July 23, 2021

Open Call classroom voting program


Gulsen Bal, Manchester School of Art.

Help decide real-world arts programming with your class.

The apexart Open Call is a unique open call for exhibition proposals that occurs twice per year and accepts ideas from anyone, anywhere, consisting of a 500-word description of an idea-based group exhibition. No images, links, videos, or CVs are accepted. The jury is composed of approximately 400 individuals and arts-related classes from around the world and uses an online crowdsourcing system, with each juror voting on a subset of anonymous and randomized proposals. Our signature selection process results in exhibitions that reflect the interests and sensibilities of our international audiences, and is the fairest procedure we’ve developed so far.

How your class can help us determine next seasons schedule
As an assignment or an elective, you can specify the number of proposals students review for credit—generally 20–50, according to how much time you wish to devote to voting and subsequent discussion. It takes about 2 hours to read and rate 50 proposals. Each student is given an individual login through which they review proposals, rating each one on a scale of 1 (uninteresting)–5 (very interesting).

Classroom benefits
Students actually help determine next season’s programming and gain real world, real time experience evaluating proposals and considering what makes a compelling proposal. As apexart jurors, they’ll review ideas coming from all around the world—our last open call brought proposals in from 68 countries. Being on the other side of the “grading” process is essential to one’s own understanding of the curatorial process and the selection process, and provides great classroom discussion about what art is and what its purpose can be. The variety of proposals provides valuable insight into the themes and ideas that are pressing in local and international considerations.

What we ask from you
Distribute a website-based questionnaire to participating students, and provide us with the number of students for numerical identification along with how you'd like to customize the process that works best for you, such as number of proposals to be assigned and calendar restraints.

What we provide
Login information, instructions, and deadline reminders that can be sent directly to your students if they wish, along with dates to end the voting process and begin discussion. We provide you with a live tally page that will show voting by your students, as well as the ratings for each proposal given by each student, a copy of the proposal, and the order of its ranking as determined by all jurors. We provide sample questions for discussion about content, and considering unfamiliar cultural and aesthetic elements on their own terms while learning to rate exhibition proposals.

Educators find that serving on an apexart jury encourages lively discussion about many aspects of curating, writing, and exhibition organization including size, location, purpose, and feasibility. Students enjoy the process and appreciate that their input is actually helping us select our exhibitions. To date, more than 100 classes from universities and art schools have participated, including The New School, Node Center for Curatorial Studies, Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, de Appel Curatorial Program, Makere University, and MICA.

More information on the program and how to sign up can be found here. Contact: Lisa Vagnoni, Web Director, lisa.vagnoni [​at​]

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