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Miranda Johnson

I wanted to study the MA in Contemporary Art Theory because the lecturers all came from diverse research backgrounds.

Main details

Year graduated 2015
Department Visual Cultures
Occupation Curator
Country Australia

I had a wonderful time at Goldsmiths. I wanted to study the MA in Contemporary Art Theory because the lecturers all came from diverse research backgrounds, whilst other MA degrees in Art Theory mostly came from Art History backgrounds only. I was not disappointed - and felt that the course options were all incredibly rich and varied, and able to be tailored to students' specific research interests whilst also demonstrating the broad range of research approaches from the lecturers.

I met some life-long friends whilst studying as the courses were also small enough for students to get to know each other and the teaching styles encouraged students to collaborate and discuss the course materials and their own interests with one another, both in the classes and out.

One of my favourite things about the Department of Visual Cultures was the public programming lecture series that was held every week during teaching. It was open to the public or students from other departments, and allowed me to experience a wide range of lectures, performances and talks from academics, artists, and other speakers from outside Goldsmiths.

I loved the green spaces nearby - especially reading my book in Telegraph Hill or wandering through Nunhead Cemetery.

I am currently partway through a 3-year Curatorial Fellowship at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, in Boorloo (Perth), on Whadjuk Noongar land, also known as Perth, Australia. In my role I work with the Curator researching and curating exhibitions and supporting artist residencies. My particular focus is the Hatched: National Graduate Show, an annual exhibition of leading artists who have recently graduated from art schools across Australia. I curate the exhibition and support the artists in this important professional development experience, often their first experience working with an arts institution. My experience at Goldsmiths is incredibly valuable to this as I have formed ongoing connections with lecturers and other academics from these art schools to coordinate the exhibition, which requires a good understanding of current concerns and/or priorities within the academy. I also have the opportunity to speak with and host classes for undergraduate students in fine art and curating within the gallery, which is something I particularly enjoy. It's also important to me to remember what it felt like to be an art student venturing into the unknown world of art galleries, particularly institutions, and how intimidating this could be. In my work I always try to approach curating and working with artists, particularly those at the beginning of their careers, with care and genuine support.

Since returning to Perth after my Goldsmiths degree I also started an artist-run space with a group of peers, named Cool Change Contemporary, and am the current Chairperson. Over the past two years we have received funding from the Australia Council for the Arts to offer free exhibition spaces for artists, and have recently collaborated with Perth Festival for an exhibition in their 2021 program.

When my Fellowship ends I hope to continue working as a curator, although I would like to spend some time working independently, outside institutions.

I hope to be able to travel outside Western Australia again, as currently our government has banned travel beyond our state borders with no set date for opening up. In the meantime I am spending time bushwalking, swimming in the ocean, and contemplating how lucky I am to live on this country, which always was and always will be Aboriginal land.

I would advise current students to make the most of everything that's on offer for you. Public programs, auditing classes, social events, and so on. There is so much to studying beyond simply attending your own classes.

Speak with your peers about your research. Go to the pub or a cafe and discuss what you're reading, ideas you might have, or things you don't understand.

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