Janna Graham is a practice-based researcher who has worked in the field of the curatorial for nearly twenty years, occupying long term positions at institutions such as Whitechapel, Serpentine Galleries (London), the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Nottingham Contemporary (Nottingham) and developing projects for Plymouth Arts Centre, Project Arts Centre (Dublin) Vanabbemusum (Netherlands), the New Museum (New York) and documenta (Kassel) among others. A key figure in what has been termed ‘the educational turn’ in curating, she has developed exhibitions, residencies, research and writing at the intersection of art and contemporary social urgencies including the struggles around migration, gentrification, education, anti-racism and indigeneity. From 2008-13 Graham was initiator and curator of the Centre For Possible Studies, an offsite curatorial programme of Serpentine Galleries that included artistic residencies and research projects in London’s Edgware Road neighbourhood; exhibitions at Serpentine Galleries (On The Edgware Road, 2011; Bidoun Library, 2012; Re-Assembly, 2013); and publications including ‘On the Edgware Road’, (2011) and ’Art + Care: A Future’(2013) and Studies on a Road, (2016).
Phd, Goldsmiths Curatorial Knowledge (near completion)
MA Cultural Studies/Social History of Art, University of Leeds
BAH Geography, Queen’s University, Kingston Ontario Canada
From 2014-16 Graham was Head of Public Programmes and Research at Nottingham Contemporary, guiding an innovative partnership between Nottingham Contemporary, University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University to support students through taught on modules and placement programmes at the undergraduate, MA and Phd level.
In 2013/14 she was external supervisor on the MA in Curatorial Studies at Bard College, New York.
In 2012 she was co-Convenor of the MA in Aural and Visual Culture, Goldsmiths University with Mark Fisher and from 2006-8 she was a Visiting Tutor, Goldsmiths on the BA in Art History and Joint Honours Art History / Fine Art programmes.
In addition to work at the university level, she has developed programmes in secondary schools, involving students and teachers in the development of curricula and course work at the intersection of art, curatorial practice and critical theory.
Area of supervision
I am currently external supervisor of a practice-based Phd exploring the intersections of artistic practice, feminist research and radical adult education and am on the supervisory team of a project on histories of community arts in relation to contemporary curatorial practices.
I would welcome projects on the topics of Curating in the Expanded Field (public art, socially engaged art, dialogic art, the pedagogical turn in Art, feminist curatorial strategies); Art and Activism, Art and Community Organising; Community Art; Art, Pedagogy and Radical Research;Leaving Art; Art and Labour; Micropolitics and theoretical work on education theory or thinkers including Paulo Virno, Suely Rolnik, Brian Holmes, Felix Guattari.
Founding Member, Another Roadmap for Arts Education Network and School
2007 - present
Founding Member, Micropolitics Research Group
Member, Radical Education Forum
Advisor, Maybe Education Group, Documenta13
Board Member, the Otolith Group
Graham, J. Graziano, V. & Kelly, S. (2016, in press). Art and education: Rewriting the hidden curriculum. Performance Research 21(6).
Graham, J. (2016. in press) ‘Para-sites Like Us Part I, What is the Parasitic Tendency?’. Andamios Social Research Journal, 1(24) re-published from Six Degrees Online Residency and Publishing Platform. New York: New Museum. http://www.newmuseum.org/blog/view/para-sites-like-us-what-is-this-para-sitic-tendency
Graham, J. (2016, in press). Techniques for living otherwise: Curating, education and social reproduction in Creativity Exercises. Leipzig: StiftungGalerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst.
Co-Investigator, AHRC funded project Conflict Memory Displacement:
Responding to the refugee crisis in the UK and Italy http://conflictmemorydisplacement.com/author/cmdadmin/
Co-Curator, ‘A Work in Contradictions: The Open Brief and Incidental Person Revisited’ symposium on the contemporary relevance of the Artist Placement Group (Berlin, 2015) and researcher for ‘Context is Half the Work’ travelling exhibition on the work of the Artist Placement Group (Berlin/Edinburgh)
Another Roadmap for Arts Education International Meeting, Sao Paulo Biennial October, 2016
In the past I have engaged in a number of amateur cultural pursuits including singing and playing various instruments in the the now defunct band neo-liberalism study group Chicago Boys: While we were singing, they were dreaming and performing with Implicated Theatre.
