Doing the work: programme

Claudette Johnson, Standing Figure, 2017 (detail). Acquired by the CAS for Rugby Art Gallery and Museum through the Rapid Response Fund, 2020. Courtesy the artist and Hollybush Gardens, London. Photo: Andy Keate.

Curation and Display: The Stories We Tell, the Knowledge We Produce

Wednesday 20 January 2020, 12.30 – 14.30

This first workshop will focus on curation and display in museums and galleries. Questions for discussion may include:

What curatorial strategies might be considered decolonial or anti-racist in approach? What questions, approaches and behaviours should curators be embedding into their day-to-day practices? How can an anti-racist or decolonial approach be developed in relation to collections that are ethnically diverse, and conversely, in relation to collections that are not?  Should artworks depicting violent colonial histories ever be included in exhibitions and displays, and if so, why/how? What curatorial models can be used when displaying work by artists whose biographies and attitudes are deemed problematic/racist/colonial? How can anti-racist and/or decolonial curatorial approaches be developed in contexts where such approaches are resisted or even discouraged?

This workshop will be kick-started by a discussion between Renée Mussai (Senior Curator and Head of Curatorial & Collections, Autograph ABP), Nikita Gill (Iniva Curatorial Trainee, Manchester Art Gallery), and Kate Jesson (Modern and Contemporary Curator, Manchester Art Gallery), moderated by Professor Paul Goodwin (Chair of Contemporary Art and Urbanism, University of the Arts London).

To book your place at this workshop please email before 15 January 2021.


Sonia Boyce, Six Acts, 2018, performance documentation at Manchester Art Gallery. Courtesy: the artist and Manchester Art Gallery; performer: Lasana Shabazz; photograph: Andrew Brooks

Interventionist Practices

Wednesday 24 February, 12.30 – 14.30

In this workshop we will consider the role of artist residencies and interventionist projects staged by independent curators and organisations. Questions for discussion might include:

What short and long-term impact can interventions by artists and external curators have on problematic but long-standing institutional practices, orthodoxies, and attitudes? How can interventionist voices/practices be embedded into museum and gallery work? How can relationships with artists and external curators be meaningfully and ethically sustained after interventionist projects end?

This workshop will begin with case studies from Dr. Sylvia Theuri (artist/curator/educator/researcher) and Priyesh Mistry (Associate Curator Modern and Contemporary, National Gallery), moderated by Fatoş Üstek (independent curator and writer).

To book your place at this workshop please email before 19 February 2021.


Matthew Krishanu, Corvus, 2019. Installation view at The Stuart Hall Library, Iniva, London, 2019. Photograph by George Torode.

Documenting Collections

Wednesday 24 March, 12.30 – 14.30

The act of cataloguing an artwork impacts whether it will be selected for inclusion in an exhibition or display, what other works it will be shown alongside, and how it will be interpreted for potentially wide-ranging audiences. However very few resources are given to this area of museum work, and it has yet to become the subject of serious and sustained scrutiny in efforts to decolonise museums and root out racist museal practices. As museums collections and cataloguing expert, Ananda Rutherford states, “Documentation and collections management seems to be the last bastion of claims for a-political or neutral practices. We are still working with colonial era behaviours and understandings of the world, fitted into 19th century pseudo-scientific classification systems, in 20th century databases for a transnational global 21st century audience – why?”.

This workshop will begin with a conversation between Ananda Rutherford (Research Associate, Tate) and Kathleen Lawther (Freelance curator, specialising in the documentation of museum collections).

To book your place at this workshop please email before 19 March 2021.


If you have any questions about this series and the new format, get in touch with Ilaria at


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