Participant biographies

Paul Goodwin is an independent curator, urban theorist and researcher based in London. His curatorial, research and writing projects extend across the interdisciplinary fields of contemporary art and urbanism with a particular focus on black and diaspora artists and visual cultures. At the Centre for Urban and Community Research at Goldsmiths, University of London, between 2006 and 2010 he directed Re-visioning Black Urbanism, an interdisciplinary research project exploring the multiple modalities of blackness and urbanism in cities such as London, Lisbon and Paris. From 2008 to 2012 as a curator at Tate Britain he directed the pioneering Cross Cultural Programme that explored questions of migration and globalisation in contemporary British art. His curatorial projects include: Migrations: Journeys Into British Art, Tate Britain 2012; Thin Black Line(s), Tate Britain, 2011; Coming Ashore, 2011, Berardo Collection Museum in Lisbon, Portugal; Afro Modern: Journeys Through the Black Atlantic (consultant curator), Tate Liverpool, 2010; Underconstruction, Hospital Julius De Matos, Lisbon, Portugal, 2009. Goodwin is curatorial director of the 3D Foundation international sculpture park and residency programme in Verbier, Switzerland and is a trustee of socially engaged art organisations Peckham Platform and no.w.here in London.

 

Kate Jesson is Curator: Modern and Contemporary Art at Manchester Art Gallery. She uses the public collections as a resource to ask questions of identity and Britishness. Past collection displays include Between the Wars (2013), Absent Presence (2015), House Proud (2015), Goodbye to All That (2016) and To be Human (2016). Her contemporary exhibitions include solo presentations by Haroon Mirza (2012), Ryan Gander (2014), and Pat Flynn (2015). Speech Acts (2018-2019), co-curated with Hammad Nasar as an outcome of Black Artists and Modernism (2016-2018). Tania Bruguera’s School of Integration was co-curated with Shanaz Guzar as part of the Manchester International Festival 2019 and is ongoing. 2020 saw the co-curation of a new What is Manchester Art Gallery? introductory display exploring the purpose of our public collections today. It also marked the start of a new partnership with Iniva to reimagine the future of collecting. Kate Jesson is also a Trustee of Castlefield Gallery, Chair of CVAM (part of the CVAN network supporting the visual arts ecology).

 

Kathleen Lawther is a freelance curator specialising in the documentation of museum collections. For the past ten years she was worked with a diverse range of collections, including social history, costume, fine art, and ethnographic collections, in museums of all sizes. Kathleen became especially interested in what is, and what is not, recorded about museum objects, and the ways in which improving documentation practice can feed into work to democratise and decolonise our museums. In 2019 she was awarded a Developing Your Creative Practice grant from Arts Council England for a research and development project called ‘Collections Data: Adapting the Master’s Tools’. The research focused on the origins and development of cataloguing practice in museums, and the ‘tools’ used by museums to categorise and order objects (and the people and cultures associated with them). Kathleen’s work with museums includes documenting new acquisitions made for the Fashioning Africa contemporary collecting project at Brighton Museum, and (re)cataloguing collections from Southern Africa as part of the AHRC funded project Making African Connections, led by the University of Sussex. She is a steering group member for Museum as Muck, the network for working class museum people, and blogs at acidfreeblog.com

 

Priyesh Mistry is Associate Curator of Modern & Contemporary Projects at the National Gallery, London, where he manages the Artist Residency programmes and contemporary commissions, including the current exhibition Rosalind Nashashibi: An Overflow of Passion and Sentiment. Before this, he was Assistant Curator, International Art at Tate Modern where he worked on the Hyundai Commission 2019: Kara Walker in the Turbine Hall, the major retrospective on Anni Albers (2018) and the group exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power (2017). Priyesh completed his MA in Contemporary Art and Theory in Asia and Africa from SOAS in 2016.

 

Renée Mussai is Senior Curator and Head of Curatorial & Collections at Autograph, London. Mussai has organised numerous exhibitions internationally including gallery installations with contemporary artists Zanele Muholi, Lina Iris Viktor and Phoebe Boswell, Aida Silvestri, and James Barnor, amongst others. With Mark Sealy, she has co-curated group and solo exhibitions such as Making Jamaica: Photography from the 1890s (2017), Congo Dialogues – When Harmony Went to Hell (2015), Rotimi Fani-Kayode: 1955-1989 (2011), to name a few. Research-led initiatives include multiple iterations of the critically acclaimed The Missing Chapter – Black Chronicles programmes on black presences in Victorian-era photography in Britain, including Black Chronicles II (2014) and IV (2018), The African Choir 1891 Re-Imagined (2016-18) and Black Chronicles: Photographic Portraits (2017) at the National Portrait Gallery, London. Mussai is a regular guest curator and former fellow at the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University; Research Associate at the Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre, University of Johannesburg; [and] Associate Lecturer at University of the Arts London.

 

Ananda Rutherford is a museum collections manager and researcher. Her current role is research associate for Provisional Semantics, a TaNC/AHRC foundation project based in the Research Department at Tate. She is also undertaking a part-time PhD with UCL’s Centre for Digital Humanities, looking at the history and role of museum documentation and collections digitisation.

 

Dr Sylvia Theuri is a researcher, freelance curator and lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton – School of Art. Sylvia holds a PhD from the University of Salford, which focused on Black African students’ experiences of higher education art and design. Her research interests include diversity and inclusion issues in art and design education; race, identity and the African diaspora; contemporary African art and the Black Arts Movement. She has recently completed a curatorial residency at The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, working in partnership with New Art West Midlands, International Curators Forum and Coventry Biennial. The outcome of the residency was the exhibition Thirteen Ways of Looking at The Herbert Gallery & Museum (2020). The exhibition explored different strategies of resistance that overlap and intersect in the physical spaces of the gallery and digitally online. Her recent publications include; ‘Critical Race Theory and its Relationship to Art Education’ in Towards an Inclusive Arts Education.

 

Marenka Thompson-Odlum is a Research Associate at the Pitt Rivers Museums and a doctoral candidate at the University of Glasgow. Her doctoral research explores Glasgow’s role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade through the material culture house at Glasgow Museums.  At the Pitt Rivers Museum, she is the researcher on the Labelling Matters project, which investigates the problematic use of language within the museum spaces and ways of decolonisation through re-imagining the definition of a label.

 

Fatoş Üstek is independent curator and writer, based in London. She was Director of Liverpool Biennial, (2019-20), a jury member for Turner Prize Bursaries 2020, Arts Foundation Futures Award 2021, Scotland in Venice 2022, Dutch Pavilion 2022, and as an external member of the acquisitions committee for the Arts Council Collection (2018-2020). She is the curator of Do Ho Suh’s commission (2018-2020) co-commissioned by Art Night and Sculpture in the City. She was formerly Director and Chief Curator of DRAF (David Roberts Art Foundation), curated miart Talks 2018; Art Night, East London, 2017 and fig-2 50 exhibitions in 50 weeks, ICA, 2015. She acted as Associate Curator for the 10th Gwangju Biennale, 2014. Ustek is a contributing editor to Extra Extra Magazine, a founding member of the Association of Women in the Arts (AWITA); trustee of Art Night; board member of Urbane Kunste Ruhr; advisory panel for Jan van Eyck Academie; member of the International Association of Art Critics AICA UK; and an ICI Alumni.

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