PHD in Practice in Curating,
University of Reading, UK

Programme director: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Richter
Programme in Department of Art at the University of Reading see here.

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 (MAS/CAS) 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 organization 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 programme 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 programme emphasizes the reflection of curatorial and artistic methodologies and prospects of arts production, its practitioners, and its audiences.

The practice-based PhD programme is designed for a three year duration. Part time is is supposed to be finalized in five years. 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 Programme 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 programme (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 <>


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

Short bio

Prof Dr Dorothee Richter
Professor in Contemporary Curating

Since 2005, she has been head of the Postgraduate Programme in Curating (MAS/CAS),, at the University of the Arts Zurich (ZHdK). She also founded the “Research Platform for Curating, Practice-Based Doctoral Programme” a collaboration of the Postgraduate Programme in Curating and the Department of Fine Arts, University of Reading, now the “PhD in practice in curating”.  Therefore she holds also a professorship at the University of Reading, UK. From 1999 to the end of 2003, Richter was artistic director of the Künstlerhaus Bremen, where she curated a discursive programme based on feminist issues, urban situations, power relation issues, and institutional critique. She has worked as a curator ever since. Some of her curatorial projects: New Social Sculptures at Kunstmuseum Thun, (2012) Speculative Curating, Performative Interventions, Migros Museum, Zürich (2016/17) at the moment she is also directing the OnCurating project space. See She is the publisher of , an online and print magazine on curatorial practice and theory. Her own PhD did deal with Fluxus, “Fluxus: Art – Synonymous with Life? Myths about Authorship, Production, Gender and Community”. In 2013, she released a film together with Ronald Kolb: Flux Us Now! Fluxus explored with a camera, which was screened for the first time at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart in April 2013, at the Migros Museum in Zurich, and different European art academies and museums, see .

Since 1998, Richter has held lecturing posts at the University of Bremen, the Merzakademie Stuttgart, the École des Beaux Arts in Geneva, and the University of Lüneburg alongside the travelling Exhibition / Archive “Curating Degree Zero Archive”. She has co-curated numerous symposia, like “Re-Visions of the Display” 2009, with Jennifer Johns, Sigrid Schade, Migros Museum in Zurich; “Institution as Medium. Curating as Institutional Critique?” in 2010 with Rein Wolfs; the symposium “Who is Afraid of the Public?” at the ICA London in 2013, with Elke Krasny, Silvia Simoncelli and the University of Reading; and the symposium with the Manifesta Journal and the Institute of Contemporary Art of the ZHdK “Third, fourth and fifth spaces: Curatorial practices in new public and social (digital) spaces” at the Migros Museum in 2013. One of her 90 publications is her PhD, Fluxus. Kunst gleich Leben? Mythen um Autorschaft, Produktion, Geschlecht und Gemeinschaft, and the new Internet platform, which presents current approaches to critical curatorial practice, with 32 Issues of OnCurating, both in print and online. Issue 29 was Curating in Feminst Thought, published with feminist curators united; Issue 30 Work, Migration, Memes and Personal Geopolitics war published as a parallel event of Manifesta Zurich.

In September 2013, she was appointed as mentor for POOL, (Collection of Hoffmann and Ringier) Zurich. In 2014, the Cultural Department of the city of Zurich appointed her as the curator/ programmer of Gasthaus zum Baeren / Museum Baerengasse, where she ran a programme together with young curators under the title “Curate Your Context”.

As a collaborative project with the Centre of Art and Media (ZKM) Karlsruhe, Dorothee Richter and Ronald Kolb are working on a video archive of interviews with contemporary curators. The working title is “CURATING- explored with a camera. A digital archive on Curatorial practice”, with 70 detailed video interviews with internationally acclaimed curators, such as Peter Weibel, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Stella Rollig, Rein Wolfs, Beatrix Ruf, and Daniel Baumann and curatorial groups, working inbetween an activist, curatorial and political sphere.


The Research Platform currently supports/ has supported doctoral projects form the following areas: 

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

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


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 Burr-Evans, Hadas Kedar, Katalin Erdödi, Gilly Karjevsky, Lalita Salander, Ronald Kolb, Sascia Bailer