About SCL

Hosted by SAFA (Shanghai Academy of Fine Art, Shanghai University) and Shanghai International Art City Research Institute, in collaboration with Shanghai Biennale (Power Station of Art), Shanghai Curators Lab (SCL) is a dynamic and challenging curatorial platform for early career curators focusing on experimental and critical discussion of the ecology of curatorial practice. SCL is also an artistic agency to intervene in and interpret the meaning of artistic and cultural production in a period of transforming knowledge, information, systems and values. Since curatorial practice has become an open-ended, catalytic cultural agency for shifting perspectives on artistic, socio-political, environmental, urban and various industrial showcases, a wide range of intersectional meeting points for research and practice is essential.

The Lab consists of talks by 20 invited art professionals, thinkers, activists, architects, filmmakers, and cultural readers on a variety of subjects. The topics and programs of the Shanghai Curators Lab include multidisciplinary exhibition-making, the ecosystem of disciplines and expertises, technological advancement and its responses, the Anthropocene, the regeneration and revitalization of industrial heritage, and new exits for perennial artistic events.

SCL is a rare and extensive participatory program which since it’s initiation has been jointly organized by a university, a museum, a biennale and an art city. Participating curators will present their artistic projects at the end of the program, and the strongest proposal will be selected to be realized at an art institution in Shanghai the following year. The presentation will be open to the public and art institution officials in Shanghai in the form of a symposium.

Led by professor Yongwoo Lee and curator-duo Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, founders of curatorial collective Art Reoriented, participants will experience and explore the hybridized, multi-layered art community of Shanghai and more broadly China during their time in the Lab. SCL serves to bridge art and educational institutions across China and beyond, having already created a remarkable impact in its first year launch led by two lead professors Carolyn Christov Bakargiev (Director of the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art) and Yongwoo Lee, with the participation of 21 curators from 12 countries. It works to facilitate theoretical and practical implications not only in the area of visual arts, but also in the context of knowledge production.

Call for Applications

Applicants interested in participating should email their self-introduction letter, resume, and motivation to the specified email address below by September 5. The applications will be juried by lead professors and representatives of relevant institutions. Applications will only be accepted via email, with a final selection of 22 curators under the age of 33. SCL will provide free tuition and accommodations for the selected curators. Participants will be responsible for their own round-trip air tickets to and from Shanghai as well as their meals during their stay.

(Dead Line: September 5, 2019)

Contact: info@curatorslab.cn

Lead Professors

  • Dr. Yongwoo Lee

    Dr. Yongwoo Lee is the artistic director of SIAC Research Institute and professor of SAFA of Shanghai University. He was the executive director of the Shanghai Himalayas Museum and the president of the International Biennial Association. He is the founding director of the Gwangju Biennale in 1995 and served as the president of the Gwangju Biennale Foundation. He has curated numerous exhibitions that include Nam June Paik Retrospective (National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Museum, Korea), Dansaekhwa (Palazzo Contarini Polignac Venice, collateral event for 56 Venice Biennale), Hundred Years Anniversary of John Cage (Gwangju Museum of Art), International Film and Video since the 1980s (Shanghai Himalayas Museum), Shanghai Project (co-curated with Hans Ulrich Obrist), The Challenging Souls (Power Station of Art, Shanghai, co-curated with Gong Yan), among others.

  • Drs. Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath

    Drs. Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath are Founders of the multidisciplinary curatorial platform Art Reoriented in Munich and New York. They are Chairmen of the Montblanc Cultural Foundation in Hamburg, and Affiliate Curators at the Gropius Bau in Berlin. Internationally recognized independent curators and award winning authors, they are renowned for their rigorous inter-temporal, trans-cultural, and cross-disciplinary approach. They have taught at various universities, including the London School of Economics and New York University. Their exhibitions, which include Ways of Seeing, Surrealism in Egypt, Dansaekhwa, Staging Film, and Tea with Nefertiti have been shown in institutions such as Centre Pompidou in Paris, Villa Empain in Brussels, Kunstsammlung K20 in Dusseldorf, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Gwangju and Busan Museums of Art in South Korea, Tate Liverpool, ARTER in Istanbul and Reina Sofia in Madrid. In 2016 they were curatorial attachés to the 20th Biennale of Sydney. At the Biennale di Venezia, they were curators of the Lebanese Pavilion in 2013 and the Pavilion of the United Arab Emirates in 2019.


