(03/2016) Decoding Curatorship - Lecture Series on the Essential Core of Curatorship

The Open Burble
from Singapore Biennale 2006
The Missing Parts Exhibition
at Hong Kong Arts Centre
Singapore Biennale 2006

Curatorship in art does not merely refer to a profession for managing precisely a physical art space or putting together a particular art exhibition or an art event, but also carries with it a spectrum of underlying notions including a wealth of knowledge that is accumulated through time and experience, an awareness towards surrounding environment, an ability to draw on a versatile approach to perceive diverse cultural phenomena and strategies to convey corresponding interpretations.

This Lecture Series is designed to open up a window to the profession of curatorship, providing participants with a sophisticated view and an in-depth discussion towards the subjects centering upon and revolving around curatorship.  The Series suggests ways, from a holistic angle, to comprehend the profession of curatorship and to apprehend the world from a curatorial perspective.

Hong Kong Art School (HKAS) is glad to launch this First Lecture Series on Curatorship between 16 and 20 March 2016.  

Being conducted a week prior to the Art Basel Hong Kong 2016, this First Series is going to equip participants with distinctive knowledge and inspiring ideas to fully enjoy and to further interpret the exciting international art events to be held during the period.    


The first series of 5 intensive lectures will be conducted in March 2016 with the following schedule:

Lecture 1 - What Curating is Today?

Introduction to Curatorship:  A Dialogue between Fumio Nanjo and Roger McDonald

 16 March 2016 (Wednesday)  7pm - 9pm

Lecture 2 - Historically Significant Cuatorial Exhibitions

Curatorship Case Study (I) :  Introduction and Case Study by Roger McDonald

 17 March 2016 (Thursday)  7pm - 9pm

Lecture 3 - Curating the Singapore Biennale 2006-2008

Curatorship Case Study (II) :  Case Study and Experience Sharing by Fumio Nanjo

 18 March 2016 (Friday)  7pm - 9pm

Lecture 4 - Curating with Local Context in Hong Kong on Ceramic Art

Curatorship Case Study (II) :  Case Study and Experience Sharing by Fiona Wong

 20 March 2016 (Sunday)  11am - 1pm

Lecture 5 - The Future of Curatorship

Epilogue to Curatorship : Discussion among Fumio Nanjo, Roger McDonald & Fiona Wong

 20 March 2016 (Sunday)    3pm - 5pm















All lectures will be conducted at the Main Campus of Hong Kong Art School located on 10/F of the Hong Kong Arts Centre (Address: 2 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong).



The lectures in the first series will be hosted by Mr. Fumio Nanjo, Dr. Roger McDonald and Ms. Fiona Wong.

Fumio Nanjo

Art Education International Director, Hong Kong Art School

Mr. Nanjo is one of the most important Art Curators in the contemporary art scene of Japan.  He has been the Director of the Mori Art Museum, Japan since 2006.  He has also been an art critic and  a lecturer at the Keio University for a substantial period of time.  Throughout the years, Mr. Nanjo has been initiating and conducting a large number of art projects on international basis, and has been travelling worldwide for his art advisory services and curatorial works which include his involvement in the Singapore Biennale, the Sao Paulo Biennale, the Venice Biennale and more.  

Roger McDonald

Deputy Director and Founding Member of Arts Initiative Tokyo (AIT)

AIT is a non-profit arts organization established in Tokyo in 2001 for a general public to come together and learn about art. Dr. McDonald is one of its founding members, and the Program Director of  Making Art Different (MAD) the educational component of AIT. Based in Nagano, Dr. McDonald has worked as an independent curator since 1989 (working with Fumio Nanjo on serveral exhibitions), and is the Director of the Fenberger House that opened in 2013 in the mountain of Saku city, Nagano.

Dr. McDonald was educated in the United Kingdom, studying International Politics (BA, Wales), Mysticism and Religious Experience (MA, Kent) and received a PhD in History and Theory of Art from the University of Kent.


Fiona Wong

Senior Lecturer, Hong Kong Art School

Ms. Wong is a renowned ceramist in Hong Kong.  She has been widely exhibiting her ceramic works throughout the years, including over 50 art exhibitions both locally and overseas.  Recently, her works have been featured at the Echigo Tsumari Triennale of 2015 in Japan.  Her works have also been collected by museums and private sectors worldwide.  Fiona has substantial experience in instructing ceramic art-making, and her current research focuses on ceramic functional objects, from which, she has also been curating a series of exhibitions.

Ms. Wong graduated from the University of East Anglia of the United Kingdom and received her MFA from The Chinese University of Hong Kong. 














International and local views covering different scales of curatorial projects are incorporated in this first series, with reference to intriguing practices in the past and with a prospect of looking into the upcoming development.

Lecture 1        "What Curating is Today?"                   

