Skip to content
Arnolfini - est 1961

An international conference exploring new directions in public art collecting. This event is BSL interpreted.

Launch Night with Keynote: Thursday 23 June, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, 6-9pm  
Conference: Friday 24 June, 10am – 6pm, Arnolfini. Registration from 9am. This event is BSL interpreted.

Exclusive Offer – Courtesy of Art Fund there are a limited amount of half-price tickets available to Bristol citizens for this unique international event.  Contact Box Office before 6pm on 22 June quoting your BS or BA postcode for a half-price ticket. 

Leading British and international experts, museum directors, academic scholars, artists and curators – some speaking to Bristol audiences for the first time – will convene in Bristol to explore the trends and challenges in developing international public art collections in the twenty-first century as well as reflecting themes in Arnolfini’s current exhibition Art from Elsewhere. The conference specifically aims to bring new knowledge and dialogue around the role of Public Art collections to Bristol.

  • Who gets to decide what a public art collection is or could be?
  • How do the public contribute to shaping collecting strategy and decisions?
  • Are artists doing enough to antagonise and shape institutional collecting?
  • Where does investment in Public Art collections come from at a time of restricted public spending?
  • Is there still a pivotal role for Galleries and Museums to educate public through art in a highly digital world?
  • How do emerging economies and their Diasporas have an equal share of voice in shaping the global discussion around the cultural ecology of collecting in a world that is becoming increasingly diverse?

Add your voice to the debate and engage with some of the key international influencers in today’s Contemporary Art arena.

Driven by the necessity of addressing critical challenges around globalisation in art, and responding to the Art Fund International scheme, this ambitious international conference will investigate new directions in collecting. Bringing together a unique collection of presentations, performances, discussion, case studies, lectures and film, the conference will explore the key ideas, approaches and positions informing the shape of our public collections and institutions.

The conference will open on the evening of 23 June with a keynote lecture by Gerardo Mosquera, one of Latin America’s most prominent art curators, addressing the challenges facing museums and public collections coping with the increasing internationalisation of art’s production and circulation.

Tickets inc. Launch Night and Conference. 



Thursday 23 June


Main Foyer, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

6pm – 9pm


The conference opens with a keynote lecture by Gerardo Mosquera, one of Latin America’s most prominent art curators, addressing the challenges facing museums and public collections coping with the increasing internationalisation of art’s production and circulation.


6pm                 Registration and drinks (paybar)

6:30-6:40pm  Screening:

                         Shahzia Sikander

The Last Post, Pakistan, 2010

Colour animation with sound, 10 mins

6:50pm           Welcome and Introduction

                        Laura Pye, Head, Bristol Culture; and Kate Brindley, Director, Arnolfini

7pm                 Keynote lecture

Gerardo Mosquera

7:50pm            Audience Q&A

8:30pm            Ends


Friday 24 June



Auditorium, Arnolfini

10am – 7pm               

We are offering a 10% discount for all delegates in our Café/Bar with a conference ticket


From 9am                 Registration    

                                   Reception/Box Office, Gallery and Café/Bar open

10 – 10:15am             Intro and Welcome:                                                                   

David Elliott and Kate Brindley

10:15 – 11:45am        Session 1:                                                                             

The Museum and its Public –Global vs Local, Particularities and Equality

Case studies & presentations with discussion chaired by David Elliott

Ruth Noack, Jarosław Suchan, Vasif Kortun


11:45am – 12pm         Break 


12– 1:30pm                 Session 2:                                                                            

Art Fund International and Beyond – Collecting from Elsewhere

Panel discussion chaired by Kate Brindley

Julia Carver, Sarah Philp, Kirstie Skinner, Roger Malbert, Mark Sealy


1:30 – 2:30pm             Lunch                                                                                          

 1:45 – 2:30pm             Lunch film screenings (optional)                                             

See below for programme details


2:30 – 4pm                  Session 3:                                                                             

Perspectives: Dealing with Globalism and Responsibility– Institutions,   Artists and Audiences

Presentations and panel discussion chaired by Stephen Wright

Elise Atangana, Laura Barlow, Nav Haq, Melanie Jackson

4 – 4:30pm                  Break                         

4:30 – 4:45pm              Presentation                                                                              

Kate Rich: The feral trade project in the context of collecting         

4:45 – 5:15                  Closing address and responses:                                

