Three organisations have been selected to join the Future Curators Network, which aims to address deep-rooted inequality against disabled people in the visual arts sector.
Laura Clarke, Artistic Director and Joint CEO, Arts Catalyst, Sheffield concludes: We're thrilled to be part of the Future Curators Programme and join this network of inspiring organisations with a shared commitment to institutional change. We are excited to work with the Future Curator to enrich the research and curatorial development of Arts Catalyst's programme and institutional practices, as we continue to work towards and advocate for a more polyphonic, intersectional and equitable cultural sector.
Newlyn Art Gallery & Exchange (Cornwall), John Hansard Gallery (Southampton) and Arts Catalyst (Sheffield) will join the network in 2022, joining existing members MIMA (Teeside), Wysing Arts Centre (Cambridge) and Midland Arts Centre (Birmingham).
The three new members will host a disabled curator for a 15 month period, during which time the curator will become fully embedded within the organisation. The long-term nature of the residency allows genuine learning to take place on both sides – organisational norms that provide unwitting barriers to disabled people can be addressed, and the curator can gather valuable professional experience and develop their practice.
Each residency will result in a new exhibition or body of work, produced by the curator with the support of their host organisation.
DASH set up the Future Curators programme in 2019 in response to years of working with disabled artists. It became clear to DASH that meaningful progress depended upon disabled people taking positions of influence within visual arts organisations, rather than simply relying on well-meaning individual projects with limited long-term legacy.
Organisations within the Future Curators Network meet regularly to collaboratively plan the programme, discuss their activity and share details of successes and mistakes that have been made. This safe space for learning between arts organisations aims to create genuine long-term change within the sector.
Mike Layward, Artistic Director, DASH comments: We are so excited about the expansion of the Future Curators Network. The three new partners bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Network, which now stretches from Cornwall to Teesside and covers most parts of England. We have high hopes for the Future Curators programme and the influence it will bring in diversifying the visual arts sector.
James Green, Director, Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange adds: We are delighted to have been selected to be part of this important programme and to be able to support an emerging curator at a key moment in their career. The Future Curators programme will help us to build on our work to address the striking lack of diversity amongst those in decision-making positions within visual arts organisations nationally. DASH has provided great leadership in this area and we are excited to be able to partner with them.
Woodrow Kernohan, Director, John Hansard Gallery comments: Striving towards an inclusive community is at the heart of John Hansard Gallery. This opportunity comes at a key moment for us, as we have been making positive change within our organisational culture and building relationships with our community partners. Through this programme we look forward to creating a new pathway for a disabled curator and transforming our model of leadership.