Contextualising Practice, Fine Art, Art History & Curating and Unit X
Judith Winter is a curator, writer and senior lecturer at Manchester School of Art. Her current research focuses on critical curation, art school pedagogy and ways of working that traverse disciplinary boundaries. She studied sculpture at Central/St Martins School of Art and Sculpture Studies at University of Leeds. Since the 1990’s she has been a leading arts professional working both within and beyond the gallery context, most notably as Inaugural curator for Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima) and Head of Arts for Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA). Her work was critically recognized in 2007 when she received a Foundation for Arts Initiatives International Curators Award (FfAI) for her approach to curation that is both responsive to artist, process and site.
As Head of Arts at DCA (Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland) she created a challenging artist-led programme that included solo exhibitions, publications and associated events with artists of international reputation including: Thomas Hirschhorn, It’s Burning Everywhere, Camilla Løw: Straight Letters; Johanna Billing: Keep on Doing; Matthew Buckingham: Play the Story and who respond in diverse ways to the fluidity of life, our ongoing navigation of modernity and relationship between past, present and future. Her integrated approach to exhibition making is informed through her formative experiences at Riverside Studios and Lisson Gallery, London. This way of working emerges through conversation with artists, triggered by specific sites and situations. As such the process, which is largely improvisational and intuitive and most often artist-led, challenges institutional frameworks. This was an aspiration for the DCA 10th Anniversary programme and is most clearly demonstrated through the exhibition Martin Boyce: No Reflections for Scotland + Venice at the 53rd Venice Biennale and the ambitious exhibition déjàVu with the artist Manfred Pernice and the curators Mike Stanley (1975 – 2012) Modern Art Oxford, Frank Maes, SMAK Gent.
Since 2013, she has working as part of the research community: Knowing from the Inside (KFI), a 5-year initiative funded by a European Research Council Advanced Grant held by Professor Tim Ingold, University of Aberdeen. KFI explores the conjunctions between the arts and anthropology. Its fundamental premise is that knowledge is not created through an encounter between minds furnished with concepts and theories, and a material world already populated with objects, but grows from the crucible of our practical and observational engagement with the world around us. This period of experimental engagement with colleagues and associates across disciplinary boundaries, continues to open up ways of working that are sensitive to the ephemeral qualities of works-in-progress that draw on experiences both within and beyond the gallery. This has led to the current collaborative work focused again on learning with materials and process and the formation of PhD thesis that revisits an abiding interest in art school pedagogy. By listening again to Bauhaus as a crucible of modern pedagogic experiment that focused on learning with materials and honing perceptual and haptic acuity, the work spotlights the approaches to learning that have shaped the modern world (social, educational, environmental) and reveals the anthropological foundations of modern art school education. The work is formed as a journey and follows how the school’s ethos continued to migrate after it was forced to close in Germany in 1933. The project titled: Un-learning with the Bauhaus: searching for the substance of art school is part of an ongoing itinerant practice that will be presented at the School Fundamental, Bauhaus Foundation, Dessau 2019
A selection of recent research outputs.
Reilly, JM., 2017. 'Concretes Speak'. In Future Remains: A Cabinet of Curiosities for the Anthropocene.
Winter, J., Simonetti, C., Harkness, R., 2016. 'Concretes Speak'. In Future Remains: A Cabinet of Curiosities for the Anthropocene, University of Chicago Press.
Harkness, R., Simonetti, C., Reilly, JM., 2015. ''Liquid Rock: Gathering, Flattening, Curing', Parallax.