Grants and Awards
2016 AHRC PACCS (Researcher)
2006 Commonwealth Scholarship (Doctoral Award)
1998 Rotary International Scholarship
Operating between curatorial practice and experimental education and research, Janna Graham’s work theorises and actualises the possibilities and blockages that result from encounters between art and contemporary conditions. This interrogation of the contemporary is informed by alternative genealogies for the curatorial, through an engagement with archives of emancipatory education, anti-colonial cultural production and radical research.
Graham is a member of the 12 person international sound art collective, Ultra-red, developing major sound projects in community and gallery contexts.
Publications and research outputs
Kelly, Susan and Graham, Janna, eds. 2017. Training for Exploitation?: Politicising Employability and Reclaiming Education by Precarious Workers Brigade. Foreword: Silvia Federici. London: Journal of Aesthetics & Protest Press. ISBN 9780615590110
Graham, Janna. 2020. ‘Techniques for Living Otherwise’: Naming, Composing and Instituting Otherwise. In: Marina Garcés; Janna Graham; val flores; Concha Fernández Martorell and Jordi Solé Blanch, eds. Pedagogías y emancipación. Barcelona: Arcadia MACBA, pp. 49-77. ISBN 9788494992476
Graham, Janna. 2017. Grammars of the Possible: Moving Beyond Binaries of Representation and Non-Representation in Gallery Education. In: Carmen Mörsch; Sigrid Schade and Sophie Vögele, eds. Representing Art Education: On the Representation of Pedagogical Work in the Art Field: . Vienna: Zaglossus, pp. 369-408. ISBN 9783902902580
Graham, Janna. 2016. The Anatomy of an AND. In: Carmen Mörsch; Angeli Sachs and Thomas Sieber, eds. Contemporary Curating and Museum Education. Bielefeld: transcript-Verlag, pp. 187-202. ISBN 9783837630800
Graham, Janna and Papadopoulos, Dimitris. 2023. Organizing the precarious: Autonomous work, real democracy and ecological precarity. Organization, 30(4), pp. 649-667. ISSN 1350-5084
Mpondaa, Victoria and Graham, Janna. 2022. Azamba publics: containment, care and curating in the “expanded private sphere”. Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, 14(1), 2063704. ISSN 2000-4214
Hamza, Husseina; Jacca, Joyce; Jarrett, Tracey and Graham, Janna. 2021. Instituting and Organising “From the Pockets”: A Field Report from a Museum in the Making. On Curating(52), pp. 71-83. ISSN 2673-2955
Faramelli, Anthony and Graham, Janna. 2020. From Distant Horizon to the ‘Uncoercive Rearrangement of Desire’: Institutional Pedagogy and Collaborative Learning in an Instance of Arts and Curatorial Education. International Journal of Art & Design Education, 39(4), pp. 841-854. ISSN 1476-8062
Graham, Janna. 2018. ‘Where are we when we think?’ Space, time and emancipatory education in galleries. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 37(1), pp. 21-39. ISSN 0260-1370
Graham, Janna. 2017. ‘A strong curatorial vision for the neighbourhood’: Countering the diplomatic condition of the arts in urban neighbourhoods. Art & the Public Sphere, 6(1-2), pp. 33-49. ISSN 2042-793X
Graham, Janna. 2017. Dos relatos sobre un «nosotros» Malestar en las fronteras entre arte, educación e investigación. Errata: Revista de Artes Visuales(16), pp. 168-175. ISSN 2145-6399
Graham, Janna; Graziano, Valeria and Kelly, Susan. 2016. The Educational Turn in Art : Rewriting the hidden curriculum. Performance Research, 21(6), pp. 29-35. ISSN 1352-8165
Graham, Janna. 2018. Thinking with Conditions: from Public Programming to Radical Pedagogy in and Beyond Contemporary Art. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London