Curatorial Practice

MSL2000H
Master of Museum Studies

Curation is no longer a practice solely attached to the museum as it has been coopted by several communities and cultural producers, from bloggers to makers, and even chefs. It is in this context, full of contradictions about what curation represents – the skilled practice of the museum professional trained to take care of, research, and display artefacts, or the creative process, framed as democratic and inclusive, of selecting and re-arranging objects and information – that we situate our explorations of curatorial practice. This course, thus, explores the role of the curator (collector, researcher, storyteller, trend setter, social activist, etc.) in various types of museums, from the art gallery to the heritage site, in order to reflect on different models of curatorial practice. These methods for curatorship will be discussed with an emphasis on their histories and their specific cultural, social and political contexts. Likewise, they will be explored as dynamic, complex and shifting practices highly influenced by institutional context, audience expectations and broader taste cultures. To understand the curator’s place in contemporary cultural institutions, this class will explore a series of theoretical concepts such as author, connoisseurship, taste and visual culture, along with a series of curatorial research methods. Students will engage with professional and intellectual practices through a series of hands on projects designed to reflect critically on curation.