Call for Participation | Masterclass – Re-presenting Community-based Arts: the challenge for curators, critics, and researchers

Presented by the Centre for Cultural Partnerships, University of Melbourne and Birkbeck, University of London on February 3 and 4, 2014 as part of the international conference in Melbourne, Australia: Spectres of Evaluation: rethinking art/ community/ value. Convened by Dr Marnie Badham and Dr Danielle Wyatt, the Centre for Cultural Partnerships is seeking applications from PhD and early career researchers to participate in a master class.

This intensive two day workshop includes:

  • lectures from international experts Dr Sophie Hope (Birkbeck, University of London, UK curatorial studies), Associate Professor Ted Purves (Californian College of the Arts, USA, social practice), and Professor W.F. Garrett-Petts (Thompson Rivers University, Canada, Associate Vice-President Research & Graduate Studies).
  • a discussion of selected pre-assigned readings,
  • a walking tour of artworks at designated artworks and art spaces,
  • participant generated discussion, and artistic and/or academic publication output.

Background: Participatory art, community art, social practice, relational aesthetics and dialogic art: these terms designate a proliferation in contemporary forms of arts practice, particularly, in the variety of ways it is possible to conceptualize, produce and present art. This expansion in the field of artistic production has not been matched by an equivalent expansion in the secondary practices through which art is interpreted, documented, critiqued and institutionalized in public culture. What does the proliferation in forms of arts practice mean for the re-presentation of this art for curators, arts critics, cultural researchers and other artists? Are these arts practices in fact deeply entangled with the forms through which they are mediated and disseminated to the public, rendering as redundant the very notion of a secondary practice around art, or the ‘critical distance’ supporting the authority of interpretive arts discourses?

These visiting scholars are each developing creative ways of addressing this challenging relationship between contemporary arts practices and their re-presentation in public culture.  Their work suggests the needs for new kinds of pedagogies to support critical, artistic and curatorial responses to these forms of art-making. This master class will question the historical narratives which currently frame the critical, curatorial and cultural discourses around these new contemporary art practices, and explore new methods for engagement, research and dialogue around this work.

Selection of participants: Selection is competitive and will be limited to 20 participants whose research engages with the themes of Re-presenting Community-based Arts: the challenge for curators, critics and researchers. This two-day seminar and workshop for curators, critics, artists and research students to explores the challenges of ‘re-presenting community based arts’. Successful applicants will be notified by Friday, November 1, 2013 at which point, these submissions circulated with other participants.

Free seminar and conference bursary: The master class is free of charge to successful applicants, including lunches. Master class participants are also provided a bursary to participate in the Spectres of Evaluation conference, free of cost. Letters of invitation will be provided to successful applicants who must access their faculty funding for travel or accommodation costs.  

How to apply: Deadline for applications is October 15, 2013. Email your completed submission and any questions to Dr Marnie Badham at

In no more one than page, please provide the following information:

Name, school/organization affiliation, email contact

Short biography (100 words)

In relation to the workshop themes (300 words total):

  • What is your current research topic or interest?
  • What is one particular issue or problem in your research you would like to discuss with the class?
  • How will you benefit from participating in this master class?

Visit the website for an application form