Art and Education: Curating a Conference Theme

By Tressa Berman.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This essay is an exposition of inter-related themes, curatorial iterations, and grounded projects that converged at the University of Kassel, Germany, the location of the 2008 International Conference on the Arts in Society. In my role as ‘Conference Director,’ I linked the purpose of the Arts Conference – to create an ongoing intellectual platform for the arts and arts practices – to one of three over-arching themes of Documenta12 (Art and Education). Our conference team proceeded to shape the arc of the conference as an integrated and open site for engaging with Documenta12 and its global participants of curators, educators and community arts organizers. Originally conceptualized as an introductory essay to the set of collected and published articles from the 2007 annual Arts Conference (see, this paper also is intended to stand alone as a reflection and journey through the labyrinth of presentation stops, exhibition showcases, and thematic agenda that mapped conference events. The selection of speakers and collateral events with Documenta12 emerged in the context of working with the Documenta12 education team, and followed its connective threads. More selected ‘walk through,’ than ‘virtual tour,’ the following paper invites the reader to enter a subjective storyline of curating a conference theme.

Keywords: Arts Conference, Education

The International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 2, Issue 6, pp.63-68. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 452.278KB).

Tressa Berman

Borderzone Arts & Common Ground, USA

Tressa Berman is a cultural anthropologist (PhD UCLA) who specialises in visual culture studies, museum studies, and contemporary art of Native North America and the Pacific. She is a curator, writer, and an educator whose work spans disciplines and transnational sites. Her international exhibition, Cultural Copy had its final iteration in conjunction with Common Ground’s Cultural Diversity Conference, where it was featured at the UCLA Fowler Museum. Her museum career includes positions at the Smithsonian Institution, most recently as a Rockefeller Fellow. As former Director of the International Conference on the Arts in Society, she has curated the Arts Conference in conjunction with the Edinburgh Festivals (2006) and Documenta12 (2007). Currently, she is Visiting Faculty at the San Francisco Art Institute’s graduate program in Exhibition and Museum Studies, and Adjunct Professor at the California College of the Arts’ Center for Art and Public Life.


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