Hi students, if you are in a Northern Hemisphere school and in your final year as a DP visual arts student, the end is nigh.

DP Arts deadlines are earlier than the deadlines for other DP subjects, and your teacher will probably ask for various files even before the ‘official’ deadlines so that he/she can check that all is OK.

It’s probably a little stressful for you, but I know quite a few teachers who find this time of the year very stressful for them too.

The exhibition upload seems to cause the most stress because there are so many files to upload – potentially 35 photos of artwork before we even start to think of the exhibition texts, rationale etc.

Anyway, I’m hoping that this blog will remove or at least reduce some of that stress in the context of the writing that you will be doing as part of the exhibition upload.

There are two kinds of writing you’ll do in relation to the exhibition upload: writing for the Curatorial Rationale and the Exhibition Text.




Writing this document (the Rationale) should not come as a surprise. You will probably have visited a variety of art exhibitions during the course.

Hopefully, in response to these visits, you developed your own responses to artworks and exhibitions seen, which may have influenced your intentions for making your own artworks.

You may also have already had a mini-exhibition perhaps at the end of the first year. As part of this, some students may have had experience of selecting and presenting resolved works for exhibition, explaining the ways in which the works are connected and discussing how artistic judgments impact the overall presentation.

The curatorial rationale involves the decision-making process which underpins the selection of this connected and cohesive body of work for an audience


  • The SL rationale explains your intentions and how you have considered the presentation of work using curatorial methodologies, 400 words maximum.
  • The HL rationale explains your intentions and how you have considered the presentation of work using curatorial methodologies, as well as considering the potential relationship between the artworks and the viewer, 700 words maximum.



The Curatorial Rationale: avoid ARTSPEAK!

The Curious Rat (aka Curatorial Rationale)     



500 characters maximum per artwork (including spaces)

Each submitted artwork should be supported by exhibition text which outlines the title, medium and size of the artwork and  include a brief outline of the original intentions of the work and provides an outline of intentions and/or references to sources of inspiration for each piece. (500 characters maximum per artwork).

The exhibition text should contain reference to any sources which have influenced the individual piece. If another person’s work, ideas or images have influenced your exhibition work, the source must be included as a bibliography reference within the exhibition text, following the protocol of the referencing style chosen by the school.

To give you an idea of what 500 characters looks like, this (below) is 435 characters

Students should indicate if objects are self-made, found or purchased within the “medium” section of the exhibition text, where applicable. Students should identify if objects are selfmade, found or purchased under the “medium” section when compiling the exhibition text for each of their submitted pieces. Students should identify if objects are self-made, found or purchased under the “medium” section when compiling exhibition text.


  • If you are deliberately appropriating another artist’s image as part of your art-making intentions, the text must acknowledge the source of the original image.


  • If one artwork is “collective” (e.g. a diptych, triptych, polyptych or series), this must be stated as part of the title in the exhibition text, presented in parentheses. For example: Title of the piece (diptych).

Font/size etc

  • Students do not need to select a font or size for exhibition text (title, media, size etc) as this is entered into text fields when the work is uploaded.
  • For the curatorial rationale, a font or size is not specified, but in the IB eCoursework newsletter, Arial font is recommended with a minimum font size of 11.