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PhD in Practice in Curating

PHD in Practice in Curating,
cooperation of ZHDK and University of Reading,
supported by swissuniversities

Programme directors: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Richter and Prof. Susanne Clausen

Programme in Department of Art at the University of Reading see here.

See all PhD Students below.

The Department of Art at the University of Reading in collaboration with the Postgraduate Programme in Curating is offering a new doctoral program for research in and as curatorial and/or artistic practice. Research students are enrolled at the University of Reading and the Postgraduate Programme in Curating is hosting a research group and offers opportunities for teaching and lecturing in Higher Education. The new PhD programme specializes in offering established curators, artists, art critics and designers from all disciplines the critical framework to focus on specific curatorial and cultural research topics in order to earn a Doctorate from the University of Reading through a combined theoretical and practical approach.

The Research Platform aims to provide a cooperative environment with a decidedly cross-disciplinary and international bent based on an association of two outstanding Programmes, the Department of Art at the University of Reading and the Postgraduate Program in Curating at the Zurich University for the Arts. The program responds to recent changes in the processes of the production of culture and a shift in the organisation of work processes throughout society. Within this shift, individual areas of action are coming together in new meta-levels, such as networks and knowledge transfer. The program aims to address and to question the significant changes affecting cultural production. It seeks to provide a productive environment for participants to discuss and develop their research, to critically reflect on the issues involved and to transform their own respective positions as producers, agents, designers, artists, archivists, and conveyors of those economies, and the politics, aesthetics and effects related to them. The program emphasises the reflection of curatorial and artistic methodologies and prospects of arts production, its practitioners, and its audiences.

The practice-based PhD program is designed for a three year duration. Participants are enrolled at the Department of Art at the University of Reading and they should be prepared to take part in seminars and communal meetings in Zurich and Reading. Over the course of the three years participants will develop and realise their projects supported by the academic and artistic team of co-participants and faculty.

The participants have access to the facilities and resources of the Department of Art at Reading and at the Postgraduate Program in Curating and to the institutions and people that form the broader and expanding Research Platform. Participants will be supported to pursue and develop dissertation work resulting in a curatorial/artistic project and a written component displaying a strong emphasis on methodological reflexivity and documentation. Moreover, participants are expected to take an active part in organizing the program (coordinating workshops, guest lectures, conferences, exhibitions, screenings, etc.). After successful completion and submission of the PhD, a Doctorate will be awarded by the University of Reading.

Participants will be able to engage with the ongoing international public programmes connected to the Postgraduate Programme in Curating Zurich, and with the independent OnCurating magazine.

Entry requirements

Requirements for admission to the PhD in Practice program are a degree (MA, MFA or diploma) from a recognized University or Academy, and the submission of a portfolio and/or a written project proposal (to be written in English). Applicants who are already engaged in an artistic or academic career are encouraged to apply. Applications will be made directly to the University of Reading.

Please contact the Department of Art for further information: Dorothee Richter <>

The main practical areas for curatorial approaches are:

• Exhibitions and exhibition architecture
• Design
• Production of books and catalogues
• Installations
• Digital projects
• Transdisciplinary practices
• Art Mediation
• Art in public spaces
• Art education projects/ communication projects
• Sound-specific projects
• Film/Video/Performance

Areas of Research

Transfer: contemporary discourses of exhibition practice / undertaking a critique of ideology through the medium of exhibition making / everyday culture to high culture/ media in relation to curating

Display: the practices and power relations within modes of display; modes and discourses of audience address

Context: Sites/ discourses of space and body politics / review of political missions/ (post)colonial perspectives / Re-interpretations of collection politics

Contemporary Practices: artistic and curatorial projects / paradigm shifts concerning the production, distribution, and reception of exhibitions, curating as cultural practice, performative curating

Prof. Susanne Clausen is an artist and Professor at Department of Art at of the University of Reading.

Prof. Dr. Dorothee Richter is Director of the Postgraduate Programme in Curating, ICS, DKV, ZhdK and Profossor in Contemporary Curating at the University of Reading.

