents of the paper because the title is what appears online, in social media and in the printed programme.

You should receive an acknowledgement receipt of your submission within two weeks from the session convenors.

Deadline for submissions: Monday 21 October 2019