IT’S ALL MEDIATING – International conference on curating and education in the exhibition context 30-31 May, 2012, Kiasma

It’s all Mediating – outlining and incorporating the roles of education and curating

International conference on curating and education in the exhibition context

30-31 May, 2012

Venue: Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland

Invited speakers:

Lindsay Fryer, U.K.

Valérie Lagier, France

Maria Lind, Sweden

Carmen Mörsch, Switzerland

Nora Sternfeld, Austria

Sally Tallant, U.K.

Adela Zelesznik, Slovenia

The conference focuses on the two core functions of museums: the exhibiting of the content (art or other cultural material) and the educational activities directed to audiences. The functions are as old as the museum institution itself, but as the result of the professionalisation of the museum field, they are now the responsibility of specialised professional staff. Curator and educator are both relatively new titles in museums (museum) here referring to museums and galleries or any other venues presenting art and culture), and in many countries, Finland included, the professional education for these occupations is young or yet to be established.

The conference looks at how the professional field is outlined at present: How do these aspects the responsibility to foster and present the content of the museum, and the responsibility for its audiences and visitors relate to each other? What is the division of labour between curators and educators? What kind of interests and values guide their work? What are the current models and what would be the ideal ways of organizing their relations and collaboration?

The focus is also on the individual level of how the specialists incorporate their roles: What are the specific skills of a curator or an educator? How (and why?) do we develop a professional identity? While the specialisation has brought focus and quality to the practice, have the fields also drifted apart from each other? What is gained and lost?

On a wider scale, museums work under economic, social and political pressures, and the expectations of the various stakeholders artists, academia, funders, politicians, sponsors, audiences, managers… can be manifold and even mutually contradictory. How do these demands affect the work of curators and educators?

Call for case studies 16.12.2011-31.1.2012

How do you mediate? Who cares for audiences and the content in your museum? How do programming and education collaborate?

We are looking for concrete projects dealing with the conference themes (please refer to the conference outline). In particular, we are interested in hearing about innovative, alternative, imaginative ways of arranging the work of curators and educators working together, separately and side-by-side.

Within the general theme, possible questions include but are not limited to: Division of labour, power and responsibilities; Negotiating gallery space; Timings; The choice and the role of artists; Texts; Stretching the museum’s conventions – what lines cannot be crossed?

Do you have a perfect case where everything worked to the optimum? Or could you share a fantastic project where every possible thing went wrong – and you learned a great lesson? Or do you have an idea or a dream that you have not been able to realise
yet but would like to test?

Your proposal should include: A title, a brief description of the project or programme, a statement of what is special about your project, 3–5 keywords. The case should be clearly defined, as the presentation time will be strictly limited to 15 minutes! Collective presentations by an educator & curator are welcomed, as long as they don’t exceed the time limit.

Send a 250 word proposal, together with a short biographical presentation to by the end of January 2012. The results will be communicated by the end of February.

Please note that for the accepted presenters the conference fee will be waived but they are themselves responsible for the travel and accommodation.


Finnish Association for Museum Education Pedaali
CuMMA – Curating and Mediating Art – Aalto University
Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art
SKY – Finnish Society for Curators

For more information email:

It’s all mediating