CAS Annual Conference: Re-Writing the Canon?

Berni Searle, 'Untitled (Red)'. From the 'Colour Me' series, 1998.
Berni Searle, 'Untitled (Red)'. From the 'Colour Me' series, 1998.

14 May 2019


The Courtauld Institute of Art
Vernon Square, Penton Rise
London, WC1X 9EW

*Please note this event takes place at the Courtauld’s Kings Cross space and not at Somerset House*

Museum Members: free
£25 for non-members, £15 for students (ID required at registration). Coffee and lunch included

Join us for the CAS Annual Conference, bringing together scholars, curators and museum professionals to consider significant recent initiatives in collecting, exhibitions and display, and the issues they raise.

In recent decades, notions of a fixed “canon”, or a single narrative in modern and contemporary art has come under question from all sides. Museums and galleries have been at the centre of the debate, playing an active part in revising art history. Modern art as a story of national histories and defined stylistic movements has come under scrutiny, with international museums adopting global, post‐colonial and supra‐national perspectives ranging far beyond the traditional Western‐centric model. Boundaries and hierarchies of value between different art forms have been dismantled. Issues of identity and representation have come to the fore, and renewed attention is being paid to museums’ responsibilities to their local communities.

How can museums keep pace and respond to these new imperatives? What happens when ‘the grand narratives’ are no longer considered fit for purpose? How are collections, exhibitions and displays to be rethought – according to what criteria, and for whom?

Download speaker abstracts and biographies 



11:00 – 11:25 On-Site Registration

11:30 – 11:45 Introduction by Caroline Douglas, Director, Contemporary Art Society and Martin Caiger-Smith, Courtauld Institute of Art


Part I: Museum Collections.

11:45 – 12:15 Christopher Bedford, Director, Baltimore Museum of Art, USA

12:15 – 12:35 Sook Kyung-Lee, Senior Curator, Tate Modern, UK

12:40 – 13:00 Hilke Wagner, Director, Albertinum, Dresden, DE

13.00 – 13.30 Discussion between the three speakers, moderated by Martin Caiger-Smith, Head of the MA Curating the Art Museum, Courtauld Art Institute of Art


13:30 – 14:30 Lunch


Part II: Exhibitions and Displays.

14:45 – 15:15 Denise Murrell, Co-Curator of Black models: from Géricault to Matisse at the Musee d’Orsay, Paris

15:15 – 15:35 E-J Scott, Curator of the Museum of Transology, hosted by Brighton Museum

15:40 – 16.00 Helena Reckitt, Reader in Curating, Goldsmiths, University of London

16: 00 -16:30 Coffee Break


Part III: Roundtable Discussion and Final Remarks.

16:30 – 17:30 Discussion and final remarks, moderated by Ben Luke, The Art Newspaper


This event is organised by the Contemporary Art Society in partnership with The Courtauld Institute of Art Research Forum.


Online booking now closed. Tickets available at the door.


Travel Bursaries are available for Museum Members, please apply by 1 May 2019. To apply and download the Contemporary Art Society Travel Bursary Form (.docx) click here

To book a place as a Museum Member and/or apply for a bursary please email



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