Last January 27-28, the Japan Foundation, Manila together with the UP Vargas Museum gathered together young curators for the Curatorial Development Program Workshop. The call for proposals brought in 21 curatorial proposals ranging from food, architecture, art education to effigy. The two-day workshop was filled with stories from the past via the curatorial scenes from the “curator since the 70’s”, Marian Pastor Roces and from the “curator since the 80’s”, Cora Alvina; case studies from curators Mitzi Icasiano, Yeyey Cruz and Prof. May Datuin; and discussions from Karen Flores, Eileen Legaspi Ramirez, Prof. May Datuin and Dr. Patrick Flores.
The discussions were informative, complex and even entertaining sometimes. Questions were asked, issues were raised and even new terms “created” like the now famous “curatorial c” (as in curatorial confidence, conceit, etc.). 20 minutes were given to each participant to present their proposal and answer questions both from the mentors and their co-participant.
For an observer like me, it was interesting to hear the proposals for new exhibitions. I have one time in my life thought of being a curator (I have actually worked as a curatorial assistant in NCCA years ago) so the comments and advice of the mentors did not only benefit the young curators but it also helped me. While some of the concepts were well thought off and would just need the funding to have it realized, there were a few ideas that still needed some tweaking to actually make it work. It was noticeable that some proposals could easily be incorporated with each other to make a new exhibit all together.
While the workshop was geared towards curatorial development, it was also a venue to select a participant for the JENESYS Program. Only 1 out of the 21 curators will be selected for this program, as for the rest I’m sure we’ll see their works in one of the museums or galleries around.