Hosted by SAFA Formerly known as Shanghai Fine Arts (undergraduate) School established in 1959, Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts was incorporated into the newly established Shanghai University in 1983 by inheriting the Shanghai style art spirit of Shanghai Fine Arts Training School founded by Liu Haisu in 1912. Since then, it changed name to the Fine Arts College of Shanghai University. In December 2016, the school was officially named as Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts (SAFA). There are 5 first-class disciplines,13 undergraduate disciplines and 3 first-class doctoral degree disciplines. With the resources-generating effects from the international metropolis and the advantage of affiliating to the comprehensive university, SAFA has gathered a group of internationallyknown guest professors, including Frances Morris (Director, Tate Modern), Jean De Loisy (Director, Palais de Tokyo), Eva Franch i Gilabert (Director, AA School of Architecture), Italo Rota (Academic Director, Domus and NABA), Andrew Brewerton (Principal, Plymouth School of Art), and Daniel Moquay (Coordinator, Yves Klein Archive).

In the future, SAFA will focus on the talents-works-influence trinitarian outcome, in order to forge an art creation and talents cultivation platform for home and abroad, with the overall art production system from talent discovery, quality-oriented education, to work creation, marketing and operation, and influence enhancement.

Organized by SIAC Research Institute established in June 2017, co-founded by the BAOWU Group, the world's second largest state-run steel company, and Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts (SAFA). SIAC Research Institute serves as a professional think-tank with strategic consultancy to suggest on policies, project initiation, bidding standard, etc. for SIAC and the new campus of SAFA under construction. Besides, it provides organizational management for the Art City through branding and publicity, and leads relevant researches on software subjects around the constructions and needs of the new SAFA, in order to promote the infrastructure construction of the art city. The international art city will have essential facilities, such as an art academy, an art street, studios, museums, and association and entity of international art education etc. In 2017, the SIAC made an open call to the architects and teams for making proposals for the concept design of SAFA in SIAC, and invited domestic and foreign experts, scholars and elites to select the futuristic concept design that matches with the status of Shanghai. In 2018, SIAC held the international forum with the title of "Urban Transformation Through Art" in Shanghai, in collaboration with The International Committee for the Conservation of Industrial Heritage (TICCIH), League on Industrial Heritage in China, Shanghai University Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, BAOWU Group etc. With the vision of the "International Art City", the new integrated model of art, industry, cities, sustainability, and transformation was discussed. By forging ahead to the brand new urban industry development in 22nd century, it tries to create a city life entity covering artistic life, production and ecology in all aspects. It aims to drive the rebirth of industrial heritage with the efforts of SAFA students and faculties as local residents, revive the city industry with art education, reshape the ecology of social governance with humanistic wisdom, and build an ideal urban format with intelligent science and technology.

In collaboration with Shanghai Biennale First launched in 1996, the Shanghai Biennale is not only China's most established and influential international biennale of contemporary art, but also one of the most important biennales in Asia. With its changing theme every two years, the biennale has always taken Shanghai as its primary focus, gathering the most talented and cutting-edge international curators and artists at the pinnacle of the industry, to explore the ultimate connection between urban life, contemporary art and the public. It has also become a large-scale biennale platform in Shanghai for the exchange and exhibition of contemporary art pieces. The theme of the 12th Shanghai Biennale is "Proregress". It originated from the Chinese title "Yubu" in ancient Chinese mythology. It proposes a kind of social life that should be faced in the face of the current complicated social life. Positive gestures and actions and implied the importance of seeking new ways of thinking. Cuauhtémoc Medina, the main curator of the 12th Shanghai Biennale, and three curators: María Belén Sáez de Ibarra, Yukie Kamiya, Wang Weiwei, keenly saw this theme is for us to understand the validity of today's world, and then to connect it to the creation of art, as well as the ambiguity and contradiction that are common in the theme. They will present the audience with the latest masterpieces of nearly 70 contemporary artists who are renowned or up-and-coming. The Shanghai Biennale will work with the audience to explore all kinds of interesting topics behind this series of works, and look forward to leading us through the paradox of culture and art in the form of culture and art.


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