Curatorial Curriculum 2018

Call For Participants 2018

Grand Union’s Curatorial Curriculum is an alternative learning programme for emerging curators, consisting of intensive workshops led by internationally-renowned practitioners. The workshops are held over four weekends annually, exploring different forms of curatorial practice. The course is aimed at curators at the beginning of their careers, to offer an alternative programme to costly postgraduate study in a slightly less formal environment.

Download application information here



Dean Brierley

Dean Brierley is founding curator of Caustic Coastal, an independent art label based in Salford which encompasses 3 exhibition spaces and 18 studios. Occasional pianist & painter & reader & slackliner. Clore Emerging Leader ’17.

Inès Elsa Dalal

I’m a documentary photographer concerned with the authorship of archives in the interest of attaining representational justice. I’m interested in the role of public exhibition within contemporary photography and socially engaged participatory projects. I initiate projects and respond to commissions. I’ve exhibited in and curated group shows across Birmingham and Manchester since 2010. I devise and deliver photography sessions in schools, academies, pupil referral units, youth centres, museums and art galleries. Currently based between Birmingham and London, I tutor nationally and have travelled internationally to document daily life in Jerusalem, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.


Kirsty Russell

Kirsty Russell is an artist based in Aberdeen, Scotland. Her practice is concerned with building a vocabulary for support through producing objects, space making and facilitation. She has developed a number of self initiated projects in response to need, which consider the potential of groups and collaborative structures as alternative working models.

Currently she is producing Underpinning, a curated programme of workshops and opportunities which think about building foundations. She also co-facilitates an ongoing reading group that aims to grow a conversation around the question of support. The reading list is growing in line with the groups conversations, and we are considering this shared library as a basis for acting in the world.


Laura O'Leary

Laura O’Leary (b.1992) is a freelance curator/writer that lives in Birmingham and Derby. A graduate of Central Saint Martins, London, BA Criticism, Communication, and Curation programme (2013), and Glasgow School of Art’s MLitt Curatorial Practice (Contemporary Art) programme (2017).

Lisa Metherall

Lisa Metherell is a lecturer, artist, researcher and carer.  Her art practice-based PhD was concerned with how non-figurative art practice might engender queer encounters. She initiated the Queer Practice Research Group to help build relationships between creative producers and researchers in and around Birmingham. Recently she has been interested in how we might develop research practice (artistic and pedagogic) through ‘thinking with care’.

She also writes about werewolves.

Leanne O'Connor

Leanne O’Connor is a visual artist, curator and writer based in the west midlands.
I write, make and organise “stuff” for people to see.
My practice challenges les respect des fonds by my use of materials and curatorial outputs, which prioritises the site and the forgotten.

My practice as an artist is fuelled by research in to catholic and orthodox visual cultures and dissemination of le respect des fonds within archival hierarchies; with a focus on the family album in analogue formats.

This analogue influence is absorbed into my work with experimental print processes on to glass, constructing these ‘biographical projectors’ using steel and other sculptural fabrication methods.

Lily Tonge

Lily Tonge delivers the exhibition programme for a commercial gallery in London. Alongside this, she programmes their events in collaboration with artists and industry figures. She is interested in intimacy and would like to further her research on intimate knowledge
and its potential for commoning and collective social reproduction. She is also involved with a local co-operative that advocates mutual aid and mutual care as modes of resistance. She has recently completed an MA in Contemporary Art Theory at Goldsmith’s.

Melissa Hinkin

Melissa Hinkin is a Cardiff based curator and creative producer with a focus on socially-engaged, site-responsive and performance-based practices within contemporary visual arts. Her interests lie specifically in the intersection of art and political activism and feminist critique of science and technology. Melissa is Exhibitions Officer at Artes Mundi; over the last six years she has supported exhibitions with artists including Tania Bruguera, Omer Fast, Sanja Ivekovi? and John Akomfrah. Melissa recently co-curated ‘The Sky in a Room’ a co-commissioned durational performance by Ragnar Kjartansson at National Museum Cardiff. As a freelance producer, she has worked with artist Phoebe Davies on ‘Influences Nail Salon’ in Johannesburg, a three-week project engaging audiences through an activist nail salon. Currently, she is collaborating with fellow curator Jess Mathews on The Rejoinders – an experimental curatorial project and research network between Wales and India, exploring collaborative process, the visual arts and ‘in-between’ spaces.

Morgan Stockton

I am a final year Design Crafts student specialising in Glass Blowing at De Montfort University and Gallery Coordinator at The Gallery, Leicester with an underpinned interest in the relationship between curatorial practice and gallery education. I find the rights of children and young people as cultural citizens and creating cultural opportunities for them to be of huge importance, with the intentions of developing my practice as a curator to be symbiotic with learning to explore the multiplicity of what a curator can be.

