Nicole Smythe-Johnson to speak at Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts


The Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA)—located at 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3JD, Scotland, UK—will host a lunchtime talk with Jamaica-based artist Nicole Smythe-Johnson on Friday, January 27, 2017, at 12:30pm (the event is free but ticketed—see more information below). Nicole Smythe-Johnson is currently in Scotland conducting research as part of her Tilting Axis Curatorial Fellowship. [Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.]

Description (CCA): Nicole Smythe-Johnson will talk us through her research for this fellowship that looks at a broader frame of curatorial work, beyond the more commonly referenced connoiseurship and expertise. Her project proposes a definition that brings the work of Caribbean curators (even those who don’t claim the title) into focus. It looks at curatorial work in the Caribbean as the facilitation of an engagement with an experience of art for artists and publics.

Nicole Smythe-Johnson on her project: ‘The benefit of this shift is to grant legitimacy to the kind of curatorial work that is most relevant to the Caribbean. A kind that is tactical and responsive to artists, audiences, spaces, societies, intellectual and political histories. Precisely because the Caribbean is a complex geography, so definitively shaped by the factors the Tilting Axis call lists (processes of decolonisation, language barriers, race, mobility, and digitalisation), there is an imperative toward innovation in curatorial practice.’

‘The modern museum, and thus the exhibitionary complex as we now know it, evolved in step with and as a by-product of imperial conquest, with its attendant tensions, aspirations and biases. The Crystal Palace, the British Museum, the Louvre etc were all collections that displayed and categorised “the empire” into hierarchies that continue to structure Caribbean societies today. Much of the Caribbean public then, both that portion that lives within the Caribbean and the diapora, is a “counter-public”.

‘How does the Caribbean offer a particularly rich space for curatorial innovation that engages the foundations of the practice and its traditions; a process that has implications everywhere (centre, periphery, node, outpost)? It also means that much of Caribbean curatorial practice does not present as “curatorial practice” and as such does not always manifest in grand exhibitions at established art spaces, it is rarely written about in art journals.’

Kingston-based curator Nicole Smythe-Johnson is a writer and independent curator, who has written for ARC magazine, Miami Rail, Flash Art, Jamaica Journal and a number of other local and international publications. She is currently Assistant Curator on an upcoming exhibition of the work of Jamaican painter John Dunkley at the Perez Art Museum in Miami. She is also working on an Institute of Jamaica publication looking at Jamaica’s National Collection. [. . .]

For more information, see

To inquire about tickest for The Centre for Contemporary Arts, you may call +44 (0)141 352 4900 or write to

See artist’s page at

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