Online Courses

Taking back (Self-)Care: Curating and the Politics of Interdependence

Lecturer: Elke Krasny

Care and self-care are at the center of divisive debates. Long before the outbreak of the global pandemic, feminist economists, sociologists and political theorists diagnosed a global crisis of care. New language around care including climate care, earth care, or planetary care extends care relations beyond human interdependence. The neoliberal spirit of capitalism speaks the language of self-care to promote the compulsory regime of keeping fit for individual success defying the realities of interdependence.

Etymologically, and historically, curating is bound to care. The etymological root of the Latin term cura, which gave rise to present-day terms such as curator, curating, cure, accurate or curiosity, includes meanings like care, concern, or trouble. In historical terms, museum curators were held to the duty of care, the legal and moral obligation to ensure the safety and the well-being of others. To complicate matters further, in contemporary usage the verb curating, unhinged from the museum, serves to describe activities like appearance management or algorithms of taste making.

How to take back care and self-care by way of curating? How to understand better the politics of interdependence? How to make care matter to emancipatory and transformative curating? How then to turn self-care into political warfare to follow the famous words of Audre Lorde? How to bring together care and self-care in curating?

Concerned with exploring the potential of care ethics for practicing curating as care as well as for a critical theory of curating, the course will include the close reading of texts, developing ideas for curatorial formats providing for care and self-care, collective writing exercises, and peer-to-peer dialogue and exchange.


Elke Krasny is Professor for Art and Education at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. She is a cultural theorist, urban researcher, and curator. Her scholarship and her curatorial work examine crises of the global present and focus on ethical and political concerns. Interested in emancipatory and transformative practices, her scholarship and her curatorial work focuses on the interconnectedness of ecology, economy, and labor in architecture, urbanism, contemporary art, education, and feminisms. She was Visiting Curator at the Hongkong Community Museum Project in 2011 and Visiting Scholar at the Canadian Centre for Achitecture in Montréal in 2012. Her 2011 curatorial project Mapping the Everyday: Neighborhood Claims for the Future with the Downtown Eastside Women Centre and the Audain Gallery Vancouver addressed women’s, housing and indigenous rights as well as resistance against poverty and sexual violence. Her exhibition Hands-on Urbanism. The Right to Green presented a global perspective on histories of informal urbanization through the lens of urban farming and gardening with its subsistence economies and was shown at the 2012 Venice Biennale of Architecture. The exhibition Critical Care. Architecture and Urbanism for a Broken Planet, together with Angelika Fitz, introduces a care perspective into architecture and urbanism in the twenty-first century.

Professor Krasny is the author and editor of numerous books and essays. Edited volumes include Critical Care. Architecture and Urbanism for a Broken Planet with Angelika Fitz (MIT Press, 2019) and In Reserve! The Household with Regina Bittner (Spector Books, 2016). 2020 essays include: ‘On Care and Citizenship. Performing Healing in the Museum.’ Passepartout 40; ‘Curating without Borders. Transnational Feminist and Queer Feminist Practices for the 21st Century.’ In A Companion to Curation, edited by, Brad Buckley and John Conomos; ‘Care Feminism for Living with an Infected Planet.’ Corona Essays der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien, 2020,

Preparation for the course:
Please use a headset (or headphones) and stay in a quiet place with a stable internet connection. Please read the texts which you will get access to once you have booked the course.

This intensive two-part direct live teaching course will be held over Zoom on two consecutive Saturdays, 2–6pm CET. Please prepare a very short introduction of yourself. The first session will be used for an in-depth introduction to the topic, and workshop research. Assignments will be given for the second session. Feedback and evaluation will be given in the second session. After successful completion, a certificate with 1 ECTS point will be handed out.

Technical instructions
Download the Zoom application. You will find a detailed installation guide here. Zoom can be also used in a browser window on a Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone, Android tablet or Android phone. You will find a Zoom invitation with a link to access the workshop.

General Terms of the Continuing Education Departement, Zurich University of the Arts