A new hands-on training programme aimed at supporting curators from lower socio-economic backgrounds has been launched – with 12 curators benefiting from paid training programmes each year.
New Curators is based at South London Gallery in Camberwell and Peckham and will be led by three curators – Mark Godfrey, Kerryn Greenberg and Rudi Minto de Wijs. Although it not accredited, the scheme aims to provide a postgraduate level of training to participants, and the application guidance states it is “more like a job than a degree”.
The programme will train up to 12 aspiring curators each year, through academic seminars, skills training sessions, exhibition-making experience, networking and coaching and mentoring. Participants will also co-curate a major exhibition, with the first exhibition taking place in summer 2024 at the South London Gallery.
By placing equal emphasis on academic preparation, skills training, practical experience, networking and coaching and mentoring, the scheme aims to provide “greater opportunities for professional and personal development than offered in most traditional MA degrees”.
“We're living in times where opportunities to pursue a career in the arts are dwindling, especially for those from backgrounds that can't provide the financial support,” said Minto de Wijs. “It was important for us to help create an accessible pathway for the next generation of curators so we can help create a more inclusive, equitable, and relevant art world.”
The deadline to apply to take part in the first cohort is 5 February 2023, with the training starting in September 2023. Participants will receive the London Real Living Wage, which is currently £11.95 an hour, and a full-time employment contract for a year.
The programme is open to UK residents and international applicants, but those with Master's degrees or equivalent are not eligible to apply. People aged 21 and over with undergraduate degrees or equivalent/relevant work experience – and who identify as coming from a working class or lower economic background – are welcome to apply via the New Curators website.
“By removing the financial barriers that prevent many people from training to become curators and ensuring the training they receive meets the needs of a rapidly changing art world, New Curators will help enable greater diversity and equality within the curatorial profession,” the gallery said in a statement announcing the launch.
The scheme is being funded with support from philanthropists, including trustees at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Tate in the UK and the Art Gallery of Ontario. In the future, New Curators will also be funded by trusts and foundations and corporate support.