Process of Curation.

For one of my classes, Creative Marketplace, I had to create a artefact and place it within a creative marketplace. I chose to use my studio project and made my artefact an up coming exhibition which looked into the process of curation. This was a way for me to kill two birds with one stone; I was able to complete my assignment but also research things which are relevant to studio. Audience engagement is one of the main points of the studio project. One of the key aims is creating spaces where the audience/participants feel connected to the artwork, where they can feel comfortable to engage and play, opposed to just viewing. 



‘The Art of Curation’ is an up coming exhibition, which aims to examine and define where, and how, curatorship fits into today’s modern society. Looking at curation as an art form was not commonly accepted until recently but now days it is a respected creative practice on its own. Curators in today’s artistic community have a unique understanding of layout and space, and know how to incorporate the relevant points of artist’s creations into an exhibition to make it the best it can be and to tell the story of the work.  Curators have traditionally been employed in Museums and Galleries but with the introduction of new technologies and the ‘portfolio career’; many have now become freelancers, online content managers and bloggers. There is now a social and cultural need for resources to be made readily available to the public, which once would have been locked away in Museum archives, but have now found a new, engaging home online.


Curation (and curators) has always been a respected field, more so in cultural and social value than in economic. Curation is a rapidly growing practice and discourse that is fundamentally shifting the ways in which we view and receive art. Townley, Beech and McKinlay (2009) state that creative works are symbolic, experiential goods of non-utilitarian value, and that there meaning and significance is determined by the consumer’s coding and decoding of value. They state that these works are not used or consumed, as are traditional goods. They suggest examining the framework of capital outlined by Bourdieu (1993), as a way to inform the discussion of value within this creative industry. In order to determine the value of this artefact, the economic, cultural, social and symbolic value of curation must be examined.


1.1Economic Value


Economical value is the price that an artifact would fetch within a marketplace auction. It refers to monetary income, financial resources and assets. The salary received each year can measure the economical value of the curator. On (Careers 2013) curators at regional museums and galleries typically earn between $40,00-$70,00 a year, while senior curators or team leaders earn between $60,00-$100,000 a year.


This is all based on the experience of curator, and typically in order to gain a higher salary wage one must have a post-graduate degree or higher. In England the figures are much the same, Curators’ starting salaries – often between £12,000 and 14,000 – are considered low given that most jobs require postgraduate qualifications. For a second or third job, expect around £18,000-£20,000; top curators earn up to £40,000, and more in larger museums (Flanagan, 2002). They also site curation as being a ‘poor’ job choice in relation to the wage, and also because of the current economical climate currently sees not growth in this area but a decrease, as can be seen in the graph below.

However, there is an understanding that you do not choose to go into this profession for the money value but rather the cultural and social values. Erin Riley-Lopez sums it up in her interview with Brendon Carroll “ I curate because I love it, not because I want money, curating for me isn’t about the monetary compensation. It’s about contributing to the discourse surrounding contemporary art.” (Carroll,2012).




1.4 Social:


The actual or potential resources linked to the possession of a network of institutionalized relationships. Social value is the networks and relationships built by individuals with in creative industries. In order to be successful in this field, curators need to network with organizations and important people in the industry, build relationships with artist and artist communities, and gain a solid reputation in order to get ahead. As Riley-Lopez says, when asked about working for free as many third sector organizations do not have the budget to pay Curators, “I cannot speak for anyone else, but I was really excited to be involved in projects when I was just starting out, because these projects helped me network, connect with people in the field, and provided me with invaluable experiences… The reward for me is getting to work with living, contemporary artists and engaging in a constant dialogue not only with artists but with other arts professionals”(Carrol, 2012).


These social contacts, if used right, can offer support and job opportunities in the future. Not only can these networks be formed in the city or country one works in, but through online connections too. The Internet has become an embedded part of western societies daily life, and this has helped people create communities that span globally. The Curators Network is a perfect example of the social value of curation. Curators from five European companies have come together with the goal of helping art professionals across Europe share their knowledge, encouraging international collaboration between European organizations and curators and promoting new artists in European cities  (Curators Network, 2011).


