Alumni voices of Curating

Meet our former students.

Our former students work in different fields all over the world.

Waheeda Baloch, class of '11

Waheeda Baloch

–My final exhibition was titled Items of Dual Use.  Although it was a big challenge, it went well with the practical knowledge that I got during my studies in curating, with all necessary aspects including Art, Law and Management. The project was not only exhibited at Stockholm University but also taken to Pakistan, where it was opened at the VM Art Gallery in Karachi. It also came to Wip:Stockholm, a Kunsthalle just outside town.

–There were four artists selected for this exhibition: including Ayesha Jatoi and Muzzumil Ruheel from Pakistan, Lina Persson and Henrik Andersson from Sweden. In order to finance the artists’ works and travels, I applied for and got funding for the project from the Swedish Arts Council (Kulturrådet) and Vasl Art Collectives in Pakistan. Henrik Andersson went to Pakistan with me and partook in a residency programme there, at Vasl Art Collectives. He also shared his work with artist groups in Pakistan. This exhibition was well covered by the Pakistani Media.

–For the master thesis, I had done a case study of an exhibition called Hanging Fire: Contemporary Art from Pakistan. The aim was to see how a neo-oriental approach effected Pakistani art when it was displayed in New York. This study was connected to my exhibition project because it discussed different approaches to exhibiting Pakistani art outside of Pakistan.

Developing a residency programme

–Right after graduating from Stockholm University, I registered as PhD student at the Department of Asian ad Islamic Art History, Bonn University in Germany. Last year I returned to a job as Assistant Professor at University of Sindh in Jamshoro, Pakistan.  Now I write about art, artist and exhibitions and am also involved in bringing awareness about curating in Pakistan. I have curated a few exhibitions in Pakistan including The “Left” to Choose at the Artchowk Gallery in Karachi. These days I am busy developing a residency programme and looking forward for my upcoming new exhibition projects.

–Generally, I am interested in investigating history, language, and how biased opinions have taken over our lives. My new exhibition project looks into Pakistani Art History and the present conditions of the Museums in Pakistan. The research is a basic element behind my exhibitions.

V.M. Art Gallery
Dawn
The Express Tribune

Matilda Ekström, class of '14

Matilda Ekström

–When I applied for the programme curating Art I was studying my first year at the master’s program of Fine Arts and had a bachelor degree in Fine Arts from Umeå Academy of Fine Arts. I had also finished some courses in art theory at Umeå University and Stockholm University. A the time, I was also working as a gallery assistant at Peter Bergman Gallery and had previously been engaged in Gallery Rotor 1 at Valand Academy of Fine Arts in Gothenburg.

–As my exam project I did an exhibition at Botkyrka Konsthall called Tre Mellan Rum (In Between). The exhibition was dealing with our perception, what we see as the truth and how we look at time: the past, present and future. When the exhibition was on in Botkyrka I was presenting the exhibition at Stockholm University as something that had already taken place back in time. In the echibitiion, I was working with the artists Stina Persson, Linus Svensson, and Jenny Åkerlund.

–My master thesis was dealing with the Hilma af Klint exhibition that was shown at Moderna Museet in 2013. The research was aiming to reveal the curatorial strategies when using history as a tool within the production of an exhibition. The aim with the study was to see how the exhibition positioned itself in relation to how at we look at the practice of modern history writing. 

Deputy director

–After graduating from the programme I was working at Statens Konstråd, the Public Art Agency in Sweden, as a project coordinator for the event Creative Time Summit: Stockholm. I am currently working as a deputy director at Illustratörcentrum, which is Sweden’s largest agency for visual communication.

Anne Catrine Evenhaugen, class of '11

Anne Catrine Evenhaugen

–When I started the Curating Art programme, I already had an undergraduate degree in art history (BA) and a Master's in library science (MLS) from the U.S. I had worked primarily in Washington D.C. area museums and libraries. To combine my interest in art and books, I wrote my Master's thesis in curating on the varying definitions and place of artists' books in museums and libraries.

–I was lucky enough to get to curate my exhibition at Moderna Museet in Stockholm, in the Pontus Hultén Study Room. The show, Reading the Object, was open for 3 months and displayed more than 30 artworks from the Museum's permanent collection, including book works by Dieter Roth, Henri Matisse, Niki de Saint Phalle, Ed Ruscha and many others.

–After graduation I moved back to the Washington D.C. area and was hired just a few months after graduation to be the reference librarian for the Smithsonian's American Art and Portrait Gallery Library.

–After a few years, I was promoted to the head of the American Art and Portrait Gallery Library. This means that I manage the operations of a large art research library, overseeing acquisitions and projects to support the mission of the American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery. We also have a sizable collection of amazing artists' books!

Stefanie Hessler, class of '11

Stefanie Hessler

–I did my undergraduate studies at Zeppelin University in Germany, focusing on art theory within the cultural management programme. Before moving to Stockholm I lived in Santiago de Chile, where I worked for the Biennial of Media Arts at the Museum of Contemporary Art, and as associate curator at the gallery and project space Die Ecke.

