Affect and Curating: Feeling the Curatorial

Reckitt, Helena; Blackman, Lisa; Wakeford, Nina and Fisher, Jennifer. 2016. 'Affect and Curating: Feeling the Curatorial'. In: Affect and Curating: Feeling the Curatorial. Whitechapel Gallery, London, United Kingdom 19 January 2017. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

Helena Reckitt moderated this discussion on the affective turn in curating and society more broadly, with Lisa Blackman (author of Immaterial Bodies: Affect, Embodiment, Mediation) Jennifer Fisher (curator with DisplayCult, Professor of Contemporary Art and Curatorial Studies, York University, and editor of Technologies of Intuition), and Nina Wakeford, artist and sociologist.

Posing the question, what is the feeling of an exhibition?, speakers discussed how curators as well as artists deploy, stimulate and mobilise emotional states. Questioning the extent to which affect operates independently from meaning, identity or thought, on the level of pre-conscious physical responses and resonances – or how much it is socially contingent – they explored how focusing on affect might challenge and complicate understandings of curating and curatorial approaches. Consider how museums, galleries, art world events and artworks function as sites for the transmission of affects, speakers discussed issues including:

- what drew them to affect theory as part of your intellectual, political and/or creative practice, and the key concepts and thinkers/critical genealogies that have informed their engagement with affect theory
- what might a focus on exhibitions and curatorial projects as zones of affective mediation offer curatorial practice and thought?
- how might curators design exhibitions in ways that its public(s) feel a sense of connection but do not overly recognise the choreography and mediation of the experience (a question that Lisa Blackman poses in her article 'Affect, Mediation and Subjectivity-as-Encounter: Finding the Feeling of the Foundling,' Journal of Curatorial Studies Volume 5, Number 1, 1 February 2016, pp. 32-55(24))

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Panel)

Additional Information:

The panel marked the publication of a two-part issue on affect and curating in the Journal of Curatorial Studies on Museums and Affect , and Affect and Relationality.

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19 January 2017Completed
1 September 2016Accepted

Event Location:

Whitechapel Gallery, London, United Kingdom

Date range:

19 January 2017

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

31 Jan 2017 12:41

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:24


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