1.5 Cultural:


Curators offer particular knowledge and skills, and an understanding of the ownership of cultural goods. Curatoring in its most basic form is the handling, categorizing and display of artwork, literature, and cultural objects, be that in a museum/gallery or an online blog/website. Curatorship is about the authenticity of these goods, preserving and ‘translating’ them for the significant of cultural goods. Curation enables the space of exhibition to open up new possibilities for dialogue and exchange, with these new perspectives feeding back into the way in which the exhibition is perceived and reflected (GASKILL, 2011).


Curatorship, as with cultural capital, are heavily influenced by background, inscribing identity, career access and progression (Mclead et al). Curation takes on the values of cultural capital in the form of outreach programs run by museums in order to inform the public about a certain topic, image/identity projects and the marketing, planning and promotion of these artefacts. Curators often have to think of alternative income streams to get their projects off the ground. Curation has because a thriving part of the cultural vales within the artistic community. As Paul O’Neill said, curators have moved from a  “behind-the-scenes aesthetic arbiter to a centralised position on a broader stage, with a creative, political and active part to play in the production, mediation and dissemination of art itself.” (O’Neill, 2007) The Community Museum Project highlights this point. Run by a curatorial collective, they manage and run museum projects but are not a museum per se. The CMP choose to work independently from the formal museum profession, and uses ‘museum’ as a tactical metaphor to engage ‘museologically’ in the articulation of vernacular cultures, everyday spectacles, and community values. (SIU, 2012)



1.6 Symbolic:


Legitimacy or respect proffered according to terms valued within the field; prestige reflecting knowledge of, and recognition within, the field. Curators are seen as a symbol of knowledge; they are more than normal Museum employees because they deal in ‘symbolic’ goods (Wright, 2005). Curators thrive on their abilities to define and legitimize cultural and artistic values, standards and styles, as with symbolic cultural capital. (Anheier,1995). Curators work with symbolic objects, cultural icons, and famous art works, all that have some sort of symbolic meaning. Art is the portrayal of ideas, and a curator helps create stories that type in all of the symbols associated within an artwork. They set the tone and aim to give the audience a wider understanding of what the artist was trying to convey through their work. Curators also work with symbolic cultural objects. They need to have to correct skills and knowledge when handling these objects, as some are sacred for a certain people in the world.


2. 1 

 “The Art of Curation” will be running from the 26th of May until the 12 of June, at the AF gallery on Mt Sally Street, Auckland. It will also be available online at, a virtual platform for the portrayal of art. Opening night will be streamed via live feed from within the studio on the AF website.

 The project aims to entice and entangle both old and young art enthusiasts into the world of curation, opening eyes that may have once been shut to the idea with curation is an art form on its own accord. There is a general feel at the moment that art needs to be audience based, with the audience becoming a central focus in the planning and management of museums, galleries and independent art shows (Flanagan, 2002). There is a struggle at the moment with in contempary art to where the audience fits in and where the curatorial authority lies. There has been a shift in the last 30 years into what art can be, what defines art, where it can be shown, and the platforms it can be portrayed with in (Muller, Edmonds). We aim to create a platform that will become a site for the audience, curator and art to collaborate together to form one piece. The introduction to interactive, innovative projects can be highlighted by Le Cube’s 2002 and 2005 community lead project. They got a group of artists together with the idea of creating something that would serve as new viewing platforms for the community, things that could be placed around a park or a square and would cause the public to be curious and experiment with these artefacts. The whole aim of the project was to create public art and interaction.

 We are aiming for four key movements to occur through out and after the exhibition; Audience engagement, contextualization, curatorial impact and the artistic exchange.

