On Curating Histories is a public lecture series devised and led by Dublin based curator Kate Strain. The series will be hosted in four parts by MA Art in the Contemporary World at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, from mid-November to early December 2015. The project presents research into significant curatorial trajectories, and supports the production of new work by Irish artists. Through combining original historical material with the presentation of newly commissioned artworks, the lecture series performs an exploratory analysis of the history of curating, while simultaneously instituting an original context to inform the production and presentation of new work.

The eight curators selected (all dead white males, born in Europe in the period between 1890 and 1940) have each responded to and influenced artistic practice, whilst provoking debates about the meaning and importance of art within culture and society at large. Each of these figures also contributed significantly to developments in exhibition-making, shaping the contexts within which art is brought into the public realm.

Working through the parameters of a traditional lecture format, the learning and information-based nature of an educational experience is transformed into an associative and generative curatorial model, where research can be challenged, tested, complicated and propelled in the immediacy of the public realm. Ultimately, this lecture series endeavours to contribute towards a broader understanding of contemporary art and its histories, through embodied experience, and the production of new knowledge. The research, development, and commissioning of this project was supported by an Arts Council of Ireland Project Award.


For more information, to leave a comment or request material, please email Kate at: oncuratinghistories {at} gmail {dot} com


Public Lecture Series Schedule for NCAD:

Monday 16th November | 6:30 – 7:30pm

The Impossible Museum

Lecture on Alexander Dorner and Johannes Cladders

with artworks by Ruth E. Lyons and Barbara Knezevic

Harry Clarke Lecture Theatre, NCAD, Dublin


Monday 23rd November | 6:30 – 7:30pm

Eyes are sometimes not enough for people

Lecture on Willem Sandberg and Pontus Hultén

with artworks by Joseph Noonan-Ganley and Oisin Byrne

Harry Clarke Lecture Theatre, NCAD, Dublin


Monday 30th November | 6:30 – 7:30pm

Attitudes, Aesthetics, and Apèritifs

Lecture on Harald Szeemann and Wim Beeren

with artworks by Ella de Búrca and Teresa Gillespie

Harry Clarke Lecture Theatre, NCAD, Dublin


Monday 7th December | 6:30 – 7:30pm

Museums for Cities for People

Lecture on Jean Leering and Jan Hoet

with artworks by James Ó hAodha and Clive Moloney

Harry Clarke Lecture Theatre, NCAD, Dublin

Lecture Dates

  • Lecture #1 part I - Harry Clarke Lecture Theatre, NCAD, Dublin16 Nov 2015
  • Lecture #1 part II - Harry Clarke Lecture Theatre, NCAD, Dublin16 Nov 2015
  • Lecture #2 part I - Harry Clarke Lecture Theatre, NCAD, Dublin23 Nov 2015
  • Lecture #2 part II - Harry Clarke Lecture Theatre, NCAD, Dublin23 Nov 2015
  • Lecture #3 part I - Harry Clarke Lecture Theatre, NCAD, Dublin30 Nov 2015
  • Lecture #3 part II - Harry Clarke Lecture Theatre, NCAD, Dublin30 Nov 2015
  • Lecture #4 part I - Harry Clarke Lecture Theatre, NCAD, Dublin07 Dec 2015
  • Lecture #4 part II - Harry Clarke Lecture Theatre, NCAD, Dublin07 Dec 2015


Frank Wasser (b. 1988) is an artist, educator and writer from Dublin, Ireland currently based in London. He contribution to On Curating Histories takes the form of an ongoing intervention that unfolds throughout the series. Recent exhibitions and project include Mr.DNA/Clippy with Andrew Hardwidge, Dan Graham Pavilion, Max Mayer Gallery, Dusseldorf, August 2015; Scene 93 Omitted, Xero, Kline and Coma, London (Solo Show) curated by Joseph Noonan-Ganley and Sam Keogh, Concrete Gown for Immaterial Fows with Pil and Galia Kolectiv, Mirrorcity, Hayward Gallery, London, October 2014; EX, Catalyst Arts, Belfast, August 2014; Art and Interpretation, Tate Modern, June 2014; UNDERLINE, Occupy Limerick, Limerick, June 2014; PIGDOGANDMONLEYFESTO, Airspace gallery, Stoke, England, June 2014; Art and Language, Tate Modern, March 2014; PENUMBRA, Tactic Cork, Cork, March 2014; An egg in the sky, publication featuring Joseph Nonnan-Ganley, Jason Dunne and Frank Wasser, designed by Hato Press, London, January 2014.

