Since 2016 Grand Union has collaborated with the Department of History, Curating and Visual Studies at the University of Birmingham to create opportunities for early career curators to co-curate their first public exhibition and programme of events. Grand Union staff lead taught sessions on contemporary curating providing regular mentorship and support for students to realise exhibitions of an experimental and ambitious scale.
Borderlines of the Present, celebrates the recent works of two UK-based artists Farwa Moledina and Nick Jordan. They explore themes of resistance to binary perceptions by giving voice to communities – Muslim women and Tripolitan craftsmen – that exist in ‘in between’ spaces. This project attempts to bridge the communication gap in art appreciation by subtly guiding the readers through the social, art historical and political contexts of the artworks. By launching Borderlines of the Present as a website and a print publication, it caters to people who enjoy the intimate act of reading whether online or in the feel of a book.
This publication has been produced by the 2019-20 cohort of students on the MA Art History and Curating programme at the University of Birmingham.
On the Subject of Precarity was a group exhibition with artists Betsy Bradley, Gareth Proskourine-Barnett and Rafal Zajko. The term precarity – a state of perpetual instability – seems to be especially pertinent within the current moment. Informed by a widespread sense of collective societal anxiety, the exhibition explores the perception of precarity in the entanglement of past, present and imagined futures.
On the Subject of Precarity opened on Digbeth First Friday in May, where visitors were invited to watch the deconstruction of Rafal Zajko’s ice sculpture – a performance piece which explores ideas surrounding instability.
Three Models for Change was a group exhibition with artists Chris Alton, Ian Giles and Greta Hauer curated by MA Art History and Curating students Ryan Kearney, Alice O’Rourke, Ariadne Tzika at the University of Birmingham, in association with Grand Union and hosted at Stryx Gallery.
Three Models for Change was a group exhibition asserting the importance of historical awareness in establishing future potentials of communities. The works in this exhibition fluctuated between three actual and staged narratives: the formation of a fictional Quaker-punk band; the staging of cross-generational Queer histories; the uncertainty surrounding a newly formed volcanic island and its territorial disputes.