DEVELOP CURATORIAL INTERNSHIP

Dates: 1 September 2009 to mid 2010
Venue: 6 Rhodes Ave, Parktown, Johannesburg. Visits and tours are made to various centres in Johannesburg and surrounding towns.

Currently in South Africa there are few opportunities for young curators to work on large-scale exhibitions or to formally study the highly specialised, but vitally important skill of curating. In order to become curators, South Africans presently have to gain skills on the job or travel abroad to institutions in the US or Europe. Very few South Africans have the opportunity or resources to actively pursue either of these options.  The Spier Contemporary 2010 presents the ideal opportunity to give a group of young arts professionals some much-needed experience and exposure.

The programme is designed and implemented by the artist and curator Clive van den Berg along with TRACE, an exhibition research, museum development and curation company.

Four people, each hailing from a fine-art background, but with various levels of experience, were selected to take part in the Curatorial Internship Programme. The course is designed to expose the trainee curators to a wide range of people actively and professionally working in the field. During the initial three months, the programme was structured so that the participants visited various institutions and museums once a week, meeting with the head curators and/or directors for discussions lasting up to 2 hours. The course was structured with the express intent of integrating the trainee curators into projects that would give them hands on experience in all the phases of the curatorial process – from concept through to exhibition installation and opening of exhibitions. To realise this, the participants were introduced to two of Trace’s current projects.

Selected Lecturers/Speakers:

  • Clive van den Berg
  • Lauren Segal
  • Mark Gevisser
  • Clive Kellner
  • David Brodie
  • Sue Williamson
  • Emilia Potenza
  • Koulla Xinisteris

Programme Director:

  • Clive van den Berg

Programme Co-ordinator:

  • Jackie Downs

Participants:

  • Jenna Burchell
  • Molemo Moiloa
  • Alex Dodd
  • Annalise Coetzee

Impact:

At the beginning of 2010, the Curatorial Internship Programme was in its 5th month. At that time, the participants had been exposed to different and the sometimes opposite aspects of curating. This included experiencing the contrast between curating a commercial gallery (as in the Brodie Gallery or the Stevenson Gallery) and museum curating (for example the Apartheid Museum and the Women’s Jail and Heritage Trails at Sophiatown and Sharpeville). Participant Jenna Burchell says “… the course has been a very good eye-opener to the world of curating, from art galleries to the heritage aspects. I feel we have also learnt important communication skills when creating exhibitions for the general public”.

One of the essential objectives of of the Curatorial Internship Programme is to ensure that by the programme’s conclusion, the trainee curators will be ready to participate as competent and knowledgeable professionals in the curatorial world and see a corresponding recognition of their skills and opening of professional opportunities and job prospects in the art market place.

Participant Molemo Moiloa explains: “There has been such a wide range of experiences, in such a short space of time, and we have been exposed to so many different avenues, media and professionals in the field of curating.”