Audience engagement is defined as a guiding philosophy in the creation and delivery of arts experiences in which the paramount concern is maximizing impact on the participant. Others refer to this vein of work as “enrichment programming” or “adult education.”

 Contextualization occurs when audience members acquire information and insight about an arts program, allowing for deeper understanding and appreciation.

 The moment of curatorial insight occurs when an audience member grasps the unifying idea behind a performance or exhibition and gains a sense of why the organization or artist selected a work of art. It is a key threshold of understanding that can unlock the experience and allow for higher impacts to occur.


The Artistic Exchange can be defined as the transference of emotion and meaning between an artist or curator and the public, bounded within the time period of the start to the finish of an exhibition. (BROWN, RATZKIN 2011).


This graph portrays the 5 different stages of audience engagement. 


We hope to create a mood of openness using these techniques:


-Appropriate build up through the use of advertisement,

-The level of preparation in creating the exhibition.

-The artistic exchange between the artist/s and the audience,

-The post-processing’s of feelings and memories

-Impact echo of the exhibition, leaving the audience with memories that can be triggered some time after they have experienced the exhibition.



My advert will be spilt into 4 sections, and has been confirmed for a 30 second slot on National Radio, Bfm, Radio New Zealand and Georgefm. These radio stations have been chosen because they fit with the demographics we wish to have attend this exhibition, both young adults and middle-aged adults. The keywords through out the advertisement are “Engage” “Audience based” and “experience”. The general tone will be serious, informative, positive and fun. The potential audience should feel intrigued to know more, and willing to come along to participate in the exhibition. 


0-5 seconds:




‘The Art of Curation’ is an up coming exhibition, which aims to examine and define where, and how, curatorship fits into today’s modern society.


5-15 seconds:




There will be a central focus on how the audience engages with the space, the artwork and the curators, so we invite everyone and anyone who is interested to come and be a part of this audience based experience.


15-25 seconds:


Artists/Curators Participating:


Sierra Roberts, Robbie White and Lily Kate Vallance will be showing their works in collaboration with the curatorial documents of the AF gallery staff, including articles and documents from the galleries private archives.


25-30 seconds:




Opening night is the 25th of May from 6pm until 9pm at the AF Gallery, 1277 Mt Sally Street, Eden Terrace, and will be running from the 26th until the 12 of June from 10am-4pm.




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            cultural fields. American Journal of Sociology, 1995,


Bourdieu, P. The field of cultural production. Oxford: Polity Press, 1993.


Brown, A and Ratskin, R Making sense of Audience engagement,

            The San Francisco Production, 2011.


CareersNZ, Curators, Updated 15 Feb 2013,


CareersNz, Curators, Updated 15 Feb 2013,


Carroll, B, Curator finds the perfect job (and makes a decent living

 too), September 28 2012.


Fenyvesi, A, SzalaiTomasz Gutkowski, B, Martín-Jiménez, J,

Meschede Anca Mihulet, Andrea Löbel, Jürgen Tabor, ‘Mission Statement.’, 2011


Flanagan, B, Curators, Sunday 9 June


GASKILL, K . Curatorial cultures : considering dynamic curatorial practice.In:

ISEA – The 17th International Symposium on Electronic Art, Istanbul, Turkey, 14-21 September 2011. (Unpublished)


King-chung SIU , Visualizing the Community: Art and Design Tools for Social

Changes , 2012, School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic  University


Muller, Z and Edmonds, E Living Laboratories: Making and Curating

Interactive Art Creativity and Cognition Studios’, University of Technology, Sydney


O’Neill, P, Curating Subject’, (London: Open Editions, 2007),




Townley,B, Beech, N and McKinlay, A , Managing in the creative industries: 
                Managing the motley crew, 
Human Relations, Jun 19, 2009



Wright, D. Mediating production and consumption.

            The British Journal of Sociology, 2005


Zingwall, N,  The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism:Art and Audience,

Summer 1999



-Rachael Short.


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