Biung Ismahasan

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MA CPRD is a trans-disciplinary programme that addresses the field not only through theory and practice of cul

I belong to the Bunun Tribe of Taiwanese Indigenous peoples. I am a freelance curator bringing Taiwanese Indigenous contemporary art to the international stage. I chose MA CPRD because I had a strong ambition to learn how to utilise practical strategies of art diplomacy to promote the cultural significance of Taiwan’s Indigenous arts and culture, through exhibitions and alternative artistic spaces.

In autumn term, I took ‘Cultural Relations and Diplomacy’ and it expanded my theoretical knowledge and terminologies of cultural relations and diplomacy. Most valuably, it provided plenty of opportunities for students to participate in conferences and meet cultural practitioners in London, for instance, EUNIC London and the Foreign Cultural Embassy. 

In spring term, I took ‘Spaces of Practice’, and it developed my innovative curatorial strategies for contemporary and community art practices. It was an intensive and valuable experience which allowed me to engage with the curators and artists at The Whitechapel Gallery, The Showroom, South London Gallery and the Centre for Arts and Learning. For me, it built a set of strategies for contemporary curatorial practices and critical thinking, allowing me to explore how curatorial & spatial practice can be used as institutive tools to interfere with the key issues of participatory& performative art, and foster aesthetic education in indigenous communities.

Currently, I am studying for my PhD in Curating at the University of Essex. My research topic is “Curating the Performative Space: Exploring the Strategies and Trajectories for a Critical Indigenous Curatorial Practice of Taiwan” - which particularly emphasises the issues of participation, performativity, and the historiography of indigenous curation and exhibition design.