Youth Forums in Contemporary Art Museums: Mapping Untimely Entanglements

Silva, Carolina Carvalho Palma da. 2017. Youth Forums in Contemporary Art Museums: Mapping Untimely Entanglements. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

Youth forums – long-term programmes for young people, age 15 to 21, emerged in the mid 1990s in contemporary art museums in response to the misrepresentation of this age group and as an attempt to offer them a creative space outside the school environment. My research draws a genealogy of museums turn toward youth, looking in particular to six ecologies – the Whitechapel Gallery, Tate, South London Gallery, Whitney Museum, MoMA and the New Museum. Drawing on the notion of heterotopia, proposed by Michel Foucault, I discuss the relational ethos of youth forums, as they are concomitantly connected to and separated from museums.

This historical mapping is expanded to consider the pedagogies that come together in collaborative art practices, as these are at the heart of initiatives for youth in contemporary art museums. Focusing on the Whitechapel Gallery’s youth forum – Duchamp&Sons, namely the projects De/construct (2013-2014) and Art Casino (2014-2015), three concepts emerged from their open-ended collaborations – ignorance, forgetfulness, and unknown. These were the élan to invent new ways of working and being together, to what I, influenced by Louis Althusser’s materialism of the encounter, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s middle, and Karen Barad’s intra-actions, name pedagogy of the encounter.

In tandem with the emphasis on collaborative art practices, the long-term duration of youth forums gives young people the opportunity to return and therefore expand their relation with museums – curators, artists, and their peers. To think these untimely entanglements in terms of being-with, of a singular plural ontology as discussed by Jean-Luc Nancy, entails an impossible sense of togetherness, which stresses the politics and ethics of the AND. Based on the experiences of Duchamp&Sons participants I further mapped the potentiality of being part of a youth forum, where-when participation is always felt in movement. In sum, it is a matter of connections – visible and invisible.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Youth Forum, Contemporary Art Museum, Art Museum Education, Collaborative Art Practices

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies


31 December 2017

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

10 Jan 2018 14:35

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 14:10


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