–As my final project, I founded a curatorial platform through which I organised exhibitions, wrote texts, and invited other curators and writers to contribute. My master thesis looked at how performance art is changed through technological advancements and in digital media.

–After graduating I first worked at Galerie Nordenhake, and then as Studio Director for Carsten Höller. Simultaneously, I continued my independent curatorial practice working internationally, namely in Brazil, Chile, and Germany. I started contributing to ArtReview and exhibition catalogues such as for the Museum DKM in Duisburg and Moderna Museet in Stockholm, and in 2013 I participated in the Capacete programme "Typewriter" in São Paulo for several months, which was dedicated to writing as a curatorial tool. The same year, I founded the project space Andquestionmark together with Carsten Höller, for which we commission artists to create one-night events in the form of "unsaturated" artworks requiring the presence of the audience to be complete, for example a sound work by Christine Sun Kim and a performance by Pierre Bismuth.

Curator in Vienna

–Most recently I co-curated the 8th Momentum Nordic Biennial in Moss and edited the book "Life Itself" on the question of what life essentially is, with 173 texts from literature, philosophy, mathematics, biology, chemistry, and other disciplines together with Daniel Birnbaum, Carsten Höller, and Jo Widoff for the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. This year, I am curating the exhibition "Speed" at the Museum of Modern Art in Recife. And I am starting to work as curator for Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) in Vienna. With the exploratory fellowship programme "The Current", we will go on expeditions on a research vessel with artists and scientists to investigate human impact on the ocean and on climate change.

Heather Jones, class of '14

Heather Jones

–I had already been working for several years in the arts in the US before applying to the Curatorial Master’s program at SU. My entrance into curating was through studying fine arts.

–I had previously worked as a Master Apprentice for the Sol LeWitt studio, and as the studio manager for the artist Swoon in New York. After years of coordinating installations and exhibitions, I decided to study the theory and practice of curating with a more directed focus. 

–For the final exhibition, it was very important to me to do a project outside of the university atmosphere. I partnered with a colleague in the program, Sally Müller, and together we co-curated an exhibition in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Stockholm. The exhibition was conceptually focused on human relations to the built environment, and it was crucial to us that the methodology and format of the exhibition fit the concept. We chose to hold the exhibition simultaneously at four separate, small art spaces around the neighborhood, and provided a map for visitors to follow, encouraging visitors to think about the ideas presented in the artworks while navigating the neighborhood for themselves. 

Exhibitions Manager

–While still finalizing my master’s thesis, I began working as the Exhibitions Coordinator at Independent Curators International (ICI) in New York. We organized 10-12 traveling exhibitions per year, and collaborated with hundreds of national and international art spaces. 

–I am currently the Exhibitions Manager at Kunsthall Stavanger in Stavanger, Norway, where we have recently curated the first retrospective of the work of Judith Bernstein as well as published her first monographic catalogue, released this month with Mousse Publishing. The catalogue will be released in the US this September at the New Museum, New York. In addition to my work at the Kunsthall, I am a founder and co-editor of the online journal Contemporary Art Stavanger (CAS) which creates and highlights discourse around the arts in relation to the Stavanger region.

Maija Kasvinen, class of '14

Maija Kasvinen

–Before the programme I had studied business economics, specializing in brand credibility. After a degree in Economics I decided to do something I had wanted for a while and turned to Art History. I wrote my bachelor's thesis and applied for the programme, but did not get in on the first time. I studied more art, applied again and got in the second time. My working experience was international but not too fancy – I'd worked in cinemas and bars, at the Post and on a cruising boat.

–The months when I worked on my examination projects was a very hectic period! In the written part I analyzed if an institutional acknowledgement (such as Ars Fennica, a Finnish art prize) has an impact on common understanding on what is considered to be "good art". Narrowing down the subject has never been my strong sides... Thinking back I can see a clear link to my previous interest in brands and credibility.

–The exhibition part of the exam was related to my work. Pentti Kaskipuro was a Finnish printmaker from the city I worked for and I had access to a huge archive of his prints. Going through the works, I got interested in how some themes and objects recurred, and why my mind wanted to create a link between these works. The exhibition displayed 25 of these prints, proposing a link between them. Kaskipuro, the artist, is a very canonic figure in the scene, so the problematics of the written part were also present in the exhibition.

Start-up company

–I got a job as a curator for public arts while I was studying and I continued on that post for some time. As a public arts curator I was working closely with architects, city planners, technicians, consults and artists. We were planning residential areas and my role was to propose and coordinate art projects in these areas. Due, or thanks to, the museum director's maternity leave, I also got to work as a museum director for one year at Vantaa Art Museum. We made new alignments on the museum programme and started to work with "street". Today, Vantaa Art Museum is called Artsi and is spezialized in street art and graffiti.

–Today I work with occasional art projects but most of my time goes to my start-up company. The company, called We got Manners, will be working with research, branding and communication. It is only early stages but I hope that in a few years WGM will be a solid business and that we will have created understanding on how essential it is for businesses to understand the social, historical and cultural environment they're functioning in.

