Category Archives: Artist as Curator Reflection

Artist as Curator – Reflection on Studio Practice

During the last year, I have tried to find a balance between my studio artistic practice and my curatorial practice.  My knowledge of curatorial practices has grown significantly in recent months under the guidance of my tutor Edith Doove and I have done my utmost to develop my skills in this field – particularly with regard to my own arts practice.

In my most recent studio project I have tried to take an objective look at how my work is displayed to allow for wider audience interpretation.  Quite often I have had a tendency to produce somewhat personal and subjective work which perhaps can shut off members of the public. However, my aim is to make my work accessible to a wider demographic in terms of being able to relate or connect to the pieces.

Furthermore, the curatorial aspect has made me consider how small distractions and unnecessary clutter can change the context and meaning of the work.  With this in mind, I have tried to limit the amount of equipment used in my CURA300 project.  I wish to keep the work as simple as possible so that audience members can focus on just a view elements at one time without having a visual overload.  With my video installation I used a small projector and although I may have been wise to try to disguise it, it was much more preferable than a larger projector, laptop and speakers.  The room for my video installation is quite small, so it was important to limit the amount of objects placed within the space.  (

It had been suggested that I remove the door of the room and replace with a curtain to allow for easier access to the room.  I can appreciate this comment as I would want as many people as feasibly possibly to view my work during Plymouth College of Art’s Summer Show.  However, there are other video/sound works around me – one of which is particularly loud and may cause a significant distraction if I were to remove the door.  I will have to create a sign for the door to advise audience members to enter the room to view my work and close the door behind them to allow them to witness the film projection at its maximum potential (if the door is left open, the projected film is not as clear as there is too much light filtering into the room.

As mentioned in previous posts I arranged the school desk and chairs in a specific way to not only allow up to two audience members seating to view the film but also to give a sense of superiority toward the desk which is placed at an angle in the opposite corner.  I wanted the desk to take on a life of its own and also present a substitute for a child who may have been told to stand in the corner of the class after misbehaving. (

Furthermore, the furniture was chosen specifically to create a sense of familiarity and recognition within the viewer, with the hope of evoking an involuntary memory.(

There are probably still things I would change if it were possible to do so with regard to the set-up of the work (i.e. remove electric sockets, paint out electric cables etc) but I am satisfied with the result.

I have found my studio artistic practice to be quite stressful at times but have enjoyed how the pieces have come together and are improved by considering how they are displayed and curated.  Overall, I have enjoyed the role of artist as curator and feel that each aspect has benefited the other and become one amalgamated practice as opposed to two.



Artist as Curator – Reflection on Curatorial Project: Plymouth City Council House

The Plymouth City Council House group exhibition was truly an artist as curator project.  In the early stages of this assignment we had initially wanted to borrow work from an artist and curate the space within the Council House foyer.(  However, as our ideas developed we collaborated together with artist Lee McDonald to produce new original artworks specifically for the foyer space and the Council’s theme of The Future of Plymouth

I was particularly drawn to this project as the space was not the typical gallery space one might expect and it presented a challenge in terms of the listed featured which could not be removed or changed.  I personally relished this opportunity because I have had experience of working in similar environments (in Local Government with Council Members) in the past in non-artistic roles and felt this was an excellent opportunity to connect my previous experience prior to my studies and my current knowledge of fine art and curatorial practices.

This was an exceptional assignment which our tutor Edith Doove had put us forward for and the group members including myself, William Danby, Kath Howard, Maddy Crossley, Jess Bent, Tiffany Smith and Sarah Hughes made it our priority to make this project a success.

During our studies we had been encouraged to attend gallery spaces and exhibitions that allowed us to network with fellow artists and curators.  By doing so, I met local artist Lee McDonald at the Plymouth College of Art’s Ephemeron, “Artist as Curator”, Critique Event at Karst in April 2013. ( This connection with Lee ultimately led to this collaborative exhibition The Future of Plymouth, 2014.

I saw my role during this project as the organizer, administrator and all-round helper and supporter to my fellow group peers.  My input and duties involved the following:

I also consider one of my roles in this group project as keeping the group’s morale up and encouraging everyone in their endevours during this project.  I think I took on quite a lot of responsibility during this project but was happy to do so as I am quite impatient and like to get things organised efficiently and effectively to produce the best possible outcome all round.

I enjoyed working on this group project and felt an overwhelming sense of satisfaction on pride on completing this project.  I feel that all group members worked together fantastically and harmoniously.  I would say that my strengths during this project were in the administrative and organizational processes and this was balanced out by William Danby’s technical abilities with Maddy Crossley’s assistance, Kath Howard and Jess Bent’s production of the wall pieces/prints and blog and Sarah Hughes and Tiffany Smith’s input into the draft proposal, poster and finishing touches to the sculpture and plinths.  Lee McDonald was a joy to work with and remained extremely humble and a team-player throughout the project.

Although the artworks produced during this project were not necessarily something I would have undertaken on my own, I enjoyed assisting in realizing our curatorial and artistic vision for the Council House foyer.  As mentioned in earlier posts we wanted to create something that they had not seen in the space before. Previously, the artwork had been mainly wall-hung pieces, however we wanted to change the space and create a playful nature in the somewhat intimidating, official space.  We did this by thinking about audience participation and Lee McDonald was an obvious choice to work with because of his interactive work.

By accurately measuring the space, we prepared ourselves well for all eventualities with the sculpture and wall pieces fitting perfectly within the space without causing obstruction.

The feedback we received was excellent and I feel we that we achieved what we set out to do.

This project was one of the main highlights of the BA (Hon) Fine Art, Critical & Curatorial Practices course and I am delighted that I was part of it.  The line between artist and curator was undoubtedly blurred during this assignment and I savoured every moment.