David Elliott and Kate Brindley to moderate responses from selected panellists

5:15 – 7pm                 Screening:

                                    Akram Zaatari:                                                         

Twenty-Eight Nights and a Poem, Lebanon / France, 2015

Colour, sound, 105 minutes, Arabic with English subtitles

This striking visual essay continues Lebanese artist Akram Zaatari’s ongoing engagement with the work of photographer Hashem el Madani, who ran a commercial studio for five decades in southern Lebanon. After spending years photographing people in front of their shops, in public squares or at the beach, el Madani opened the studio in response to his community’s desire to appear before the camera. Moving between el Madani’s studio in Saïda and the Arab Image Foundation – an image archive in Beirut now housing the majority of el Madani’s photographic collection – the film examines the changing sites, status and function of photographic practice and preservation though various analogue and digital media.



Gerardo MosqueraHow Global? Too much, yet not enough?

Based on my own practical and problematic experience as a sort of “Southern global curator”, my lecture will discuss some limits to true global circulation and legitimation of art. It will examine the process of internationalization of art since the mid-1980s, the appearance of new artistic postcolonial subjects around the world, and their dynamic rewriting of an international language of contemporary art imposed by the western mainstream. The lecture will comment on the growing and ambiguous role of private collecting that has led to an “Art Fair Age”, and the challenges to museums and public collections. It will debate two concrete examples of affirmative “global” actions by hegemonic museums and institutions, delving into the need for more decentralized museum procedures capable of responding to the explosion of local contemporary art practices throughout the world, and their complex interaction with global markets, circuits and collections.


FILM SCREENINGS (during lunch break)


Andrea Fraser

Little Frank and His Carp, 2001

Single channel colour video, colour, audio track, 6 minutes

Little Frank and His Carp is a single channel video featuring the artist walking around the atrium of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao listening to the institution’s official audio guide. Shot with five hidden cameras (and without the prior knowledge or permission of the Museum), Fraser is depicted from varying angles and proximities as she follows the audio guide’s instructions, her emotions visibly changing (in an exaggerated fashion that suggests satirical intent) in response to the material she hears.


Bahman Maghsoudlou

Ardeshir Mohasses & His Caricatures, 1972

Black and white, sound, 20 minutes

This was the first film ever made about Ardeshir Mohasses, (1938-2008) the acclaimed caricaturist from Iran, featuring rare footage of the Iranian artist in his studio in Iran before his self-exile in New York which was to last over thirty years. It remained the only film about Mohasses, until 2012 when Maghsoudlou made a sequel. Maghsoudlou shot the film by visiting his friend with a camera and merely filming the artist’s activities for a few hours one afternoon.


Peggy Ahwesh

Beirut Outtakes, 2007

Colour, sound, 7:30 minutes

Composed entirely of film scraps salvaged from a closed Beirut cinema, Beirut Outtakes is a collage of sensational visions, ‘tailor-made for Ahwesh’s career obsessions, pre-filled with her signature elements: gleeful disruptions of high and low, affection for decayed textures, a peeping eye for lurid sexuality, and a fascination with unlikely images of the Middle East.’

– Ed Halter, Village Voice.

Oskar Dawicki

Home Shopping, 2007

Colour, sound, 7:54 minutes

In Home Shopping Dawicki taps into the strategy based on questioning the field of art and the status of the artist through their direct entanglement in the reality of advertising, appearing as somewhat of a desacralisation of art. Borrowing from the format of home shopping, whose essence consists in convincing demonstrations of the array of the product’s qualities, the artist offers here a painting by Rafał Bujnowski at a bargain price. Addressing the sphere of promotion and advertising unlocks reflection on the status of the work of art and the artist, as well as provides a pungent commentary on the art market.


About the Speakers 

Keynore speaker:

Gerardo Mosquera is an independent curator, art critic, historian and writer based in Havana and Madrid. He is advisor to the Rijksakademie van Beeldenden Kunsten, Amsterdam, and member of the advisory board of several international art centres and journals. He was co-founder of the Havana Biennial, curator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, Artistic Director for PHotoSpain, Madrid, and, very recently, for the 4th San Juan Poly/Graphic Triennial. He has curated biennials (including Liverpool International) and international exhibitions around the world. Author of numerous books and texts on contemporary art and art theory, his last book has appeared in Chinese in Beijing, where he is now co-curating the next edition of Documents for the Today Art Museum. He received the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1990.

