Updated: Oct 9, 2019
Published on 30 Aug 2019
Fresh off the back of the Glasgow School of Art’s Graduate Degree Show 2019, we are delighted to introduce the work and ambitions of Hive, a new curatorial collective founded as a result of our MLitt in Curatorial Practice (Contemporary Art). Here they reflect on the need for collaboration, of finding innovative ways to reach new audiences, and their hopes for an ethical, sustainable future for art curation.
Hive is a curatorial collective founded by curators Anaïs Janze Natera, Jeanie Black, Natalie Nicolaides, Isabelle Thul and Bilyana Palankasova. We met while studying on the MLitt in Curatorial Practice (Contemporary Art), a joint programme delivered by the Glasgow School of Art and the University of Glasgow. After recognising common interests in our curatorial practices and approaches to project-making, we began having weekly meetings. It was in the space of these conversations that Hive was conceived, prompted by a strong desire for more ethical and environmentally sustainable curatorial methods.
Through a structure of love, support and respect, we came together to share knowledge, resources and skills to strengthen our individual and collaborative curatorial projects. We felt that everyone in the group had different knowledge and experiences and sharing and supporting each other was important. As emerging curators entering a competitive field, we felt the need to create a support system for ourselves. Sustainability and ethics being a pressing topic in the current climate, we felt the need to expand beyond the scope of our curatorial practice course.
The evolution of Hive as a curatorial collective is such an important step in consolidating a practice of support between these five curators and their individual work post-graduation. This ethos of collaboration, of taking care, is vitally important to creating an ethical, international mindset, addressing global issues which permeate the art world. Dr Alexandra Ross, Co-convenor, MLitt Curatorial Practice (Contemporary Art)
In the present political and artistic context, we recognised a need for unity in realising our work and tackling the challenges associated with cultural production. It was important to create a safe space for ourselves and our ideas where we could openly share concerns and have a frank conversation about the economics of the art world and look for ways to fundraise. All of Hive’s members come from different contexts – both culturally and professionally – which contributes a great deal to our conversations and leaves space for diversity. Collaboration is at the heart of Hive and it was very much a product of the cultural conditions in Glasgow and the character of the art scene. A few of us are now moving away from Glasgow and we’re excited about the scope and opportunities an international presence will provide.
We found that the conversations around the climate emergency and environmental concerns more broadly to be rather saturated: there’s often a danger of landing in an echo chamber. Instead of simply reinstating the status quo, Hive’s aim is to look for innovative ways to reach new audiences. It is challenging to work with an extremely relevant topic while keeping it accessible and, crucially, active, instead of simply ‘illustrating’ or ‘representing’ an issue. Our biggest ambition is to produce culturally relevant and ethically sound projects that have the potential to make a real difference.
The Graduate Degree Show enabled us to showcase our individual projects whilst allowing for our shared interests to emerge. The work explored themes of deforestation; collective inertia; the divide between human and non-human nature; how we relate to found and constructed environments, and how we look to saving a species beyond extinction. The work took varied curatorial forms – ranging from live events, publication, exhibitions and academic research – and were representative of the wide spectrum of issues Hive is considering. Having now completed the MLitt Curatorial Practice, each member will pursue their individual practice while continuing to operate as a collective. By keeping in close contact and supporting each other we’re hoping to advance Hive’s mission by facilitating future projects in line with our ethos.