Curating Under Pressure: International Perspectives

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Thanks to the collaboration with the National Coalition Against Censorship, CIMAM members can access the introduction and two chapters of the book.

  1. Understanding self-censorship. RETHINKING THE CURATOR’S REMIT, by Janet Marstine
  2. SMART TACTICS. Toward an adaptive curatorial practice by Svetlana Mintcheva

To access the PDF, login the Members Only section of the CIMAM website with your Username (“email”) and Password.


Curating Under Pressure: International Perspectives on Negotiating Conflict And Upholding Integrity, London: Routledge 2020

The publication of the first book to look at pressures to self-censor and the curatorial responses to these pressures from a wide range of international perspectives. In the months since the book went to print, the conversation it has started has become increasingly relevant. Social justice and anti-racism protests are often accompanied by calls for the cancellation of exhibitions. At the same time, state governments are developing new means to discredit emergent civic discourse by drowning it out and questioning its veracity. Free expression today is very different from what it was even ten years ago. How should institutions respond? The answer, according to Curating Under Pressure, does not lie in making a reductive choice between either self-censorship and forging ahead without acknowledging complex sensitivities and tangible risks. Instead, it entails a nuanced process of listening, negotiation and response.

To what extent should the pursuit of curatorial autonomy be balanced with respect for diverse local, regional and national contexts? Is it necessary to respond to social media attacks or is it wiser to ignore them? How can a commitment to politically meaningful exhibitions and programming be balanced with the ethical responsibility to protect artists from government retaliation and to create spaces respectful of diverse audiences?