Élise Atangana is a curator and producer based in Paris.   Her research focuses on the links between physical and virtual mobilities/immobilities (movement, representation, practice), and considers their relation with contemporary art practice. How can space be activated by the physical and virtual movement of individuals? How is artistic practice influenced by these new mobilities? How does the body find articulation within the modulation of the perception of space born out of virtuality, and what are the social and political implications of this? Her recent projects include Seven Hills for the Kampala Art Biennale 2016, Uganda, and Entry Prohibited to Foreigners at Havremagasinet, Sweden. She co-curated Producing the Common, the international exhibition of the 11th Dakar Biennale. She participated in the Delfina Foundation’s residency on art and the public domain in 2015, as a jury member of Artes Mundi 6, and as a nominator of the Artes Mundi 7 shortlist. 

Laura Barlow is Curator at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar, where she curates major exhibitions on artists from the collection, experimental Project Space shows, and public talks. Recent exhibitions include Hassan Sharif: Objects and Files, 2016; Saloua Raouda Choucair: The Meaning of One, The Meaning of the Multiple, 2015; Wael Shawky: Crusades and Other Stories, 2015, as assistant curator; and Manal AlDowayan: Crash, 2014. Her work is focused on artists’ invention of new forms and visual languages in relation to modern and contemporary life across continents. This looks at the circulation of ideas and forms within art movements and global histories, to pose new associations on art production and socio-political change. At e-flux, New York between 2010-2014, she organised exhibitions with Mariana Silva & Pedro Neves Marques, Khalil Rabah, Rossella Biscotti, and Hito Steyerl, and was managing editor of Art Agenda reviews from 2010-2012. Her writing appears in international art publications including ArteEast, Modern Painters, Paletten, and MAP.

Born in Sheffield, Kate Brindley has over 20 years’ experience in the visual arts and museums sector including being Head of Arts and Museums, for Wolverhampton where she led the RIBA award winning capital development of Wolverhampton Art Gallery. From 2005-2009 Kate was Director of Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives and lead for the South West Renaissance programme. Her achievements included developing M Shed, a £26million new museum, and the record-breaking Banksy V Bristol Museum exhibition 2009. Kate was Director of mima (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art) until March 2014 where she lead the visual arts programme and a significant governance change to University control. She is now CEO of the Arnolfini in Bristol. Since 2008 she has been one of only four national advisors for the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Art Funding Programme, including being the key advisor for the ‘Our Museums’ initiative and she chairs the national steering group. She is an Associate of the Museums Association and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Julia Carver began her museum career at Amgueddfa National Museum Wales in 2000 and has been at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery since 2005 where she works with the modern and contemporary art collections. Between 2007-2012 she led on the Art Fund International £1million collecting programme in partnership with Arnolfini acquiring key works by artists including Emily Jacir, Tala Madani, Shilpa Gupta, Walid Raad and Ai Weiwei, co-curating the survey show No Borders with Arnolfini’s director Tom Trevor in 2012. Julia has produced commissions from Mariele Neudecker, Alinah Azadeh and Rosa Nguyen, and John Wood and Paul Harrison and in 2015 with Do Ho Suh on New York City Apartment Corridor First Floor plus Ground Floor/Staircase/Bristol. She is developing the moving image collection for the museum and is currently working on a new commission with Katie Davies.

David Elliott is a curator of international status and experience. He was Director of the Museum of Modern Art Oxford from 1976 to 1996, of Stockholm’s Moderna Museet from 1996 – 2001, the founding director of the Mori Museum, Tokyo, from 2001-2006, and the first Director of Istanbul Modern, 2007. He was Artistic Director of the 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010), the 1st Kyiv International Biennial of Contemporary Art (2012), and the IV Moscow International Biennale of Young Art (2014), as well as numerous other institutions and exhibitions internationally. He is Chairman of the Board of Gasworks/Triangle, London, Chairman of the Advisory Board of MOMENTUM Berlin, and Visiting Professor in Museum Studies and Curatorship at the Chinese University in Hong Kong.

