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Erik Kessels Introduces The New Curae Online Program Focused On Curatorial Practices
Published27 Apr 2023
Head of the new edition of PhMuseum's International Online Masterclass Curae, the Dutch artist, designer and curator gives us insights into his teaching philosophy and curatorial perspective.
Contemporary photography curation is a field still open to seemingly endless possibilities. How to navigate the field of its relationships, methods, hurdles and opportunities? Over a period of 7 months, Erik Kessels will guide a group of students through this journey, mixing theoretical seminars with practical sessions. In conversation with him, we discussed his vision for the program Curae, and for curatorial practices more broadly: one that values discovery, surprise, and personal touch.
Ciao Erik, what role does curating play within your practice?Curating is an important part in every stage of making creative works nowadays. Decisions that you have to make during ideas/editing/installing and communicating can be a big part of the curation of a work. It’s important though that during these stages strong choices are made.
What are your core principles when it comes to teaching?The journey is more important than the place you want to end up in. Participants should surprise themselves with what they never thought could do. What can someone bring as an individual new to the table. And maybe the most important: enjoy and in the end, admire your own work.
In the broader panorama of curatorial education, what do you aim for this program to bring to the table?Certain parts of curating can be learned, but the most important part is a 'personal touch' that has to be discovered by every participant. The personal development of an individual during the program is the most important. Curating needs the hand of a strong and explicit individual, to make the work stand out from the rest.
How do you think participants can envision their curatorial practice growing during the masterclass?Maybe the most important learning will be that someone start to believe more in their own capabilities and talent. No one is born with a talent to be an artist, photographer or curator. You have to learn how to be free spirited to practise this in a successful way.
Do you have any advice to share with future students? When to say YES and when to say NO in all aspects of your work is crucial for your future development. Saying NO to a jobs or requests is not a bad thing. The work you make in the first years of your career functions as a very good foundation for the years to come. And the best way to get there is to not compromise and completely being yourself.
The new edition of Curae will begin in October, and run until April 2024. Students will benefit from group classes offering theoretical and practical guidance held by Kessels, one-to-one mentoring sessions, and a rich program of studio visits hosting several experts in the field. Applications are open until June 9, with one full scholarship to be assigned to applicants that will submit before May 19. Discover more about the program on the dedicated page.
APPLICATION KEY DATES
19 May - If you apply by this date you can be eligible for the full scholarship, and will automatically access the Early Bird Fee of €1,650.
9 June - If you apply by this date you can join the program by paying the Regular Fee of €2,000.
------Curae Online International Masterclass On Curatorial Practice is part of the PhMuseum new educational program, comprising four different masterclasses that will all share a single intake period, running from 18 April to 9 June, with classes beginning in October 2023. Each course istailored to meet the needs of emerging photographers, artists, curators, and contemporary storytellers looking to bring their methods to the next level. Check out which program suits you best at phmuseum.com/education