Rewilding Curatorial Practice
The intertwinement of health, environmental, social and capitalist regimes have become catastrophically evident in the current climate crisis and zoonotic pandemic; systemic racial discrimination; and rise of far-right politics. Finding new methods to address these issues within their socio-ecological complexity and to engender the systemic change needed have never been so pressing. What is at stake now is the institutional response. This PhD takes on this challenge through inventive practice-based curatorial research, together with theoretical pursuit.
I will employ Rewilding – a strategy from environmental management – and extend it to contemporary art and its institutions, and with it, develop a new curatorial methodology that can positively impact the systemic change needed.
The term ‘Wild’ was created by the colonial imaginary to reject people and places outside of its system as Other. Where the wild things are is thus the anti-hegemonic, where disorder and disobedience interrupt neat narratives (Halberstam 2020). I call upon Rewilding’s potential in recuperating narratives of the oppressed, indigenous, endemic, human and non-human; as a seedbed for cultivating disruption; and as a site-specific research modality for queering and troubling curatorial practice.
This project aims to extend curatorial practice as a socio-ecological modality of learning from the land with interdisciplinary partners, gathering of tools and developing methods that can be brought back and impact art institutional systems.
My curatorial practice, underpinned by socio-ecological considerations, will take place through site specific research in the UK and Eastern Europe. Alongside a thesis, research outputs will include walking tours, workshops, forest retreat and exhibitions.
Dr Ros Gray