Photo of Oona Doyle

Oona Doyle

"I was at the epicentre of where new ideas were being formed, which was very exciting. The programme seemed very on point regarding contemporary issues, notably around technology, ecology, politics, gender."

Main details

Year graduated 2014
Department Art
Programme MFA Curating
Country United Kingdom

"I was always drawn to Goldsmiths for its reputation as a forward-thinking, experimental, artistic and engaging place, for its interests in contemporary art theory and anthropology. During my art history BA I started a publication called 'Plateau', which brought together emerging artists and writers from different universities across the world around a central theme. I very much enjoyed the collaborative process it entailed, the confrontation and dialogue that came about when bringing together different viewpoints. After studying the history of art, I felt the urge to understand at a deeper level the practice of present-day, living artists and how they reflect on our time. The process of researching and mapping contemporary threads in our cultural landscape was intellectually stimulating for me. Curating seemed like the right fit. I heard that the Goldsmiths MFA Curating programme was one of the best, so I applied.

In retrospect, the course had a great influence on my way of thinking and approaching the world. I felt like I was at the epicentre of where new ideas were being formed, which was very exciting. The programme seemed very on point regarding contemporary issues, notably around technology, ecology, politics, gender… I would say the way we approached things was open and thorough with a sense of urgency; this really allowed us to exercise our thinking and develop news ideas. Also, I met very inspiring people there from everywhere in the world, some of whom are now very close friends. There are some great professional opportunities, as well as education workshops outside the classroom, which allow you to acquire a range of very different experiences. My experience with the curatorial internship at Tate Modern, in light of the ideas I was exploring at Goldsmiths, was eye opening. As for the course work, I had to learn to be very self-disciplined.

After graduating I finished an internship at Tate Modern, where I worked on the Sigmar Polke retrospective, as well as researching contemporary and modern artworks by Eastern European artists for the museum’s collections acquisition committee. This research involved questioning what constitutes ‘European post-war art’ through the examination of women artists and former-eastern block sensibilities. I published part of my Goldsmiths dissertation on ctc (curating the contemporary). I wrote a series of poems that function as micro-exhibitions published online. For each exhibition-poem, artworks were featured through the use of hyperlinks.

Then, I started a job at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, assisting the Director of the then-upcoming London gallery. After a year and a half as an executive assistant, I started helping with research, writing, editing and translation. I am now Director of Publications, having edited and produced over 20 publications for the gallery. At the gallery, I have had the opportunity to co-curate a large-scale exhibition titled It comes in Waves, which brought together 16 artists (Miquel Barceló, Georg Baselitz, Rosemarie Castoro, Richard Deacon, Elger Esser, Valie Export, Anselm Kiefer, Wolfgang Laib, Jason Martin, Justin Matherly, Sigmar Polke, Marc Quinn, Arnulf Rainer, Pat Steir, Not Vital and Lawrence Weiner) and organised a number of events, notably screenings and performances. The ideas discussed in the Goldsmiths MFA Curating Affect Studies workshop, in Year Two, were particularly inspiring when conceiving this specific exhibition.

It has sharpened my way of thinking and envisioning, deepened my knowledge of art, awakened my feminist and political consciousness and opened my academic interests to subjects that I would have perhaps not approached otherwise. It has anchored my practice in the present, encouraging me to consider more contemporary, pressing issues.

I would advise current students to apply to all the amazing side-project opportunities that are offered through the course. For some reason there are some I did not apply to, and I now regret these missed opportunities. I recommend reaching out and meeting the other MFA students and the different communities and research centres of the university but also in the London art communities at large. I remember meeting the people from the Forensic Architecture centre, whose research was fascinating. I recommend taking the opportunity to experiment, test out ideas and read as much as possible. Because once you start working you don’t have time to delve as deep. I would recommend this programme for students that have a particular project they want to carry out. The course will give you the perfect framework and all the tools to bring it to fruition."

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