Curating – what’s it all about?

Straight from latest issue of the  School of Arts & Creative Industries Magazine , we’re sharing extracts from an interview with MIMA’s exhibitions and collection curator, Helen Welford, who tells us a little bit about her job.


Helen studied BA (Hons) Fine Art in Manchester. Following graduation she moved back to the region and set up a studio. Keen to further her learning she undertook an MA Art Museum and Gallery Studies and began curating at Newcastle University, as well as getting involved with Saltburn Artists Projects. Helen’s role at MIMA has changed over the years. Beginning as a gallery assistant, she moved up through the ranks from assistant curator to exhibitions and collections curator

“My favourite thing about being a curator is working with artists to develop ideas for shows. I love working on commissions and helping artists develop new work. My job is incredibly varied and every day is different. From studio visits to planning an exhibition to designing the gallery’s look and feel, it can be very creative.”

The School of Arts & Creative Industries at Teesside University offers an MA Curating as well as a Degree Apprenticeship in Curating, which awards an MA Curating along with the apprenticeship qualification. The degree apprenticeship offers an excellent opportunity for individuals in a curating role to gain a masters level qualification in their specialism whilst discovering the benefits of networking with other like-minded curators, studying part-time in our international art gallery and museum MIMA (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art), whilst still working and earning.

Helen’s advise for anyone considering a career in curating – “I recommend that you see as much art as possible. Read magazines and websites and soak it all up. Go to as much locally as you can but also try and go further afield. Art online has really advanced during the pandemic and it can be a great place to come across new artists. Go to openings and meet people. Ask for support and mentoring, people are happy to help. Middlesbrough is a great place to be in the art world and make things happen.”

Find out more about our Curating Degree Apprenticeship (MA)

 

 

Five Minutes with Sarah Perks

Sarah Perks is a professor and Head of Department in the School of Arts & Creative Industries.

I grew up on a council estate and I was always into anything to do with the arts, from pop music to reading and watching everything. I’m not really sure that I conceived of working in any other arena. I am now a curator, academic and writer. In 2017 I was was one of Creative Review’s 50 Creative Leaders. I’ve led many major projects with international artists.

A highlight of my career was working with the filmmaker and artist David Lynch. My work is about relationships — between artists and audiences and between art forms. It is also political, about the structures at work in society, how they shape our experience, and where there is inequality because of these. I’m currently developing work on how arts can embrace social justice by combining our heritage with futures such as environmental issues, inclusion and technological advances.

Arts and culture inform our world alongside science and technology. They are part of everybody’s experience and our lives depend on creative thinking. Arts and culture enable debate and help people understand the complex and unequal world around us, and be part of designing a better one.

At the School of Arts and Creative Industries we see success as fulfilling your ambitions, whether you are a planning to design the interior of a primary school, create the logo for it, teach the children in it, or work with them to tackle poverty. If you’re thinking of applying to the School, my advice would be choose what excites you rather than what you think you should do. If you stay creative and curious about the world it will never bore you


Our courses: