Course Syllabus

Curating in Europe

DIS logo.jpg  

Curating in Europe image.png

Semester & Location:

Spring 2023 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Exploration Elective Course - 3 credits

Mandatory Study Tour:


Major Disciplines:

Art History, Media Studies, Photography



Faculty Members:

Natalia Gutman (current students please use the Canvas Inbox)

Time & Place:

Tuesday 13:15 - 16:10 , N7-C21 (Nørregade 7, staircase C)


Description of Course

Explore the contemporary art scene in Copenhagen and Europe through this explorational course on curating today. How do you work with artists, funders, partners, communicators, and technical teams to bring exhibitions to targeted audiences? What is the role of exhibitions in today's cultural landscape? Independent artists and institutions constantly push the boundaries of what an exhibition can be. At the same time, museums produce blockbuster shows attracting massive audiences and raising the tourist potential of European cities. Discover the changing roles of curators and arts organizations today as you learn the crafts of curating and arts management in this course. Dive into the historical origins and milestones of curating while engaging in debates on norms of representation and presentation.

Since the 1960s, curators have moved from an organizer role behind-the-scenes to taking on a visible position in contemporary culture as important producers. Curators or curatorial theorists whose work we can consider could include: Lawrence Alloway, Lucy Steeds, Okwui Enwezor, Nora Sternfeld, Claire Bishop, Hans Ulrich Olbrist, Tone Olaf Nielsen, and Harald Szeemann.

On site visits in Copenhagen and on a three-day study tour in Berlin we will learn from artists and curators in their environments to understand the dynamics of art production and exhibition-making today. With your fellow students, you will showcase your acquired skills in art appreciation and curating as an exhibition proposal is your final assignment.



Natalia Gutman
Mag. art. Art History, KU, 2008. Independent curator.


Office Hours

Preferably before class


Learning Objectives

By the end of this course you will be able to:     

  • Understand the curator's role in the cultural and economic ecosystem of the arts
  • Analyze and critically assess works of art by a diverse selection of artists
  • Form a working understanding of processes involved in exhibition making in a variety of contexts
  • Understand the broader role of art production and exhibition making in contemporary society
  • Collaborate with artists and communicate with targeted audiences

Reference Reading 

·       O'Neill, Paul, Culture of Curating and the Curating of Culture(s), MIT Press (2012)

·       George, Adrian, The Curator's Handbook, Thames & Hudson (2015)

·       Marincola, Paula, What Makes a Great Exhibition?, Reaktion Books (2007)

·       Bishop, Claire, Radical Museology, Walther König Verlag (2013) 

·       Smith, Terry & Fowle, Kate, Thinking Contemporary Curating, Independent Curators International (2012)



Course Evaluation



Revised exhibition proposal (2-3 pages)


Final exhibition proposal (4-5 pages)


Presentation of exhibition proposal


Active class participation (includes informed questions for curators we meet with)


Berlin assignment and presentation


To be eligible for a passing grade in this class you must complete all of the assigned work.


Disability and Resource Statement

Any student who has a need for accommodation based on the impact of a disability should immediately contact Office of Academic Support ( to coordinate this. In order to receive accommodations, students should inform the instructor of approved DIS accommodations.


Study Tour

For our study tour we will travel to Berlin, one of the most exciting contemporary art scenes today. Exploring both Berlin and Copenhagen throughout the course, we will visit artists in their studios, freelance curators working on up-coming exhibition projects, and curators of museums and art centers to understand the mechanisms of exhibition production today. Examples of institutional visits can include the Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen Contemporary, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, and Kunsthall Charlottenborg, in Copenhagen, and, in Berlin, Sammlung Boros, König Galerie, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, among others.

Please note that because this is an explorative elective course with a high number of excursions, there are no field studies.


Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on:


DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -

Course Summary:

Date Details Due