Royal College of Art
Supervised by Dr Ben Cranfield, Senior Tutor in Curatorial Theory and History, Curating Contemporary Art, Royal College of Art, and Dr Marko Daniel, Curator (Public Programmes), Tate Modern
October 2016 –

In my PhD I am looking at public programming as a practice and theoretical field. Within all kinds of institutions – artistic, museological, scientific or academic – there are departments responsible for something called the ‘public programme’. In this notional space a variety of events may take place that can involve socialising, learning, making and communing. In art institutions what constitutes the ‘public programme’ might be labelled as art, education or marketing. Where the public programme, or elements of it, appear in scholarship they have largely been treated as adjunctive to the exhibition. In practice the public programme is frequently under-funded and under-archived by institutions, making it a slippery object of study at best. At the same time, through socially engaged, performative, discursive and digital practices the public programme is foregrounded as the conduit for new kinds of art and knowledge production.

My project utilises queer theory to open up the problems and opportunities thrown up by the overlapping discourses and practices that describe what a public programme might be, to break up the normative idea of a monolithic public and think about what the queer potential of the public programme within the arts institution might be.

Part of my project includes practice-based research in collaboration with three partner institutions: Tate, Open School East and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. Through a set of collaborations with these institutions I will explore problems and opportunities thrown up by my initial literature review across museum and gallery education; the expanded curatorial; educational turn and new institutionalism; socially engaged art practice and critiques of ‘community’ and ‘participation’ from theatre studies, art theory and philosophy.