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 low socio-economic backgrounds.

Jerwood Curatorial Accelerator is a new pilot scheme to support curatorial and leadership development for UK-based visual arts curators from 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 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.

Jerwood Curatorial Accelerator 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 Accelerator Fellows, alongside individual mentoring.

The programme will support ten early-career curators from 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. Accelerator Fellows will be selected by a focused open call via Jerwood Arts and host organisations networks launching in Spring 2022.

Jerwood Curatorial Accelerator is funded by Arts Council England and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation with support from Art Fund. It is part of Arts Council England’s Transforming Leadership Programme, through which Jerwood Arts is also delivering the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme and Alumni Fund 2020-22.

If you are an arts organisation with a shared interest in supporting increased diversity and inclusion in curatorial practice and would like to discuss being part of this pilot programme please contact Harriet Cooper, Head of Visual Arts.


Find out more

Read the press release here.

Read our news story about Jerwood Curatorial Accelerator 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.