Curating Research: Practice-based PhD

The Department of Art at the University of Reading in collaboration with the PostgraduateProgramme in Curating, Zurich is offering a new doctoral program for research in and as curatorial and/or artistic practice.Research students are enrolled at the University of Reading and the Postgraduate Programme in Curating is hosting a research group and offers opportunities for teaching and lecturing in Higher Education. The new PhD programme specializes in offering established curators, artists, art critics and designers from all disciplines the critical framework to focus on specific curatorial and cultural research topics in order to earn a Doctorate from the University of Reading through a combined theoretical and practical approach.

The Research Platform aims to provide a cooperative environment with a decidedly cross-disciplinary and international bent based on an association of two outstanding Programmes, the Department of Art at the University of Reading and the Postgraduate Program in Curating at the Zurich University for the Arts. The program responds to recent changes in the processes of the production of culture and a shift in the organisation of work processes throughout society. Within this shift, individual areas of action are coming together in new meta-levels, such as networks and knowledge transfer. The program aims to address and to question the significant changes affecting cultural production. It seeks to provide a productive environment for participants to discuss and develop their research, to critically reflect on the issues involved and to transform their own respective positions as producers, agents, designers, artists, archivists, and conveyors of those economies, and the politics, aesthetics and effects related to them. The program emphasises the reflection of curatorial and artistic methodologies and prospects of arts production, its practitioners, and its audiences.

The Practice-based PhD program is designed for a three year duration. Participants are enrolled at the Department of Art at the University of Reading and they should be prepared to take part in seminars and communal meetings in Zurich and Reading. Over the course of the three years participants will develop and realise their projects supported by the academic and artistic team of co-participants and faculty.

The participants have access to the facilities and resources of the Department of Art at Reading and at the Postgraduate Program in Curating and to the institutions and people that form the broader and expanding Research Platform. Participants will be supported to pursue and develop dissertation work resulting in a curatorial/artistic project and a written component displaying a strong emphasis on methodological reflexivity and documentation. Moreover, participants are expected to take an active part in organizing the program (coordinating workshops, guest lectures, conferences, exhibitions, screenings, etc.). After successful completion and submission of the PhD, a Doctorate will be awarded by the University of Reading.

Participants will be able to engage with the ongoing international public programmes connected to the Postgraduate Programme in Curating Zurich, and with the independent OnCurating magazine.

Entry requirements

Requirements for admission to the PhD in Practice program are a degree (MA, MFA or diploma) from a recognized University or Academy, and the submission of a portfolio and/or a written project proposal (to be written in English). Applicants who are already engaged in an artistic or academic career are encouraged to apply. Applications will be made directly to the University of Reading.

Please contact the Department of Art for further information:

The main practical areas for curatorial approaches are:

• Exhibitions and exhibition architecture
• Design
• Production of books and catalogues
• Installations
• Digital projects
• Transdisciplinary practices
• Art Mediation
• Art in public spaces
• Art education projects/ communication projects
• Sound-specific projects
• Film/Video/Performance

Areas of Research

Transfer: contemporary discourses of exhibition practice / undertaking a critique of ideology through the medium of exhibition making / everyday culture to high culture/ media in relation to curating

Display: the practices and power relations within modes of display; modes and discourses of audience address

Context: Sites/ discourses of space and body politics / review of political missions/ (post)colonial perspectives / Re-interpretations of collection politics

Contemporary Practices: artistic and curatorial projects / paradigm shifts concerning the production, distribution, and reception of exhibitions, curating as cultural practice, performative curating

Susanne Clausen is an artist and Head of the Department of Art at of the University of Reading; 
Dorothee Richter is Head of the Postgraduate Programme in Curating, ICS, DKV, ZhdK and supervisor for PhDs at the University of Reading.

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