The Research Platform currently supports/ has supported doctoral projects by

Allan Siegel, Avi Feldman, Elke Krasny, Katerina Valdivia Bruch, Omar Kholeif, Sarah-Luise Spiess, Antonio Cataldo, Maayan Sheleff, Isabella Burrevans, Hadas Kedar, Katalin Erdödi, Gilly Karjevsky, Lalita Salander, Ronald Kolb


Omar Kholeif
Towards a New Language
Re-Defining the Frameworks of Regionally Focused Curating of the Arab World
Omar Kholeif
was Curator at Whitechapel Gallery, London. Recent curatorial projects include curating the Cyprus Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale, Focus: Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean at the Armory Show, New York, and the 2015 Abraaj Group Art Prize, Art Dubai. Recent publications include, You Are Here: Art After the Internet (2014), Jeddah Childhood Circa 1994 (2014), and Moving Image (2015). He is now senior curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Richter, Prof. Alun Rowland

Elke Krasny
Suzanne Lacy’s International Dinner Party in feminist curatorial thought
Elke Krasny is professor at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. She co-edited the 2013 volume Women’s:Museum. Curatorial Politics in Feminism, Education, History, and Art.
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Richter, Prof. Alun Rowland

Allan Siegel
“Rubbing Along” Food, politics and public space

Allan Siegel is a filmmaker, visual artist and teacher. He was one of the founding members of the documentary film collective Newsreel and later a co-director of Third World Newsreel. His films have been presented at major international festivals and on public television throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Richter, Prof. Alun Rowland



Avi Feldman
Imagine the law – Law and the Legal System in Contemporary Art (temporary title)
Among Avi Feldman’s most recent curatorial and writing projects one the exhibition ‘Set in Motion’ at the Petach Tikva Museum of Art (May-September, 2014); and the publication ‘Extremum – Reflections on the work of Yasmeen Godder’ (Petach Tikva Museum of Art and Asia Publishers, 2014), which he also edited.

Avi Feldman (Born in Montréal, Canada) is based in Tel Aviv, Berlin, and Dresden, where he works as a curator and writer. In 2018, Feldman will be the curator in-residence at MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38, NYC.
Recently, Feldman curated the exhibitions ‘Motions for the Agenda’ (May-June, 2017) at Artport, Tel-Aviv, and ‘Playing Hide and Law’ (March-May, 2017) at tranzit, Bratislava. Also in 2017, Feldman curated the NeuLicht Festival for video art by Omanut at Kunsthaus Zurich and KOSMOS Kulturhaus, Zurich.
Feldman co-edited the publication ‘Set in Motion’ (January, 2017) on museums, dance and public space. It followed an exhibition by the same title co-curated for the Petach Tikva Museum of Art in Israel, and editing of the publication Extremum – Reflections on the Work of Yasmeen Godder (November, 2014).
Since 2013, Feldman has been a PhD candidate at The Research Platform for Curatorial Studies — a collaboration between University of Reading (UK) and Zurich University for the Arts (CH). As part of this programme, his thesis focuses on examining contemporary reciprocal relations between the fields of art and law.
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Richter, Prof. Alun Rowland


Katerina Valdivia Bruch
Contacta: Participatory Art, Politics and Social Change
This dissertation investigates relational arts practices in Lima during the Gobierno Revolucionario de las Fuerzas Armadas (Revolutionary Government of the Armed Forces), a leftist-oriented military administration, which started in October 1968 and ended in 1980 with the return to democracy. The research will focus on participatory arts practices and how they fostered art in the public space, the democratisation of culture and social change. As a case study, the dissertation will focus on the total art festival Contacta held in 1971, 1972 and 1979.

