Persilia Caton

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"My overall experience on the programme was very positive, and what I had anticipated and wanted."

"I chose Goldsmiths because I knew it emphasised independent study and it had a 60/40 split between theory and practice, whereas many other courses were 50/50. As a mature student who had already worked for over a decade in the contemporary curatorial field my main priority was research time and access to critical thinking across the different MFA programmes - including studio and art writing. With a focus on critical theory Goldsmiths provided opportunities for me to challenge and expand my knowledge.

My overall experience on the programme was very positive, and what I had anticipated and wanted. The access to the many thinkers was invaluable, from fellow students to visiting lecturers. I particularly appreciated being part of the MFA programme and situated alongside artists and writers. This network was vital and continues to be as an alumnae.

After graduating, I joined The Photographers’ Gallery in London as Curator of Public Programmes in 2014 and then became the Exhibitions Curator at SPACE, with a focus on artist commissions (2015 – present). Currently I’m also curating the live programme for Misbehaving Bodies: Jo Spence & Oreet Ashery at Wellcome Collection, London, expanding my research of forms of care and testing the format of the workshop to support artistic practice and audience engagement. I have also been writing for artists as well as doing freelance criticism.

The course was an important step for me in my career, a moment to pause the logistics-heavy aspect that work demands in order to spend more time with research. This reflection time gave me a better understanding of what type of curator I want to be, and how to position myself.

Future MFA Curating students: Maximise the resources available to expand your research and projects. Participate in PhD reading groups, Monday lectures, tutorials, and studio visits with MFA artists. This time is fundamental to creating a body of research that you will most certainly draw on in the future, likely for longer than you imagine."