TOC Jun 6, 2023

Museum History Journal, Volume 16, Issue 1 (2023)

Laia Anguix-Vilches

Special Issue on British Curatorial Practices.
In her research about the museum ecosystem, Jung (2011) explored the links between art galleries and the wider society they aim to serve. However, this ecosystem theory did not delve into notions of power or authority within the museum institution. Whilst scholars have investigated the nature of museums as a source of power/knowledge, there is no similar in-depth analysis of the impact of this social power on curatorial practices. This special issue aims to shed light on the often overlooked but significant power dynamics taking place within the walls of the museum, with a focus on the British art institutional context.

Through a series of case studies, the contributors investigate and deconstruct the relationship between curators and their institutions in a range of periods, art forms, circumstances and locations within the UK. Together, the articles offer a critical analysis of the strategies put in place by curators within their institutional structures, shaping their interactions with artists, colleagues, critics, connoisseurs, private collectors, commercial art galleries and public funders. The contributions move away from the opposition between an artistic centre and a periphery, to instead consider the constellation of practices making up the British curatorial scene and its intersection with a globalised art world.


Introduction - An internal ecosystem: power balance in British curatorial practice
Laia Anguix-Vilches, Elisabetta Fabrizi & Massimiliano Papini
Pages: 1-6

Research Articles

‘Maker of exhibitions’: the curatorial practice of Cordelia Oliver
Susannah Thompson
Pages: 7-27

‘The Hatton gallery will be the scene of an experiment’: The impact of the relationship between a university institution, its art gallery and its fine art professor
Melanie Gail Stephenson
Pages: 28-45

A Great Wave reaches Newcastle: The 1913 Japanese Art Exhibition at the Laing Art gallery
Massimiliano Papini & Laia Anguix-Vilches
Pages: 46-62

Curators as keepers and exhibition makers: The British Museum’s African Galleries
Nicola Foster
Pages: 63-80

Rising from the ashes of the film museum: the role of individual habitus and political-economic structures in the shaping of the British Film Institute’s curatorial strategies and the establishment of the BFI Gallery
Elisabetta Fabrizi
Pages: 81-98

Curatorial practices and ‘intrinsically English’ art: The British pavilion at the Venice Biennale
Stefania Portinari
Pages: 99-117

TOC: Museum History Journal, Volume 16, Issue 1 (2023). In:, Jun 6, 2023 (accessed Sep 29, 2023), <>.