Naomi Van Dijck

Artist and (starting) curator Naomi van Dijck received her bachelor’s degree in Fine-Art practice at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam in 2015. Currently based in Glasgow, she is attending a Postgraduate study in Curatorial Practice at the Glasgow School of Art and the University of Glasgow, which she will conclude in August 2018.
Research within her artistic practice revolves around the performative act of learning as an ecology, which is grounded in early experience in museum education and the curriculum of her secondary education rooted in self-determination and self-direction theory.
This learning-habit has led her to trace and imagine networks through which this ecology is laid bare or is given the space to develop. Accordingly, a further interest in methods of usership and collective knowledge within online and offline networks motivates her to deploy action-based, discursive and performative forms like workshops and platforms. In making way for forms of working and presenting that are more open and comfortable with complexity and confusion, as opposed to pursuing clarification, what might be lost in exactness will be made up for in inclusion.

Olivia Heron

Olivia Heron is Assistant Curator at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. She previously worked as Exhibitions and Collections Assistant at the Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate. She has an MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies from the University of Manchester and a BA (Hons) from Manchester School of Art. She is interested in museum ethics and politics, activist practices, and curating from research/archives.

Rachael Simpson

Rachael Simpson, is an organiser, educator, producer and facilitator based in Scotland. Her practice is informed by participation, collaboration, sharing and exchanging of ideas, teaching and knowledge. She creates temporary spaces, platforms and opportunities for individuals and groups to collaborate, to creatively voice untold stories and share experiences, activities and insights. Rachael does this through self organised events, learning initiatives or workshops, open discussions, publications, language and writing, film and performance. Ambitiously through her practice she strives to curate a programme that proposes a bridge between exhibition/event, and communities that operate in a winder social context of that space.

As a student, Rachael, collaboratively established, organised and set up Gallery Unit (aka G-UNIT) in The Savoy Centre, Glasgow. An open studio and exhibition/event space, G-UNIT’s was conceived as a free, accessible, multifunctioning testing ground, holding many exhibitions, events and workshops to explore the sharing and exchanging of knowledge and skills and to contribute to an on-going dialogue surrounding, community and public art. G-UNIT went on to curate a show for Glasgow International 2016 and in April took part in 12oCollectives 30/30 project.

Most recently Rachael, has completed a residency at Edinburgh College where she designed and developed a professional practice elective course for HND Contemporary Art Practice Students. Rachael, set up an artist run space in neighboring Muirhouse, where the students formed a committee to run, curate and programme their own gallery ‘EPOCH 8’. She set up this project in response to identifying a lack of self organisation skills being encouraged though out formal art education. Rachael currently serves on The EMBASSY Gallery Committee in Edinburgh where she feels she has a responsibility to create an accessible platform and initiate opportunities for engagement and learning, with quality contemporary art being a priority.


Ryan Kearney

Ryan Kearney is an independent curator based in Birmingham. He obtained a BA in Photography from London College of Communication in 2016 and is currently studying for an MA in Art History and Curating at the University of Birmingham. Ryan has worked in both non-profit and private arts institutions, including Laura Bartlett Gallery, Tiwani Contemporary, and is currently an Exhibitions Assistant at Recent Activity. His research concerns socially engaged practice and how an access to archival histories places emphasis on communal awareness, future potentials and world-making. Recent curatorial projects include Queering the Archive, Recent Activity (2017); and Repeat, Recite, Restate, Brixton Pound (2017). Upcoming projects include Three Models for Change, a group show featuring Chris Alton, Ian Giles and Greta Hauer, Centrala (June 2018).

Vickie Fear

Vickie Fear is an independent curator and producer of exhibitions, commissions and events in the South West. She is co-Director of Counter and currently working as part of the teams delivering Groundwork in Cornwall and Jamboree at Dartington. She has previously worked for organisations including Plymouth Arts Centre, The Holburne Museum, Spike Island, Works|Projects and Hand in Glove and in 2017 she was the Producer for We The People Are The Work, a project of five major commissions for the Plymouth Visual Arts Programming Group. Vickie is also a Visual Arts Plymouth Activator and PAC Home member.

Fiona Young

Fiona Young started curating in Summer 2017 after graduating with honours in Liberal Arts at King’s College London. Her debut exhibition Ohwell? was held in an old police station in New Cross, London. The exhibition showed the work of five artists from different national backgrounds, but who are all based in London. Each piece highlighted important issues to the individual artists, yet as a group they all worked well to demonstrate generational angst and fears. Alongside the exhibition she edited a zine which featured artist bios and critical essays, bringing the whole event together into a concise booklet. Each piece was shown in their own cell, situating them like this created space for viewers to contemplate and interpret the works. Being a contentious space brought additional ideas to some of the works. For instance, Rayvenn Shaleigha D’Clark’s MY HEAD HURTS. MY FEET STINK. AND I DON’T LOVE JESUS (2016) is a silicone sculpture of a foot which hangs down from the ceiling. Within this site specific exhibition it symbolised racial profiling by the police; prison suicides as well as D’Clark’s original comment upon racial discrimination within the art world. Fiona enjoys cooperating with artists and experimenting with how space can effect pieces. Fiona has recently been researching net art, particularly works coming out of China which challenge government censorship and the online firewalls. She is interested in exploring how new media art can be translated into an “exhibition space” where it can be shared with a wider reach of people— whether this is in a physical gallery space or a curated virtual space. Fiona was brought up in Wakefield, West Yorkshire and is currently based near Manchester. To learn more about her projects you can visit her website


To gain an insight into knowledge produced in last year’s Curriculum, click here to see an online publication produced by the participants.

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