Nav Haq is Senior Curator at M HKA – Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, and is Curator of the Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art 2017. Haq’s research as a curator and writer lies at the meeting points of culture and politics, theory and practice. He has considered art’s internationalism, along with its relations to the ‘institution’ of art in the broadest sense of the term, seeking to rethink both. He was previously Curator at Arnolfini, Bristol, and Curator at Gasworks, London. Haq has curated numerous solo exhibitions with artists such as Hassan Khan, Cosima von Bonin, Shilpa Gupta, Kerry Tribe, Imogen Stidworthy, Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin, Alexandre Estrela and Otobong Nkanga. In 2012 he was a recipient of the Independent Vision Award for Curatorial Achievement, awarded by Independent Curators International, New York.

Melanie Jackson is an artist who inhabits different tropes of art making to interrogate possibilities of representation against the engaged practices of the world. She is interested in ways in which thought and affect is conducted through the material, and much of her work has explored this against the context of work, production and the flow of international capital. Jackson is currently investigating the relationships between nature and technology through a series of experiments with fauna and flora, and the technologies available to her. She is a lecturer at Slade School of Fine Art, her solo exhibitions include The Urpflanze (Part 1), The Drawing Room, London (2010), Road Angel, Arnolfini, Bristol (2007), Made In China, Matt’s Gallery, London (2005). She won the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2007 and was shortlisted for the Whitechapel Maxmara Award in 2010.

Vasif Kortun is a curator, writer and educator in the field of contemporary visual art, its institutions, and spatial practices. He is the founding director of Research & Programs of SALT, an interdisciplinary cultural institution based in Istanbul and Ankara with innovative programs and research based practices. A recipient of the Award for Curatorial Excellence from Bard College in 2006, Kortun was the founder of Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center, Proje4L, Istanbul Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Museum of the Center for Curatorial Studies. Kortun has worked on biennials including Taipei Biennale (2008) co Istanbul Biennial (2005) Sao Paulo Biennial (1998). Kortun also curated the UAE Pavilion for the Venice Biennale (2011), the Turkish Pavilion for the São Paulo Biennale (1994 and 1998) and the Venice Biennale in (2007).  He has written extensively on contemporary art and the cultural situation for publications and periodicals locally and internationally. He is one of the editors of VOTI: The Union of the Imaginary: a Curators’ Forum to be published in 2016 by König Books.

Roger Malbert is Head of Hayward Touring at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, London, where he is responsible for a programme of exhibitions including the British Art Show and Art From Elsewhere. He has written for The Independent, Times Literary Supplement, Art Newspaper and Modern Painters and is author of Drawing People: the Human Figure in Contemporary Art, Thames & Hudson, 2015.

Ruth Noack trained as a visual artist and art historian. She has worked as an author, art critic, university lecturer and exhibition maker since the 1990s. Curator of (d)ocumenta 12 (2007), other exhibitions include Scenes of a Theory (1995), Things We Don’t Understand (2000), The Government (2005) and Not Dressed for Conquering – Ines Doujak’s Loomshuttles/Warpaths (2012). Her Notes on Crisis, Currency and Consumption (2015) was the first of a series of ten essay-exhibitions on issues of contemporary life. Next will be Sleeping with a Vengeance − Dreaming of a Life and Fragments and Compounds. Head of the Curating Contemporary Art programme at the Royal College of Art, London (2012-13), she acted as Research Leader for the EU-project MeLa – European Museums in an Age of Migrations. Since 2015, she has been responsible for one of the Dutch Art Institute’s Roaming Academy trajectories. As well as articles and scholarly essays that have been published internationally, she has written Sanja Ivekovic: Triangle for Afterall Books, and Agency, Ambivalence, Analysis. Approaching the Museum with Migration in Mind for Mela Books (both 2013).

Sarah Philp is Director of Programmes for the Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for art. Her role encompasses the development and management of grant-making schemes and partnerships, including a portfolio of new initiatives which have extended the Art Fund’s support of museums beyond funding for acquisitions, to include grants for strategic collections development, curatorial research and training, and exhibition, touring and public engagement projects. She is also responsible for the work the Art Fund does placing gifts and bequests of works of art into museum collections, and for sector policy, advocacy and research. She is a Trustee of the Association of Art Historians, and a member of the Arts Advisory Committee for the Churches Conservation Trust.

