Contemporary models of curatorial and institutional praxis: a study of the foundation for art and creative technology (FACT)

Krzemien Barkley, Aneta
Contemporary models of curatorial and institutional praxis: a study of the foundation for art and creative technology (FACT). PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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This thesis describes and examines curatorial approaches and models of institutional practice which have emerged as a response to transformations in contemporary art, particularly as engendered by new media art and socially engaged practices, as well as wider changes regarding the role and functioning of culture in contemporary society. Focusing on institutional and curatorial praxis at the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT) in Liverpool – the first purpose built gallery for presenting new media art in the UK – this study examines practicalities and challenges of new institutional and curatorial formats in the context of critical debates about the role and shape of art institutions, new models of artistic and curatorial practice, as well as wider socio-political and economic aspects of cultural management. The thesis is a result of collaborative research conducted at FACT, which included an intense period of practical involvement in FACT’s operations through the co-curating of Turning FACT Inside Out exhibition, which celebrated the 10th anniversary of the FACT building. Combining different methodological tools including curatorial practice, participant observation, interviews and case studies, this research gives behind the scenes insight into FACT’s programming, particularly the modes of production and curatorial practice. It demonstrates how curatorial and production approaches develop within a particular institutional framework and how this institutional framework, in turn, influences the practice of curators. The research examines both advantages and limitations of particular institutional and curatorial models of working while providing insight into different factors shaping institutional agendas as well as complexities and contingencies of cultural production and management.  The analysis of FACT’s curatorial practice described and examined different approaches with the most distinct ones being context-responsive, durational and collaborative curatorial ways of working. With regard to institutional practice, the findings indicate that FACT shares many similarities with institutional models developed within new media centers and the models of art institutions proposed by new institutionalism. The analysis indicates that those curatorial and institutional models and ways of working – although not without their challenges – provide suitable frameworks for supporting a wide range of artistic practices, emerging from socially engaged and new media art. The study also concludes that those models of working, as examined in the context of FACT, imply a shift in the role of the curator to that of the producer, with particular emphasis on delivery tasks and production of content rather than context. Findings also suggest that economic aspects will play a significant role in defining the future shape of art institutions, which will need to develop strategies towards sustainable business models including flexible employment structures and project-based models of working. These come with a danger of the institution being too delivery focused and loosing sight of its role as a knowledge producer. The flexible and cost effective employment structure may also lead to the dissipation of the institutional knowledge base while contributing to the already precarious labour conditions in the arts.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Date: 2014-09 (completed)
Subjects: ?? NX ??
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2015 13:00
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2022 00:48
DOI: 10.17638/02010519