October 1, 2021

Final call for applications: Commissioning and Curating Contemporary Public Art

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

The Future of Art and Heritage in Perpetually Restructuring Cities symposia, 2019. Photo: Kjell Caminha.

Distance course online with intensive workshops in Gothenburg and Helsinki.

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 is based on a combination of distance education and participation at two intensive workshops (from a choice of four) in: Gothenburg, Helsinki and another site yet to be announced. The city-based intensives might be 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 in recent years has included: Jason E. Bowman, Kerstin Bergendal, Kjell Caminha, Dr Viviana Checchia, Dr Cathryn Klasto, Dr Daniel Jewesbury, Maddie Leach, Suzanne Mooney, Dr Sarah Tuck, Professor Mick Wilson, and with 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 climate change, population displacement, network technologies, 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? Is public-ness just another construction of colonial-modernity?

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 2022 intensives are: February 16–18, April 27–29, September 28–30 and December 7–9. These dates might be subjected to minor alterations.

Applications via University Admissions (for international applicants) and via (for applicants based in Sweden).

Read more about the course: Commissioning and Curating Contemporary Public Art.

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