CPD Symposium: New Genealogies of Art History/New Systems of Thinking

new systems of thinking
new systems of thinking

3 March 2023


Fitzwilliam Museum, CB2 1RB, Cambridge

This symposium wants to rethink and challenge the systems in which the art world operates from museums, galleries and art institutions (including organisations such as CAS) to working with artists and academics. We are all entangled in a system that has proven flaws, which are reflected in many change-initiatives including decolonising and social inclusion agendas and restrictions due to funding deficits. Therefore, not unsurprisingly, recent largescale international exhibitions such as Documenta have tried to propose new models of working and, in this symposium, we seek to ask:

  • How can we integrate new ways of working within a given institution?
  • How can we eradicate engrained hierarchical approaches from the way we think, collect, display and exhibit objects in our museums and allow for a number of narratives to co-exist within a museum?
  • How can we make sure that what is presented is centred within a dialogue? What does this mean?
  • How can we collectively work together in new ways?

In the first part of the symposium we will have presentations from three different art professionals that have integrated innovative approaches into their institutions. These will include the Head of Exhibitions at the Whitworth Museum in Manchester Poppy Bowers, Amsterdam based curator and researcher Amal Alhaag, Lubumbashi based artist collective Centre d’art Waza.

For the second part of the day we will invite participants to share their provocations. These will further highlight the many contradictions of our sector; the aim is to not seek a singular agreement but instead gain an understanding of diverse working practices and contexts. These statements from our sector will be no longer than 7 minutes. We welcome CPD curators to participate in this second part either by sending us a short outline of what you would like to discuss or by signing up and speaking on the day.


Schedule of the day:

10.45- 11.00 Arrival at the Fitzwilliam

11.00 – 11.20 Presentation by Poppy Bowers, Head of Exhibitions, Whitworth.

11.20 – 11.40 Presentation by Amal Alhaag.

11.40 – 12.10 Presentation from Stephane Kabila from Centre d’Art Waza.

12.10 – 12.25 Short break.

12.25 – 13.00 Moderated Discussion.

13.00 – 14.15 LUNCH.

14.15 – 16.10 Jam session of provocations by invited professionals and CPD members.

16.10 – 16.20 Break.

16.20 – 17.00 Discussion and end notes.


Event is free for members.
£7 for non-members.


Travel Bursaries are available, please write to info@contemporaryartsociety.org by 24 February 2023.


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