The Arts and Culture Advocacy Program’s (ACAP) Curatorial Workshops offer a much-needed exchange of expertise in which practitioners can identify tools and strategies for contextualizing difficult works and build support networks to guide them through moments of crisis. Workshops are typically a day-long event and held annually or semi-annually. 

Pressures on curators to censor content are invisible but pervasive. They often come from political action groups, from museum administrators who are concerned with pleasing donors and trustees, from artists unwilling to negotiate the presentation of their work, from activist audiences representing positions from across the divided political spectrum, and others.

Arts venues offer an important, and much-needed space where difficult subjects can be explored in all their complexity, but as concerns over backlash mount, so do pressures to avoid the presentation of works that might spark controversy. Today, amid extreme cultural polarization and increasing calls for arts institutions to reckon with inequalities both past and present, the work of presenting and contextualizing artwork is becoming increasingly fraught. 

  • Curating Racially Sensitive Content in an Era of Reckoning over Race Relations
  • Curating Contemporary Art in the Era of Social Media and Call Out Culture
  • Challenges of Difficult Subject Matter and the use of Social Media
  • Curating Controversy, Seminars for Curators
  • Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC) 
  • NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development 
  • Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC) 
  • International Committee for Museums and Collectors of Modern Art (CIMAM) 
  • The 8th Floor
  • Svetlana Mintcheva, Director of Programs, NCAC 
  • Olga Viso, Curator, formerly Executive Director of the Walker Art Center 
  • Nancy Spector, Artistic Director and Chief Curator, Guggenheim Museum 
  • Jane Cohan, Art Dealer and Gallerist, James Cohan Gallery 
  • Mike Hearn, Chair of Department of Asian Art, Metropolitan Museum 
  • Jasmine Hagans, Curator, MFA Boston 
  • Grace Stewart, Collections and Exhibitions Manager, Metal Museum Memphis 
  • Kimberli Gant, Mellon Fellow, Newark Museum 
  • Taylor Newby, Sr. Social Media Manager, Metropolitan Museum 
  • Robin Cembalest, Independent Media Consultant 
  • Kimberly Drew, Associate Online Community Producer, Metropolitan Museum 
  • Sree Sreenivasan, Chief of Digital, Metropolitan Museum 
  • Johanna Burton, Director and Curator of Education and Public Programs 
  • Laura Raichovich, Director, Queens Museum 
  • Sergio Munoz Sarmiento, Founder, Art + Law
  • Robert Storr, Dean, Yale School of Art


5th Annual Curatorial Workshop

Curating Difficult Content: Reconciling an Ethics of Care with Artistic Freedom
November 15, 2023, New York
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

In recent years, curatorial practice and arts institutions have renewed focus on the concept of “care”. Carol Gilligan defines the ethic of care as valuing individual voices and relationships, and emphasizes the need to pay attention, listen carefully, and respond to one another to avoid significant costs of losing connection.