Curating Situated Practices: Entanglements In-between Art, Academia and Lived Experiences

Bidragets oversatte titel: Kuratering af situerede praksisser: Sammenfiltringer imellem kunst, academia og levede erfaringer

Anne Julie Arnfred

Publikation: Bog/antologi/afhandling/rapportPh.d.-afhandling


Taking its point of departure in the changing role of the curator – from being someone responsible for maintaining and displaying collections, to since the 1960s being the author of grand narratives, and further to a stager of critical discourses – this dissertation zooms in on ways in which curating has developed over the most recent decades. Here, curation is increasingly about bringing different areas of knowledge together, e.g. in Research exhibitions that facilitate collaborations between artistic and
academic knowledge practices. However, despite a significant number of international publications on such exhibitions, an adequate conceptual language for these modes of collaborations is still lacking. Also lacking is a shared awareness regarding curatorial approaches and methodologies for working with these types of exhibitions, as co-creations between artistic and academic research in practice.

The dissertation Curating Situated Practices – Entanglements in-between Art, Academia and Lived Experience contributes to filling this gap, and to facilitate wider, more profound reflections and discussions of the processes at work in – and around – these types of exhibitions, which combine artistic and academic practice and research and lived experiences. The dissertation investigates, how seeing the curator as a curator of practices instead of artworks and objects, shifts curatorial practice from presentation and representation to activation of the object of knowledge through practice based collaborative engagements, joining diverse knowledge practices with a shared interest in a subject matter, but divergent understanding of it and working with it. Hence the curator here becomes a facilitator of collaborative transdisciplinary knowledge creation, rather than a sole autheur.

The dissertation aims to shift the attention away from the exhibition-as-product and towards the exhibition-as-event of knowledge creation, leaning on collaborative curating, the curation of research exhibitions and the notion of the curatorial and artistic research. The dissertation also aims to introduce a critical approach to how these processes are facilitated; a criticality that is important since how they are facilitated also affects what they do. Here the dissertation pays attention not (only)
to the major gestures, but rather it emphasizes the sometimes unnoticed or tacit minor gestures of curatorial practice; those gestures which tend to fall under the radar when evaluating a research project or exhibition, but that nevertheless condition the event to what it can do (Manning, 2016).

In addition to its contribution to reflections and discussions regarding combinations of art and academia as practice and research, and to the development of an adequate conceptual language for such processes and practices, the dissertation also aims to contribute to a further development of the curator’s role. In this context, a curator is a facilitator of relational knowledge processes and a 'midwife’ for the ideas and new knowledge that can arise when different practices enrich each other and create completely new contexts and understandings.

This aspect of the dissertation was enacted through two different projects, The Unspoken and Data Choreographies. For the projects, two different groups of artists, researchers and people with lived experience (for the first project) and artists, researchers and practitioners (for the second project) were assembled.

The Unspoken was based on humanistic/sociological knowledge and was about family secrets about mental illness. Data Choreographies was based on IT technical knowledge and was about the choreography of data and how it moves when we use it. For both projects, the participants were selected based on their previous work and concrete experience in dealing with the subject – artists as well as researchers and people with experience. Through a series of workshops, the groups were led through a series of presentations and discussions, where all the participating knowledge practices were taken seriously as knowledge in their own right, whether artistic practice, research or lived experience. The processes resulted in two exhibitions at The Danish Welfare Museum in Svendborg and Catch (Center for Art and Technology) in Elsinore. Far more important, however, the projects left lasting marks on the participants afterwards in the form of new scientific research projects, changes in the exhibition practice of the participating exhibition venues, new ideas and approaches in the practice of the artists, and a feeling of finally being seen and taken seriously for the participants with lived experience.

Curating Situated Practices – entanglements in-between art, academia and lived experience contributes to developing the curator's role in the development of transdisciplinary collaborations between art, science and lived experience. Curating is not only curation of works of art and objects; it is curation of practices. At the same time, the dissertation contributes to the development of an adequate conceptual language – a vocabulary for how the curator plans, discusses and activates often unnoticed and tacit minor gestures that can support such collaborations between practices.
Bidragets oversatte titelKuratering af situerede praksisser: Sammenfiltringer imellem kunst, academia og levede erfaringer
ForlagRoskilde Universitet
Antal sider240
StatusUdgivet - 13 mar. 2024

Bibliografisk note

Hovedvejleder: Professor Michael Haldrup
Bivejledere: Associate professor Rune Gade, Professor Connie Svabo &
Associate professor Ulrik Smith

Manning, Erin. 2016. The Minor Gesture . Thought in the Act. Durham: Duke University Press.


  • kuratering
  • Forskning
  • Kunst
  • Kollaborative processor

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