Jerwood Curatorial Accelerator (JCA) is a pioneering programme to support curatorial and leadership development for UK-based visual arts curators from working class/low socio-economic backgrounds. The 12-month cohort-based learning and mentoring programme runs from July 2022 to July 2023 in partnership with eight visual arts organisations across the UK. The programme supports exceptional early-career curators from underrepresented backgrounds to develop new networks, skills and knowledge, enabling them to lead and impact the future of the visual arts sector.
There is a dearth of specific research into socio-economic backgrounds of curators, but what there is suggests the level of diversity of UK-based curators is very low: only 21% of museums and gallery staff are from working class/low socio-economic backgrounds and there is a lack of ethnic diversity and underrepresentation of disabled people and women in senior leadership roles across the visual arts sector*. JCA responds to the need to address this, acknowledging the role of curators as ‘gate keepers’ to the diversity and breadth of art that is programmed and visible publicly.
JCA is focused around eight two-day residential training and networking intensives taking place in different locations. Each one is led by a Host visual arts organisation, giving JCA Fellows access to innovative approaches to practice and place, and helping them develop their research, networks and knowledge of visual arts practice in the UK.
The Host visits are complemented by an online programme of skills-development workshops and talks co-created with the JCA Fellows, alongside individual mentoring. The training and development focuses on expanding the curators’ knowledge in key professional areas as well as their individual vision, leadership voice and critical curatorial thinking.
The Hosts represent a wide breadth of approaches to curatorial practice and place, as well as organisations of different scales, type, and location. Together they make up a network of institutions across the country committed to increased diversity in curatorial practice who will share research, knowledge and ideas to continue improving access to curatorial roles. They are Centre for Contemporary Art, Derry~Londonderry, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, Peak Cymru, Somerset House, Turner Contemporary and Yorkshire Sculpture International, with eighth Host to be chosen by JCA Fellows.
In spring 2022 Jerwood Arts received over 180 applications from all over the UK to a national call for entries and nomination process for JCA. Eleven inaugural JCA Fellows were selected through this process and you can find out more about their curatorial practices below.
The JCA Fellows are Aimee Harrison, Aliyah Hasinah, Ben Urban, Candice Nembhard, Cecelia Graham, David Cleary, Dhelia Snoussi, Georgina Johnson, Katherine Murphy, Lee Cutter and Thomas Wells.
Jerwood Curatorial Accelerator (JCA) is designed and delivered by Jerwood Arts, with funding from Arts Council England’s Transforming Leadership Fund and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, and Art Fund support. Host partners include Centre for Contemporary Art, Derry ̴Londonderry, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, Peak Cymru, Somerset House, Turner Contemporary and Yorkshire Sculpture International. The programme has specialist support from people make it work, Dr Dave O’Brien and Annabel Jackson Associates Ltd.
Find out more about the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme.
*Source: Brook, O., O’Brien, D. and Taylor, M. (2018) Panic: Social class, taste and inequality in the creative industries.