Katerina Valdivia Bruch is a Berlin-based independent curator, writer and art critic. She studied Philosophy, Cultural Policies and Management and holds a M.A. in Museum Studies and Critical Theory of the Independent Study Programme, MACBA/Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Katerina has curated exhibitions and organised talks and lectures for a number of institutions, including ZKM-Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Bielefelder Kunstverein (Bielefeld), Grimmuseum (Berlin), CCCB (Barcelona), Instituto Cervantes (Berlin and Munich), Instituto Cultural de Leon (Mexico), Para/Site Art Space (Hong Kong), and the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, LASALLE College of the Arts. In 2008, she was co-curator of the Prague Triennale at the National Gallery in Prague. Besides her work as a curator, she contributes essays and articles to art publications and magazines.
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Richter, Prof. Susanne Clausen

Sarah Spies
Choreographies of the Curatorial: Performative futures and new mythologies for dance in and beyond the museum.
Sarah Spies is a choreographer, performance curator and senior lecturer in contemporary dance and performance art. She works with Manchester-based artists-led curatorial collective Accumulations ( on collaborative curatorial practice, DIY strategies for curating ephemeral and process-orientated arts practice and research-based public programmes. She has created performative work within international gallery settings and has published on time-based performance within curatorial settings. She is part of ICI (Independent Curators International) and the international exchange programme MAHALA/Temporary Occupations and AFiRIperFOMA Biennial.
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Richter, Prof. Susanne Clausen

Maayan Sheleff
Preaching to the Choir
The performative human voice and the politics of participation. Maayan Sheleff is a curator based in Israel, working there with major museums (Science Museum in Jerusalem and worldwide.)

Maayan Sheleff is an independent curator based in Tel Aviv, as well as the artistic advisor of The Art Cube Artists’ Studios in Jerusalem and the founder and curator of its international residency program, “LowRes Jerusalem”. Her projects take a reflexive approach towards participation and activism. She is currently studying for a Practice-Based PHD at the Curatorial platform, the University of Reading (UK) and ZHDK (CH), exploring political choirs, or the use of the collective human voice in participatory practices. Some of her recent projects include “The Infiltrators”, exhibition of participatory projects with African Asylum seekers, at Artport Gallery, Tel Aviv ( 2014), “Preaching to the Choir” at Herzlyia Museum in Israel (2015), and “50 years”, an activist project marking 50 year of Israeli occupation with Bet’selem human reights organization. She is currently working on an exhibition at the Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht, Holand, realted to her PHD research. She teaches in various academic institutions and her latest publication was Fear and Love in Graz, (in:) Empty Stages, Crowded Flats. Performativity as Curatorial Strategy, performing urgency #4, Editors Florian Malzacher and Janna Warsza.
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Richter, Prof. Susanne Clausen

Antonio Cataldo
The Portable, the Dissolvable, the Transmissible: migratory practices of exposition
Antonio Cataldo is working as programmer at the Office for Contemporary Art in Norway
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Richter, Prof. Susanne Clausen

Katalin Erdödi
“Something always blooms” – Curatorial strategies and knowledge production in post-socialist rural space

Katalin Erdődi works as an independent curator in the fields of contemporary art and performance, with a focus on cross-disciplinary collaboration, politically engaged artistic and curatorial strategies, and art in public space, understood in the broadest sense as social, architectural, and discursive space. Central to her practice is an experimentation with different formats, from performance through exhibition-making to site-specific and process-oriented projects, with an interest in art as social practice and a tool for knowledge production. She is based in Vienna and works between Austria and Hungary.
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Richter, Prof. Alun Rowland

