No. 18 | Curating the Future

‘Curated’ is a word we hear a lot these days. Over the past 10 years or so it has come to apply to everything from cocktail menus to music playlists to clothes on the rails in a store. By contrast, the focus of the word ‘curator’ remains tighter. In a professional context it still applies specifically to a range of specialist roles in the world of museums and the visual arts. Reflecting the meaning of the Latin verb ‘curare’, curators are people who ‘take care of’ collections and exhibitions. To draw a parallel with the world of theatre, a curator’s role is multidisciplinary – part dramaturg, part producer, part director, sometimes covering front-of-house and education duties too.

At present, curators are very much top of mind for the Genesis Foundation. In partnership with the Royal Academy of Arts, we have just announced the launch of the Genesis Future Curators Programme. This new initiative generates two graduate positions for curators at the Royal Academy, each running for two years. There is one new curator role in the Academy’s Collections team and another in its Exhibition team. Applications are now open for these fantastic opportunities, designed to open the way to a career in curation across the cultural and creative industries.

The Genesis Foundation has funded curatorial roles before – and we received proposals for similar programmes from a number of arts organisations – but not every organisation has Rebecca Salter as its President. The person in charge is always of the essence when the Foundation considers a prospective programme partner. Rebecca’s passion for nurturing young artistic talent exemplifies the embedded culture of mentoring at the Royal Academy, which is dedicated to nurturing the visual arts through exhibitions, education and debate. 

Indeed, Rebecca’s work in her previous, predominantly educational role as Keeper of the Royal Academy won her the 2020 Genesis Foundation Prize, which recognises outstanding mentors of artistic talent and gives them £25,000 to further their work. As she says, the two Genesis Future Curators can look forward to sharing in the knowledge of industry experts and established Royal Academicians.  They will be working within a visionary organisation which knows how to take care of rising talent in the creative industries – and of ensuring the cultural memory of tomorrow.

Read other posts in the John Studzinski: The Philanthropist’s View series