Discourse and Advocacy in the Spaces of Curation

Curation, the intentional act of selection and display of content, is often categorized in one of two ways: as an institutionalized type exemplified by the rarified systems and cultures of museums, and as a more subjective, populist curation that appears in highly edited social media content creation. This course will focus on a field of architectural curation that mines the gap between these two poles in order to prompt discourse, advocacy, and activism through informal and tactical exhibitions, displays, messaging, events, and public dissemination.

At once grittier than the museum and more calculated than personal feeds, this field of architectural curation places participants in approachable spaces to interact with one another face-to-face in the presence of objects, artifacts, images, information, and ideas. Most often associated with smaller and more experimental spaces and practices, locations of this type of curation can take many forms, from gallery walls to urban streets, from public landscapes to building surfaces.

The course will investigate these aspects of architectural curation through guest speakers drawn from organizations and practices worldwide. They will share case studies on exhibits, events, oral histories, films, demonstrations, publications, installations, and other curated outputs. Student-led presentations and reading discussions will explore a broad range of related topics: curation as setting (formats, form, site); curation as content (research, writing, criticism, narrative, messaging); and curation as impact (relevance, advocacy, engagement, audience, visibility, reception).

Workshop sessions—led by curator and exhibition designer Chris Grimley of pinkcomma gallery—will develop skills through the examination of modes of curation, including an understanding of archival resources, experiential graphics, representational tools, and new media models. Throughout the semester, students will work in small teams to assess precedents, develop an exhibition proposal, and produce components of a collective exhibition for public display.


Up to eight seats will be held for MDes students, with priority given to Narratives Domain and ADPD Area students.

This course will be taught online through Friday, February 4th.