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Judith Winter

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 1990s 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, Its Burning Everywhere, Camilla Lw: Straight Letters; Johanna Billing: Keep on Doing; Matthew Buckingham: Play the Story. These projects respond in diverse ways to the fluidity of contemporary 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. Her research emerges through conversation with artists and critical others 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 djVu 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 relevant across the arts and humanities. She is continuing to develop this research in association with the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, Germany.


A selection of recent research outputs.


Winter, J., Paterson, T., 2015. Thresholds, Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres, Scotland, 30/7/2015 - 30/8/2015.


Archer, M., Lowndes, S., 2008. 'Camilla Lw: Straight Letters'.

Book Chapters

Winter, J., Harkness, R., Simonetti, C., 2017. 'Concretes Speak: A Play in One Act'. In Future Remains A Cabinet of Curiosities for the Anthropocene, University of Chicago Press.

Journal Articles

Harkness, R., Simonetti, C., Winter, J., 2015. 'Liquid Rock: Gathering, Flattening, Curing', Parallax, 21 (3), pp. 309-326.