Jerwood Curatorial Accelerator
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Jerwood Curatorial Accelerator. Design: Pavitt & Pavitt 2021.

Jerwood Curatorial Accelerator

A 12-month curatorial and leadership development programme for early-career curators from working class/low socio-economic backgrounds.

Jerwood Curatorial Accelerator (JCA) is a new programme to support curatorial and leadership development for UK-based visual arts curators from working class/low socio-economic backgrounds. Through a 12-month cohort-based learning and mentoring programme, curators will develop new networks, skills and knowledge to enable 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, disabled and women in senior leadership roles across the visual arts sector*. This programme 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 across the UK. Each one is built around a Host arts organisation who will support wider engagement with artists, curators, art leaders and arts organisations locally. Across the 12-months this is complemented by an online programme of workshops and talks co-created with the JCA Fellows, alongside individual mentoring.

The Host organisations include:

The Hosts have been appointed to offer the JCA Fellows access to a wide breadth of approaches to curatorial practice and place, as well as organisations of different scales, type, and location. The eighth host will be chosen by the selected JCA Fellows.

Each Host organisation will be supported to create a two-day programme of engagement with the JCA Fellows, to introduce them to their work, networks, and communities. Hosts will also develop a network of organisations across the UK, committed to increased diversity in curatorial practice who will share research, knowledge, and ideas, to continue improving access to curatorial roles.

The programme will support ten early-career curators from working class/low socio-economic backgrounds who have overcome barriers already to be working in the arts. There is no educational eligibility requirement, and we encourage both those with an independent or institutional employed curatorial practice as their main role, or those who curate as part of a second or freelance role they support by other employment.

Applications for Jerwood Curatorial Accelerator are now closed. The deadline for applications was 5pm, Tuesday 3 May 2022. 


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

Read the JCA application guidance here.

Watch the recording of an online event discussing curatorial careers and frequently asked questions about JCA here.

Find out more about the host organisations here.

Sign up to our newsletter for future updates here.

Find out more about the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme here.


*Source: Brook, O., O’Brien, D. and Taylor, M. (2018) Panic: Social class, taste and inequality in the creative industries.