Kate Rich is a trade artist and feral economist, born in Australia and living in Bristol, UK. She is co-founder of the Bureau of Inverse Technology (BIT), an international agency producing an array of critical information products. Since 2003 she has run Feral Trade, a grocery business and underground freight network forging new ‘wild’ trade routes across business, art and social interaction. Her work has been represented in the Whitney Biennial, Tate Modern, New York MoMA, Whitechapel Gallery and Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. She is volunteer finance manager at Bristol’s artist-run Cube Microplex; and a founding member of the European Sail Cargo Alliance. Her ongoing preoccupation is to move deeper into infrastructure of trade, administration, organisation and economy in the cultural realm.

Mark Sealy has a special interest in photography and its relationship to social change, identity politics, race, and human rights. Since 1991 as director of Autograph ABP (London) he has initiated the production of many artist publications, curated exhibitions, and commissioned photographers and filmmakers worldwide, including the recent critically acclaimed project Human Rights Human Wrongs exhibition. In 2002, he jointly initiated and developed a £7.96 million capital building project (Rivington Place), which opened in 2007 as the first new visual art space in London since the Hayward Gallery.  His most recent curated projects include the commissioning of The Unfinished Conversation Encoding Decoding, a  prize winning 2015 exhibition for the Power Plant in Toronto with film-works by several artists including Terry Adkins, John Akomfrah, and Steve McQueen; Human Rights Human Wrongs, curated for Ryerson Image Centre, Toronto, in 2013;  Roma-Sinti-Kale-Manush, a major 2013 group show examining the representation of Roma Communities; and a new 2014 commission and exhibition of Sammy Baloji’s photographic work. He is currently a PhD candidate at Durham University, School of Modern Languages. His research focuses on photography and cultural violence.

In 2013, Dr. Kirstie Skinner established Outset Scotland, a new chapter in Outset’s international network of philanthropic organisations. Prior to this, she devised education and curatorial professional development programmes for various institutions, including National Galleries of Scotland, Collective Gallery, Glasgow International, Scottish Arts Council, and Contemporary Art Society. As a researcher and educator, she taught for many years at the University of Edinburgh and at Edinburgh College of Art, where she also submitted her doctoral thesis Spectres of Minimalism, awarded in 2010. She is the founding editor of a new website on the subject of public collecting,

Jarosław Suchan is an art historian, critic and curator, who since 2006 has been the director of Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, Poland. As a curator or a co-curator he has organised numerous exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, including Máquina Tadeusz Kantor (SESC Consolaçao, Sao Paulo, 2015), Cezary Bodzianowski – This Place Is Called The Hole (Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, 2012), Pole, Jew, Artist – Identity and the Avant-Garde (Muzeum Sztuki, 2009), Katarzyna Kobro / Lygia Clark (Muzeum Sztuki, 2008), and At The Very Center of Attention (a year-long multiple-exhibition programme at CCA Ujazdowski Castle Warsaw 2005-2006). He is an author of many texts about modern and contemporary art, and editor or co-editor of the books about Tadeusz Kantor, Jerzy Grotowski, Władysław Strzemiński and Polish-Jewish Avant-garde.

Stephen Wright is a Paris-based art writer and teaches the practice of theory at the European School of Visual Arts (, where he is Academic Advisor to the Post-Graduate Research Program Documents and Contemporary Art. His writing has focused primarily on the politics of usership, particularly in contexts of collaborative, extradisciplinary practices with variable coefficients of art. His current research deals above all with the ongoing usological turn, and current forms of contemporary escapology, in the fields of art and epistemology, examining the conditions of possibility and use of practices which have deliberately withdrawn from the event horizon, necessitating a fundamental reconsideration and repurposing of the conceptual architecture and vocabulary inherited from modernity. In 2013, he published Toward a Lexicon of Usership. Currently on sabbatical, he shadow-curated Making Use at the Warsaw Museum of Contemporary Art (2016), and is preparing a book-length essay, Not, Not Art, on usership-oriented practices and a theoretical companion volume, Politics of Usership, both forthcoming in 2016. 

How Global? is generously supported by the Art Fund, to coincide with the presentation of Art from Elsewhere at Arnolfini and Bristol Museum & Art Gallery.

This event is part of the Art from Elsewhere programme