Who is it for?
The Certificate in Curatorial Practice in Performance is designed for arts professionals such as presenters, festival organizers, curators, and producers as well as professionals from other fields who are interested in including performance practice in their work. The curation of live and time-based work is the primary focus of this program and it is designed so that students can learn to modify and adapt curatorial practices from one discipline to another. ICPP welcomes emerging curators as well as other arts professionals who are interested in time-based art practices in visual art, traditional arts and the performing arts. The emphasis of the program is on the how of curating and focused on developing tools to contextualize performance. Course material will vary from year to year based on both faculty and student areas of interest.
How long does it last?
The program lasts nine months and consists of three semesters anchored by three on-campus residency periods (one two-week residency in July and two three-day residencies in the following November and March).
Who are the instructors?
The ICPP has a small group of core instructors who hold year-round academic positions at Wesleyan and other universities, as well as guest instructors who have specialized knowledge in theoretical and professional aspects of the field, including curators, writers and presenters. Through a deep engagement with instructors and other students, the Program is designed to create a national network of professionals who are invested in the rigorous application of curatorial practices to performance.
What do we mean by performance?
The Certificate Program considers performance in its broadest sense and the curriculum addresses time-based art practices of artists, curators and cultural leaders working in dance, performance art, experimental theater and traditional/culturally specific programs and various combinations of these and other disciplines. While students will have exposure to artistic and curatorial practices from multiple aesthetic perspectives and cultural lineages, the Certificate Program is not intended to be comprehensive in its examination of performance forms and their histories.
Wesleyan is a top tier university with an international reputation for academic excellence and experimentation and creativity in the arts. The Certificate Program draws on Wesleyan's multiple aesthetic traditions, its institutional commitment to interdisciplinary and intercultural approaches and its vast network of alumni in the arts. Wesleyan is located in Middletown, Connecticut, a short two-hour drive from New York City, making it easily accessible for visiting artists, scholars and curators.
Who else is involved?
Danspace Project, a leading presenter of cutting-edge dance in New York City since 1974, is a core collaborator on the design and implementation of the ICPP. In January 2010, Danspace Project launched a series of artist-curated dance initiatives, the PLATFORMS series, which serves as a prime example of new directions in curatorial practices in performance. Through partnerships such as this, the ICPP is committed to artistic exchange, opportunities for student mentorship, and peer-to-peer networking.
Students are required to read a number of books and articles prior to their arrival at the July intensive. Four of the six classes have required readings, short written assignments and one larger research paper (12–15 pages). In addition, the Independent Project requires a proposal outline, regular written updates and a final research paper (12–15 pages). The two half credit courses require a few short assignments.
The ICPP is an academic program developed by an advisory committee composed of Wesleyan faculty and field professionals. All students will be asked to uphold the University's academic standards (outlined in Student Standards and Regulations) and apply themselves rigorously to the Program.
The ICPP is interested in accepting students who will make the most of this dedicated time and, for nine months, make this program their priority.
The ICPP's curriculum is designed to deepen the professional student's knowledge of diverse curatorial practices and improve critical thinking and writing skills. ICPP students are required to take six courses:
1/2 credit course which constitutes the Introductory Colloquium
2 courses in Artistic and Curatorial Practice
2 courses in Special Topics in Social and Cultural Context
1/2 credit course in Entrepreneurial Strategies
1 course which constitutes the Final Independent Project
Artistic and Curatorial Practice: Students will consider work from a range of time-based artists. Students will learn about a wide range of curatorial models in the performing and visual arts including past, current and evolving trends in multidisciplinary art centers, festivals, museums, theaters, university presenters and biennials. Students will deepen their own curatorial knowledge with an emphasis on contextualizing artistic practice and process.
Special Topics in Social and Cultural Context: Contemporary artists draw upon a rich mix of cross-disciplinary and multinational influences. It is important, as a curator, to be familiar with those influences and be able to put them into a larger context. Students will study key movements in recent social and cultural history and be exposed to a range of influential ideas from the fields of anthropology, linguistics, performance studies, and contemporary theory.
Entrepreneurial Strategies: Often, arts professionals must work closely with artists and resource-holders in order to fully realize the artists' visions. Students will be exposed to diverse ways of approaching partnerships and attracting resources. Students will consider strategies for nurturing artistic practice and understanding the needs of partners, audiences, and other key stake holders.
Final Independent Project: The Independent Project is a curatorial project plan that the student undertakes in the second half of the Certificate Program. It can be planned for the student's "home" institution (if the student is affiliated with an institution), for one of the ICPP's partner institutions, or independently. In all cases, students will be paired with an ICPP instructor or a field professional to act as a project advisor. The advisor provides intensive feedback on the project plan.
The certificate is a low-residency, nine-month academic program. Students will complete work at home and online in between on-campus intensives at Wesleyan University. Dates for the 2013–14 on-campus intensives are: July 12–28, 2013; November 14–17, 2013; and March 7–10, 2014.
Image: Center for the Arts Courtyard, Wesleyan University