Lorna Hayden is a final year student studying Fine Art Painting and Visual Culture at the National College of Art and Design. She is assisting with the production and realisation of the lecture series. She works in NCAD Gallery and has worked as a volunteer at Dublin Gallery Weekend 2015, and regularly at Luncheonette and Temple Bar Gallery + Studios. Group exhibitions include Romantic Land and Art Life, (2015) curated by Brendan Fox, tip X, (2015) a collaborative exhibition with Aisling Morris, and Tuesday(2015).




Karl Burke (b. Sligo, Ireland, 1974) lives and works in Dublin. Solo exhibitions include Karl Burke, RHA Gallery, Dublin, 2014; Taking a Line at Leitrim Sculpture Centre, Manorhamilton, 2011 and Method C at King John’s Castle, Limerick City Gallery of Art, 2010. Burke has recently shown at the The MAC, Belfast as part of the two person exhibition with Maud Cotter in The Air They Capture Is Different, 2013 and in group exhibitions including The Centre For Dying On Stage #01, Project Arts Centre, Dublin, 2014; The empty set at Maria Stenfors, London, 2013; Into the Light, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, 2012; Time out of Mind, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 2012; Conquested, Temple Bar Galleries + Studios, Dublin, 2011 and Nothing is Impossible at the Mattress Factory, Pittsburg, 2010. Burke also produces music under the name Karl Him and has produced a number of soundtracks for theatre, working with Dublin based companies Loose Canon and Brokentalkers.

The First 47 is the studio of Alex Synge, an Irish graphic designer and artist. Based between Dublin and Belfast, he specialises in design for print, web and visual identity for a wide range of clients in the cultural, commercial and academic fields. As an artist, he has exhibited work in Dublin, London, Glasgow, Milan, Skagaströnd, Boston, New York, Chicago and LA. His work has been featured in publications such as Semi-Permanent, Faesthetic and Pencil Fight, as well as online on Booooooom, It's Nice That and The Fox is Black. He also proudly runs collaborative illustration-project-meets-stationery-company Keep Sketch, sporadically posts film photographs here, and is a member of the 100 Archive


Kate Strain, series presenter, is a Dublin-based curator, currently researching performativity in visual art practice. She holds a BA in the History of Art and Architecture, and History, from Trinity College Dublin, and an MA in Visual Arts Practice from IADT Dun Laoghaire. She was a participant of de Appel Curatorial Programme, Amsterdam (NL) in 2013/14, and the Young Curators Residency Programme at Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Torino (IT) in 2015. She has worked in a curatorial capacity at Project Arts Centre, Dublin, Butler Gallery, Kilkenny, and independently. Recent exhibitions include The Man Who Sat On Himself, group exhibition at Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Torino, Italy; Clerk of Mind, solo show by Chris Evans, at Project Arts Centre, Dublin; and Father, Can’t You See I’m Burning? group exhibition at de Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Current projects include The Centre For Dying On Stage, a research and commissioning body; and Department of Ultimology, a research platform established in collaboration with Fiona Hallinan at Trinity College Dublin. Strain also makes up one half of the paired curatorial practice RGKSKSRG working alongside Rachael Gilbourne to commission and contextualise contemporary art. RGKSKSRG are currently working with Cow House Studios to curate the 2015 International Residency Programme, I like to eat with my hands. They also curated The Re-appropriation of Sensuality, a solo-show by Emma Haugh at NCAD Gallery, Dublin.



About MA ACW at NCAD

The Master of Arts – Art in the Contemporary World is a taught programme that examines contemporary art practices and their critical, theoretical, historical and social contexts. The course offers an opportunity for focused engagement with the varied challenges presented by today’s most ambitious art practices, bridging the relationship between theory and practice by creating exciting study opportunities for both practitioners and theorists. As part of Semester II of ACW in 2015 (Nov-Dec) Kate Strain leads a module on the history of curating, tracing a lineage of the history of contemporary curating, through seminars, suggested reading, presentations, exhibition histories, and a public lecture series. The course guidebook is the e-publication VOTI Union of the Imaginary, edited by Susan Hapgood, Vasıf Kortun and November Paynter, and published by SALT, Istanbul, 2013. VOTI was a digital forum founded in 1998 as a platform for the discussion of issues pertaining to curatorial practice in the context of contemporary society. It consists of a vast archive of emails sent between members and later, the wider public. Through the document the evolution, role, and function of contemporary curatorial practice will be explored.



Website designed by Alex Synge & built by Ciarán Hickey.

www.thefirst47.com | www.ciaranhickey.com


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