Giving visibility to overlooked histories

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Last week, Derry’s Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) co-hosted a groundbreaking educational programme along with New York-based Independent Curators International (ICI) organised around the theme ‘From “Official History” to Underrepresented Narratives’.

This week long ‘Curatorial Intensive’ provided an opportunity for twelve independent curators from nine different countries to propose and develop new exhibition ideas, mentored by a range of pre-eminent artists and curators.

The Curatorial Intensive considered the tension between remembrance and forgetting, and the role of art and cultural institutions in creating a discourse of national identity and giving visibility to overlooked histories.

Seminars, site visits, individual meetings, and roundtable discussions were led by an outstanding roster of faculty including Miguel Amado (curator of the Portuguese Pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale), Mai Abu ElDahab (curator of the Liverpool Biennial 2014), Annie Fletcher (Curator of Exhibitions at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, and tutor at De Appel, Amsterdam), Khwezi Gule (Chief Curator at the Soweto Museums, Johannesburg), Peter Jenkinson (independent cultural broker and Co-Director, Culture+Conflict, London), Teresa Margolles (artist, Mexico City, winner Artes Mundi 2012), Professor Declan McGonagle (curator and director, NCAD, Dublin), and Paul Ramírez Jonas (artist and Assistant Professor, Hunter College, NYC).

“We are delighted to see such an outstanding group of participants from the region connect with their international peers and exceptional instructors in what promises to be the start of a number of long-term international conversations and collaborations,” said Aileen Burns, co-director of CCA.

“The experience has been completely overwhelming, in the best possible way,” said Belfast-based participant Eoin Dara who, along with Kim McAleese, runs Satis House gallery in Belfast.

“This Curatorial Intensive has been a great success,” Aileen Burns said, “and building on the intimate and intensive conversations about curating we were involved in this week, next year will see this dialogue opened up to a much larger audience when CCA will host the International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art conference. This conference, in spring 2014, will be an unprecedented opportunity for local artists and curators to gain exposure,” the CCA co-director added.