Anabelle Lacroix, class of '11

Anabelle Lacroix

–When I applied to the program I had graduated from a Bachelors in art history and an MA by research in art history, with a focus in contemporary art. I had a little work experience from internships at galleries in Paris and also worked with an artist collective in London.

–My Master thesis in the programme focused on representational frameworks within the gallery space through site-specific media installation. I was interested in analysing the consequence of conflation between the exhibition space and representational space of the video.  The idea was to reflect—from a theoretical point of view—on the nature of the exhibition space, and of video when the physical space experienced by the viewer is transposed in the moving image. I argued that the boundary between video and gallery space are both conflated and straightened. Never fully achieved, the conflation of spaces reveals staging as a method that reflects on the proprieties of video and of the gallery as a space of representation in itself.

–The final exhibition that I did was a site-specific installation by Australian artist Dominic Redfern. It responded to the exhibition space at the University and reflected on the colonial history of Europeans in Australia through the motif of the pine tree. The Baltic pine acted as a symbol: it is a material that was largely imported to Australia for building houses, while native Mallee pine was largely burnt down. The installation included a combination of footage from Australia and Stockholm, outdoors and in the gallery, together with an interview recorded with the artist that developed key points from my research. My exhibition and thesis worked closed together as practice based research.

Freelancer

–After the exam, I moved to Melbourne where I had done my 6 months internship. I did a graduate certificate in Public Art, willing to gain knowledge in practices outside of the gallery space, while developing curatorial projects, writing of my own and building a network in Melbourne. I got involved with Kings, an artist run space where I curated performances and exhibitions, and also worked as a casual staff at a gallery.

–Today, I'm mostly a freelancer, keeping an independent curatorial practice that I combine with ongoing employment and short contracts. I also work part-time as general manager of Liquid Architecture, a sound art organisation. I am furthermore a research assistant at the Victorian College of the Arts and tutor a curatorial intensive as part of the Master’s programme in arts management at RMIT University. I have been at Liquid Architecture for two years now and my role is focused on managing and administrating a program of performances, talks and workshops, developing partnerships, curatorial projects and supporting the development of the organisation. I am currently also working on two exhibitions that are planned to take place at independent spaces in Melbourne, and on a residency project in Taiwan.

Julia Lennartsson, class of '14

Julia Lennartsson

–Before I took the programme, I had a BA from Linköping University in Culture, Society and Media production. I have mostly worked with exhibition production at historical institutions, such as Stockholm City Museum where I produced the traveling exhibition Hitta Hem. The exhibition tapped into a debate regarding Swedish foster care, and it looked at the topic of foster children’s rights and experiences both from a historical and contemporary perspective.

–My exam project was called A little less conversation and was based on the idea of ”the ideology of a place”. In the exhibition, I aimed to examine if the perception of a place can change in the meeting with a specific artwork. My thesis related to the political approach in the exhibition. It was an examination of New Public Management in cultural politics, specifically looking at if and how Kulturhuset Stadsteatern in Stockholm had changed when this method of organization was introduced.

–Since my graduation, I have been working with illustration at Illustratörcentrum for a while. At the moment I am also examining the possibilities to start a project together with an old classmate.

Brynja Sveinsdóttir, class of '14

Brynja Sveinsdóttir

–When I applied to the Curating Art programme I had a BA degree in Art Theory with Philosophy as a minor and a MA degree in Applied Studies in Culture and Communications, both from the University of Iceland. I did not have much work experience in the field before starting the programme since I had done my studies back to back.

–My exam project examined narratives as a curatorial tool. My thesis, Reading Spaces, studied exhibitions as narrative platform where different mediation and interpretations of art meet. The study was conducted through exhibition analyses and by applying exhibition theory, semiotics and narrative theory. The exhibition I did for my master’s examination, Tall tales, brought together Icelandic artist Edda Mac and writer Björn Leó Brynjarsson. The exhibition presented an illustrative sculpture by Edda Mac, which was echoed by stream of thought texts by Björn Leó. The texts were created as a response to the illustrative sculpture, creating an everted dialogue between written and drawn narratives.

Project manager

–As part of my programme I worked as an intern for ten weeks at Moderna Museet in Stockholm. My internship turned into a six month project based hire as curatorial assistant, where I worked on the exhibition Ett sätt att leva at Moderna Museet Malmö. After graduation, I moved back to Iceland and initially substituted as exhibition manager at the Reykjavík Museum of Photography and curated the exhibition Traces of Life with works by six contemporary photographers in Iceland.

–I now work as project manager at Gerðarsafn Kópavogur Art Museum, where I take care of the events, education and manage the museum's art collection. I have also curated exhibitions at the museum, such as Double Happiness by Katrín Elvarsdóttir and co-curated the collection exhibition Blind Date, both in 2015.

Work of Brynja Sveinsdóttir
Tall tales by Brynja Sveinsdóttir.
 

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