Staging an Exhibition: The First Step to Becoming a Curator

I don’t know about you, but I always thought wanting to be a curator was the Art Historical equivalent of wanting to be a Rock Star – a pretty competitive field to get in to.

One of the best things about Aberystwyth School of Art is that not only is it a University department, it’s also a public museum and gallery. That means as a student you can use the museum’s resources and gallery spaces, and be part of professional projects that are open to the public. The vocational modules you can do here are opportunities to gain really valuable work experience without all the hassle of setting up a placement yourself.

‘Staging an Exhibition’ is a new module where students get the chance to curate an exhibition of works from our collection that will be shown in the School of Art Gallery. Just like any other show we exhibit, some of which have travelled from the National Gallery in Cardiff, or the Royal Academy in London, your exhibition gets promoted professionally with swanky posters and a Private View at it’s opening. It’s the real deal.

Writer and tutor Harry Heuser leads the project. To get the ball rolling, he comes prepared with an idea of what the exhibition will be about. Your job is to get together with your fellow curators and make it happen:

  1. Select the artworks you want to exhibit
  2. Discuss the various themes
  3. Come up with a title
  4. Design labels, a catalogue, a website
  5. Launch an advertising campaign
  6. Revamp the gallery
  7. Learn how to hang the works
  8. Attend your Private View with your guests and a glass of wine

With the freedom to steer the project and transform the gallery based on your own ideas, taking this module is the first step to becoming a curator. Have a look at this short video that gives a flavour of what’s involved.

Jen Loffman, Curatorial Assistant

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