This year, the Center for Curatorial Leadership (CCL) welcomes its third class of art history doctoral students to the CCL/Mellon Foundation Seminar in Curatorial Practice. The two-week curatorial intensive takes place in New York City and introduces a select group of promising young scholars to the leadership skills that underlie cultural institutions as well as the importance of object-based methodologies. Inaugurated in 2014 through the generous support of a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the seminar scales CCL’s core program for senior curators to a younger generation of doctoral students in order to cultivate curatorial leaders at an earlier phase in their professional growth. As is its mission, the seminar strengthens the students’ outstanding academic backgrounds with a critical awareness of curatorial practice.
A panel of senior curators and CCL/Mellon Foundation Seminar alumni chose the fifteen students from a pool of nearly 70 applicants. The incoming participants come from thirteen public and private universities across the country and possess a wide range of educational and professional backgrounds. For some students this will be their first sustained consideration of museological applications, while others have a track record of curatorial accomplishments—including independent curators, museum fellows, and curatorial collective members.
Each student brings to the program a distinct area of art historical specialty that drives the programming for the duration of the seminar. The cohort’s specializations run the gamut from Edo-period Japan, Early Renaissance, and eighteenth and nineteenth-century European visual culture to modern photography of the African Diaspora and contemporary media. This breadth of global interests promises to enrich the dialogue around museum collections and exhibitions while underscoring the nuances of varied curatorial approaches.
This year’s seminar begins on July 10 and will immerse the students in institutions of all sizes and specialties, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, the Brooklyn Museum, The Morgan Library & Museum, and the Newark Museum. The group will meet with a number of prominent directors and curators as well as individuals working in departments such as conservation, education, and communications. Each student will also have one-on-one sessions with an assigned mentor—distinguished curators working in their specialty area. A team-based practicum project will challenge the class to examine how a selection of three New York City museums align their mission, collections, exhibitions, programming, and audience engagement. Coursework led by professors from Columbia Business School as well as conversations on discipline-wide matters affecting the field today will equip the students with the skills and insights necessary to drive museums towards their fullest and most innovative potential.
The students, listed alphabetically, are:
Center for Curatorial Leadership
2016 Seminar Press Announcement (PDF) (download)