— Curating is hip today. But it is so much more than a passing buzzword. Since the 1990s it has morphed into a creative activity. A “curator”, from the ancient Latin meaning of “attending to, caring for” is an impassioned co-creator who nurses the relationship between artists and the various public spaces they operate in. The curator takes care of art and material culture, but at the same time places them in a larger context that frames objects, experiences and memories from an intellectual, historical, social and inter-cultural viewpoint. A good curator provides insights, connections, and even contrasts to demonstrate what makes art and material culture relevant today.
Cultural curators not only reflect on meaning but contribute to debates and new understandings. The cultural curator is increasingly both a knowledge creator and a communicator. As knowledge creator s/he experiments with different formats, different ways of experiencing while creating different meanings. The contemporary curator challenges old formats by re-inventing novel ones that often build on history and previous experiences. As a communicator s/he is able to convey the rich curatorial data to a larger public both onand offline. So, curating today means also taking care of (im)material culture, of social relationships, urban interactions and of cultural politics.
In the China-EU Cultural Curatorship Studies Postgraduate Programme, University of Antwerp aims to provide prospective Chinese and European students the knowledge and skills to become contemporary curators in the art, cultural and/or artisanal sector. It focuses on translation and cultural mediation between Asian and European cultural and political traditions.
The programme is situated at the intersection of (social, political, economic and ecological) context, culture and creativity with a main focus on hands-on experience. It combines a unique blend of insights, perspectives, methods and tools. The basic premise of the programme is to endorse the powerful resources of cultural diversity, arts, craftsmanship and creativity in the contemporary society of disruptive transition. It teaches students to use culture as a critical toolbox and as a base of society to reflect and act upon contemporary social challenges. And it helps to understand local cultural policy contexts.
The programme aligns with article 8 of the Unesco’s Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity cultural goods are ‘vectors of identity, values and meanings, not mere commodities or consumer goods’.
This programme targets students from EER-countries and China with an educational background in area studies and higher art education.
The postgraduate is a one year-programme of 55 ECTS and will start from the academic year 2020-2021.
- In semester 1 both Chinese and European students attend lectures and workshops at the University of Antwerp.
- In semester 2 students will test their curatorial knowledge and skills in an organization, cooperation or company in either Europe (for Chinese students) or China (for European students).