Radical Curation: Taking Care of Black Women’s Narratives

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Although many people online apply the term curation to what can more accurately be called branding, the Internet has also provided a platform for radical curation. Curation, in collecting and organising artworks or objects, especially as housed in state-sanctioned/supported institutions of culture, is powerful in the creation and dissemination of narratives. These narratives usually promote already-existing dominant narratives, which problematize, drown out, reify or make invisible alternate narratives. Radical curation is the use of curatorial practices to present, with care, a themed collection of art(efacts) that represent oft-unheard and sometimes disruptive chronicles or groups.

At the American Association of Geographers annual conference in April, I participated in a panel called “Co-Producing a Heuristic Conceptualization of Curation.” I started thinking about the possibilities of resistance and the potential for activism through curation; relating this to my own work on the Internet and women of colour, I wrote the article “Radical Curation: Taking Care of Black Women’s Narratives.” In it, I define radical curation as “the use of curatorial practices to present, with care, a themed collection of art(efacts) that represent oft-unheard and sometimes disruptive chronicles or groups,” and present the tumblogs Black Girls are From the Future and Vintage Black Glamour as curating joyful (i.e. in resistance) narratives of black womanhood. 

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