May 25, 2020

Interview with Daria Filardo, Curatorial Practice master course coordinator

With the Master course in Curatorial Practice (start date November 2020), the students have the opportunity to engage critically and actively in current debates in curatorial practice and contemporary art. The course leads students to practically learn the job of a Curator in all its forms, also thanks to an international Faculty that includes some of the most prominent professionals of the art world.

We interviewed the course coordinator Daria Filardo, art historian, educator and independent curator born in Palermo and based in Florence. Founder and curator (with Stefania Galegati and Davide Ricco) of the Palermo Summer School of contemporary art since 2015. She teaches ‘Contemporary Practices’ and ‘Professional Practicum’ at the Studio Art Master program at Saci, Florence. From 1998 to 2000, she has worked as a resident curator at the public museum Palazzo delle Papesse Contemporary art Center in Siena. From 2001 is a free lance curator. She writes in Catalogues and art publications. Long term projects are her field of action articulated in exhibition making, writing and educational projects.


What is the role of the curator today? How is this figure shaping today’s visual and discursive landscape?

The curator today is a producer of knowledge, a pivotal figure in our contemporary society  that interprets reality and its complexities through the creation of bodies of knowledge that can have different forms such as exhibitions – complex organisms made of multiple tensions- , or producing multiple typologies of narrations. Curators can also create public programs to deepen the visual language of the artists, or can engage in participative projects that negotiate with different social groups and dense realities. To be a curator today means to have a direct relation with artists, thinkers, cultural managers; means to engage, negotiate and propose a new form of visual and discursive construction of reality. The curator is part of a creative practice that reinterprets the world in deep dialogue with artists. We might think that art looks like a superfluous need but it is in fact present since prehistoric times, demonstrating its urgency and need to be part of the discourse of the world: to understand this and to work with these forms of representation creating new dispositive is to be a curator.

Why would you come to Florence?

Florence is an historical city that had a fundamental role in shaping the history of past centuries and the western’s identity but has also been a very vital and international center of research and production in the recent contemporary art debates with the intersection of Radical Architecture, Conceptual art, Visual Poetry and Video researches in the 60’s and 70’s. It is a city where international and Italian artists contributed in shaping the most intense and radical debates. This vitality is alive also today and places the city in the global network of rethinking our contemporary culture. Being in this city gives the perfect conjunction of historical awareness of how the art thinking and practice can shape a urban setting and a society, and how this continues to be a mindset today. The city is part of a larger Italian and international network and it is in a perfect location to move around Italy and Europe. More so, the presence of a rich global community gives Florence the experience of the most important debates on the role of inclusion of post colonial voices and ecologies of cultural production in our planet, and this is a seminal experience the students can live here. Being in contact with artists, creators, thinkers, places of production of knowledge will be a incredibly formative experience for the Master candidates.

What is the approach of the Curatorial Practice Master programme?

The Master gives a solid theoretic formation in  modern and contemporary art history, museum studies, cultural theory, history of exhibitions, along with field training in exhibition making, writing, publishing and management skills, all important aspects of the curator of the 21st century.  Professionals of the best institutions are the professors of the courses and the workshop based structure of the classes gives the students the possibility of  deeply engaging with every subject proposed. The master is divided in a lecture plan that includes theoretical lessons, laboratory activities, gallery, museum, artists’ studio visits, along with self project development. A very important part of the course is a final project where, in partnership with the most prominent institutions, students will develop an exhibition from its concept to the actual realization, covering all the different aspects and engaging in the different possibilities of being a curator in our contemporary society.