Student as curator?

Confidentiality agreements prevent me from describing in detail the many discussions, often intense, that have occurred over the past year in the DP Visual Arts Curriculum Review meetings. However I think I can safely say that – among many other issues, theories and ideas – the role of curatorship has been raised more than once.




The process of judging and selecting is already part of the course, most obviously towards the end when students are thinking about the studio work they will choose for their exhibition, or the 20, 30 or 40 pages they select as ‘best’.

Apart from this however, I sometimes give a ‘virtual exhibition’ assignment, asking students to create an imaginary exhibition based around any theme or their choice. Particularly lively ‘virtual’ exhibition themes have included ‘Skin’, ‘The Kiss’, and ‘Colour’.

Curator as “menace”?

Waldemar Januszczak is an art critic and writer and in the latest Sunday Times (March 18th) he says that curators “really are a menace. Twenty years ago they barely existed as a species. These days they run the art world from top to bottom…the chief reason British art is mistrusted and hated abroad is that international curators disapprove if it.”



Strong language and strong opinions! I like Januszczak and invariably find his words stimulating and/or provocative. The article obviously has a lot more to say and much of it makes sense, but his main point – the role of the curator and the process of selection (including motives, taste, fashion, what’s ‘popular’ etc ) – strikes an interesting chord in the light of possible directions for the new version of the visual arts programme, with particular reference to part 2.

The images are taken from student responses to their ‘virtual exhibition’ assignment.

cu·ra·tor   /kyʊˈreɪtər, ˈkyʊəreɪ- for 1, 2; ˈkyʊərətər for 3/ Show Spelled[kyoo-rey-ter, kyoor-ey- for 1, 2; kyoor-uh-ter for 3] Show IPA


1. the person in charge of a museum, art collection, etc.

2. a manager; superintendent.

3. Law . a guardian of a minor, lunatic, or other incompetent, especially with regard to his or her property.

One who manages or oversees, as the administrative director of a museum collection or a library.