Recently I had the pleasure of doing two talks outside my normal teaching context (Birkbeck, University of London): one for the current cohort of students at the Royal College of Art’s Curating Contemporary Art, upon the invitation of my wonderful former colleague Ben Cranfield, the other for BA arts students across programmes at Manchester Metropolitan University, upon the invitation of the equally wonderful Judith Winter. While the emphasis of the talks of course differed – Ben had specifically asked me to use my research as focus/starting point, whereas Judith wanted me to keep things broader to try and speak to a very diverse group of undergraduate students – I used some of the same material for both, with slight adaptations. At the RCA I talked specifically about publications as a space in relation to curatorial practice and discourse, and our expectations about its use in relation to art and exhibitions, whereas at MMU I focused on the use of publications as space for artistic practice and its mediation. Below the two opening slides: spot the difference…  

As I have done before, I used a facebook conversation Paul O’Neill and I had about five years ago, about the difference between curating an exhibition and curating a book, to kick-start my musings. Because I am in the middle of thinking and writing for several chapters in relation to my own research, doing both talks proved to be a welcome trigger to refocus.

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