October 7, 2020

Final call for applications: Commissioning and Curating Contemporary Public Art

HDK-Valand Academy of Art and Design at University of Gothenburg

Revisiting PARK LEK with artist Kerstin Bergendal, intensive workshop in Stockholm, May 2019. Photo: Kjell Caminha, 2019.

A distance course, at advanced level, introducing key issues and practices in working with art in the public realm targeted at continuing professional development for curators, commissioners, policy-makers, artists, communities, community organisers, activists, planners, other professionals, practitioners and publics interested in the questions of commissioning and curating contemporary public art. This international course, delivered in English and in partnership with University of Arts Helsinki, is based on a combination of distance education and participation at two intensive workshops (from a choice of four) in: Gothenburg, Helsinki and Rome. The city-based intensives are subject to revision due to covid-19 restrictions.

This part-time course is designed to facilitate professionals and people with existing commitments to access continuing professional development in university education in a flexible manner.

The course is free to EU nationals. Students are responsible for their own costs of attending the two selected intensive workshops. Admission is based on letter of intention in English stating why you wish to attend the course, 200 to 350 words in length.

The teaching team includes: Jason E. Bowman, Kerstin Bergendal, Kjell Caminha, Dr Viviana Checchia, Dr Cathryn Klasto, Dr Daniel Jewesbury, Suzanne Mooney, Dr Sarah Tuck, Professor Mick Wilson, and special guests.

What is the nature of public art? What do the policy-makers, commissioners, curators, artists and other specialists working with public art need to know about this rapidly changing and expanded field of practice? What do communities wishing to invite public art into their environments, or wishing to instigate public art commissions, need to know in order to pursue their desires and ambitions? Who can commission public art? Who is it commissioned for? What about decommissioning? What does "publicness" mean in the contexts of public art? What are the spaces of "publicness" in an era of network technologies, population displacement and changing political imaginaries? What are the processes and frameworks that operate when art is created in, and for, public space? What are the challenges of curating art in the public realm? How can curators, commissioners, communities, artists, and other practitioners effectively move between ideas and ideals of public culture, and the pragmatic contexts of actual decision-making, production, procurement, installation, and planning processes? What, if any, are the possible relationships between public art and local democracy?

These questions are approached through conflicting perceptions of public space, public culture, and the contested themes of "the public sphere." We emphasize the interaction of theory and practice, so as not to privilege theory over practice, but rather to look at how different perspectives—rooted in practice as well as informed by theoretical analysis—connect to different possibilities in realising art as an integral part of public life.

Please note: the online sessions run mostly on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4pm Swedish time (CET). You will require a good reliable internet access and headphones. Content from the workshops will also be posted online for course participants to access. Participation in the workshops means that your contributions to the discussions may be recorded for this purpose. Students are responsible for their own costs of attending the workshops.

Intensive workshops
The intensive workshop, involving physical attendance, is chosen from two of the following four options. (It is possible to attend more if you wish, you are expected to attend at least two.) The dates for 2021 intensives are: February 17–19, April 28–30, September 22–24 and December 1–3. These workshops might take place online due to covid-19 travel restrictions.

Application is via University Admissions.

Read more about the course: Commissioning and Curating Contemporary Public Art
See our other master's level courses taught in English: Between Design and Architecture / Design Cultures / Design and the Posthumanist Perspective

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