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PhD in Practice in Curating

A co-operation of the Department of Art at the University of Reading (UK) with the Postgraduate Programme in Curating at the Institute for Cultural Studies in the Arts, Department of Cultural Analysis, Zurich University of the Arts (CH)

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

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 Head of the 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, Heidi Aishman, Antonio Cataldo, Maayan Sheleff, Isabella Burrevans, Hadas Kedar, Katalin Erdödi,


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.
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Richter, Prof. Alun Rowland

Katerina Valdivia Bruch
Contacta: Participatory Art, Politics and Social Change
Katerina Valdivia Bruch is a Berlin-based independent curator and art critic. She has curated exhibitions and organised talks and lectures for a number of institutions, including ZKM-Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Bielefelder Kunstverein (Bielefeld). Currently, she works as web editor for Goethe-Institut’s cultural magazine Humboldt.
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Richter, Prof. Susanne Clausen

Sarah-Luise Spiess
Curating Collectivities:  expanded choreography beyond dance and choreo-curatorial practices.
Sarah Spies is a Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Dance at the University of Chester (UK)
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Richter, Prof. Susanne Clausen

Heidi M. Aishman
Curating Online Collective Space in the Experience Economy
Heidi M. Aishman is an independent curator originally form the northeast area of the United States, she is currently based in London.
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.)
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
Undermining: Visual Prospects in the 21st Century Desert
Hadas Kedar is working as a curator in Israel, she is also directing a residency programme.
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Richter, Prof. Alun Rowland

Isabella   Burrevans
Visual and creative political art activism in times of change. The curator and capturing the moment
. A Berlin based cultural producer and curator.
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Richter, Prof. Alun Rowland