‘Curating Radical Futures Symposium’, 2017

In partnership with Arts Council England, Outset provided eight emerging UK-based curators, who had been nominated by UK institutions, the opportunity to join a research trip to Documenta 14, Kassel and Skulptur Projekte, Münster in the summer of 2017. The curators included Annie Kwan (International Curators Forum), Cairo Clark (independent curator), Daniel Sean Kelly (Two Queens, Leicester), James Ravinet (Focal Point, Southend), Ying Tan (Centre or Chinese Contemporary Art, Manchester), George Vasey (independent curator), Lizz Brady (Broken Grey Wires) and Tamar Clarke Brown (independent curator).

Through conversations and research collated across this period, the curators worked with Annie Kwan to produce ‘Curating Radical Futures’ a symposium at the Starr Auditorium, Tate Modern for an audience of 250 people.

Guest speakers: Larry Achiampong (Artist), Candida Gertler OBE (Co-Founding Director, Outset), Jesse Jones (Artist), Melanie Keen (Director, Iniva), and Adriel Luis (Curator, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Centre).

Research curators: Cairo Clark, Daniel Sean Kelly, James Ravinet, Ying Tan, George Vasey.

Curating Radical Futures
What does the future hold?

In an age of escalating ecological, political and social crises across the world, reverberating across news and media platforms, it requires what Junot Diaz noted as ‘radical hope’ to resolve ourselves towards a future goodness that is beyond our current capacity to conceptualise what it might be. The act of curating becomes, if read in terms of the art market or globalised markets, an act of investment with a collaborative stake and culpability in our shared prospects for humanity.

This colloquium is the culmination of the research trip commissioned by Outset and Arts Council England, for 8 emerging curators selected from throughout the UK, to visit documenta14 and Skulptur Projekte in Münster. Curated by Annie Jael Kwan, the session invites leading curators, artists and thinkers to respond thoughtfully and playfully to the question of how to visualize and manifest ‘radical futures’ and thus, ‘alternative histories’, in terms of perceiving the multiple possibilities offered by artistic vision and practice.

Listen to the symposium here:


Outset’s unique position means that they can approach situations in a new way, bringing entrepreneurial thinking and independence.

Kirsten Dunne, Senior Cultural Strategy Officer at Greater London Authority