The Contemporary Art Society (CAS) has been awarded £211,000 by Arts Council England (ACE) to support three new curatorial fellowships in collaboration with Whitechapel Gallery. The fellowships will provide an opportunity for selected curators to undertake substantial research into public collections in England, culminating in a series of displays at Whitechapel Gallery and a touring exhibition.

Working with host venues Ferens Art Gallery in Hull, Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, the fellows’ research will draw on collections held by CAS’s membership of 65 publicly funded museums and galleries across England. Taking the theme of philanthropy as a springboard, the resulting exhibitions will bring together historic, modern and contemporary works from the collections and be accompanied by a publication of essays by the fellows. Fellowships include a bursary of £10,000 to undertake research over a three-month period.

The scheme has developed from a pilot programme in the North West region in 2012 which saw Anna Colin awarded a fellowship at Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston. The outcome of her research, the exhibition Nothing Beautiful Unless Useful, will go on display at Whitechapel Gallery in September before touring to Victoria Gallery & Museum, Liverpool, in March 2014. The exhibition will include works and objects that reference North West industries, from the cotton trade and ceramics to shipping and mining – industries upon which local philanthropists built their wealth and subsequent museum bequests.

Speaking about the fellowship, Anna Colin said: “As a curator mainly involved in exhibiting and commissioning work from contemporary artists, the fellowship has been a fantastic opportunity to research historical pieces and to get an insight into the world of philanthropy. The three partners have generously shared their expertise, providing valuable shortcuts to fascinating artworks, figures, and art and social histories.”

For further details and to make an application see Curatorial practice – features, profiles and interviews.

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