Hadas Kedar
Remote Art: De-Colonized and De-Imperialized Patterns of Cultural Imaginaries
The research conducts a systematic investigation and a classification of art that is distinctive of remote areas. It commences with an illustration of the unique features of remote places, vis-a-vis the physical and metaphysical traits of these spaces, and continues with a survey into the visual culture that regions far from populated centers have cultivated. By reaching back to the prehistoric and historical art that has developed in deserts, steppes and velds, the research observes patterns of colonization and their government on cultural imaginary. These examinations assist the research to re-insert local indigenous arts and crafts intp the context of a global art canon.
An awareness to a series of colonial pasts and of hegemonic presents, tie together art institutions that are separated by vast distances. The Deluzian concepts of the ‘rhizome’, ‘nomadism’ and ‘smooth space’ serve as the key to understand a wave of post-institutional art stemming from remote areas. The consideration of this remote, post-institutional art paves the way to an understanding of the capacity that art institutions located outside populated areas hold and their ability to produce and exhibit a new genre of art.
An analysis of three contemporary and one historical remote art institution – their curatorial agenda, their outreach programs, their cultural agents – assists to articulate the ethos of art institutions, the uniqueness of creative agents situated in remote areas, and aids to distinguish between the similarities of Remote Art and Land Art.
An agenda for the production and exhibition of art intended for remote areas is based on the knowledge produced in the theoretical section that is ‘fed’ into a crafted, hybrid structure, based on two ‘creatures’ that ‘grow’ in ‘smooth spaces’. The first is the phantasmagorical phenomenon of the Fata Morgana (mirage). Images that appear on the horizon and are a result of the contrast in temperatures between ground and air. They appear due to an assortment of mineral particles that float in the air and provide the ‘screen’ on which they appear. This phenomenon is studied in this research via its ability to cultivate moving images which rely on the precise balance of the surrounding ecosystem. The second ‘being’ that the practical section is based on is the Tumbleweed. This plant is endemic to these areas and ‘wanders’ the land due to the fact that it disconnects from its roots and travels with the wind.
These two ‘beings’ combined – the Fata Morgana and the Tumbleweed – serve as the model for a Remote Art Institution. They tread the sandy and icy deserts and steppes, and due to their “flickering” existence and built-in mobility systems they survive in these areas with disparate temperatures.
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Richter, Prof. Alun Rowland

Isabella Burrevans
Political art activism in times of change. The curator and capturing the moment.
Isabella Burrevans is a Berlin-based cultural producer and curator.
Having obtained a BA Fine Art (2005, London Metropolitan University) and MA Museum and Gallery Management (2007, London City University) in London, she organised and curated exhibitions, which in the past have focused on Audiovisual art and site-specific Art installations as well as political campaigns and activism. Since completing her MA African studies (2014, Humboldt University of Berlin ) her focus has shifted towards political art activism, which is produced mainly during political uprisings (Arab Spring, Gezi Park, etc.), are based in the public environment and produced for the public. This feeds directly into her PhD in Practice in curating, a cooperation of ZHDK, Zurich and the University of Reading (UK), of which she has been a PhD candidate since 2016. As part of this programme her dissertation examines the challenges curators face in presenting ephemeral and fast-changing art without taking it out of its original location and purpose or exotising it in the process by creating new environments and contexts.
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Richter, Prof. Alun Rowland

Ronald Kolb
Being in the Global World
Working as a designer (, teacher, and film-maker in Stuttgart and Zurich. He studied Visual Communications (MA) at Merz Akademie, University of Applied Arts, Design and Media, Stuttgart, Germany and runs a design and research studio with an emphasis on publications and web design i.e. for Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg, ifa (Institut for Foreign Affairs, Germany), Donaueschinger Musiktage, Badischer Kunstverein, ZKM, and so forth. He was an Associate Professor at Merz Akademie, University of Applied Arts, Design and Media from 2009–2015 and is now Scientific Researcher at the Postgraduate Programme in Curating, ZHdK. He is Co-Publisher of the web journal and honorary vice chairman of Künstlerhaus Stuttgart since 2014.
His PHD project is a research on concepts of globalism in cultural and curatorial practices with a focus on prototyping global communities.
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Richter

Lalita Salander
Lalita Salander is a New York based independent curator, educator, and artist. Salander is the
curator for Residency Unlimited’s Dialogues platform and co-founder of Frontview for Art & Architecture. Salander has organized exhibitions in a variety of institutions in the United States and abroad. Salander was a 2014-2016 Curatorial Fellow at SVA’s MA Curatorial Practice program, and received her BA in Art History from Washington University in St. Louis. Her doctoral research
specifically focuses on Artist-in-Residence programmes in the 21st century.
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Richter