Introduction to Curatorship  -   A Dialogue between Fumio Nanjo and Roger McDonald  

Discussing and interpreting:

  • the definition and the role of curator   
  • the moral and ethical values of curator
  • curator as a storyteller, and the narratives behind
  • ways to gather information and bring together different components for an exhibition and ways to edit and fine-tune related contents   
  • use of records and reference to historical context  

 7pm - 9pm  |  16 March 2016 (Wed)

Lecture 2       Historically Signaficant Curatorial Exhibitions                 

Curatorship Case Study (l)  -   Introduction and Case Study by Roger McDonald  

Introducing several historically significant curatorial exhibitions and related endeavours, including:

  • Documenta  5 ,  Documenta 11, Magiciens de la Terre, The legacy of Harald Szeemann,  Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT) in Brisbane

and Discussing 

  • recent development in private museums

A note on Documenta

Held in Kassel, Germany, Documenta is an international art exhibition of a very large scale.  It has carried with it slogans such as “Showcase without national boundaries”, “Museum of 100 days”, and “Space of freedom”. The first edition was held after the war in 1955 with an aim to revive German art, besides, it was also said to be acting as a pioneer of art showcase for the East to reference from.

A note on Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art

Artists from countries of the Pacific Rim and South-East Asia gather together in connection with researches on minority cultures and issues of multi-culturalism. It is an international show which questions the current state of non-Western art while understanding how Western culture has established its uniqueness and influence.  There is a selection of curatorial team from each participating country, Fumio Nanjo was in the curatorial team from Japan in 1996. 

 7pm - 9pm  |  17 March 2016 (Thur)

Lecture 3        Curating the Singapore Biennale 2006-2008                  

Curatorship Case Study (ll)  -   Case Study and Experience Sharing by Fumio Nanjo 

Sharing and illustrating:

  • substantial and first-hand experience in curating an international art biennale    
  • strategies to relate to local history and regional context, including architectures and city planning of the area
  • incorporation of past memories and references
  • ways to gather information and bring together different components for an exhibition and ways to edit and fine-tune related contents   
  • ways to connect to and engage the audiences

A note on the Singapore Biennale

Singapore is regarded as a show-window of a vast variety of cultures.  The Biennale in Singapore was to provide a brand new platform to achieve multi-cultural and multi-national goals.  Fumio Nanjo was appointed as the artistic director of the first two editions of the Biennale. Contemporary art and architecture of Singapore as well as its neighboring countries were brought together in the Biennale, and the individuality of Singapore was put through.  The Biennale made use of abandoned public and military facilities, museums, religious facilities and shopping streets scattered across the city.  

 7pm - 9pm  |  18 March 2016 (Fri)

Lecture 4        Curating with Local Context in Hong Kong on Ceramic Art                   

Curatorship Case Study (lIl)  -   Case Study and Experience Sharing by Fiona Wong 

Sharing and introducing:

  • the making of a series of exhibitions on ceramic functional wares in Hong Kong, and   
  • related curatorial concept behind as well as the logistics associated with the implementation

A note on Exhibitions of Ceramic Functional Wares in Hong Kong

Fiona Wong, Senior Lecturer of Hong Kong Art School, has been initiating and conducting research projects on ceramic functional wares in Hong Kong.  Some of the findings eventually led to a series of specially curated exhibitions, namely, Timeless Wonder 《造物忘年》 (held in the Pao Galleries of Hong Kong Arts Centre in 2005), Cup and Saucer 《盛托》 (held in the Pottery Workshop in 2007) and The Missing Parts 《拾遺補闕》(held in the Pao Galleries in 2010).

The research project started up as an extension of local students' study in the ceramic area after their graduation, with an aim to enhance the contextual aspect of their ceramic making process and to sustain students' research interest in the area.  It later grew into a project which touched on different local phenomena.  Historical reference was given a significant weight in the project in view of the long history of ceramic making, and along the way of carrying out the project, there generated new observations as well as new meanings towards the raw materials, the making process, and the end products created. The resulting exhibitions and their affiliated activities also established a new communication pathway with the audience.  They reignited public awareness and interest in the topic, and were deemed to help blend ceramics into everyday life again.     

A note of Ceramic Study at Hong Kong Art School

Hong Kong Art School has an established history of conducting short courses and award-bearing programmes on the medium of ceramics in the local art educational scene.  The School is currently the only art school in Hong Kong which offers formal award-bearing curriculum (Higher Diploma and Bachelor Degree) with a study major in ceramics, allowing students to go for sophisticated study in the ceramic area in Hong Kong. 

Over the years, more than 10,000 students have been able to get in touch with ceramics through the School’s educational courses and programmes of various durations and natures.

 11am - 1pm  |  20 March 2016 (Sun)

Lecture 5        The Future of Curatorship                   

Epilogue to Curatorship  -   Discussion among Fumio Nanjo, Roger McDonald and Fiona Wong

Discussing and interpreting:

  • the Past and the Future of Curating  
  • differentiation between content curating and art curating
  • In retrospect, how curating links us to the past
  • a compelling case in Japanese Art History:  Sen no Rikyu - Tea Master as a ‘curator’    
  • In prospect, what may be the future development  
  • looking at some new development in Hong Kong and abroad

A note on Tea Master, Sen no Rikyu (千利休)

Sen no Rikyu was a sixteenth-century tea master of Japan who epitomized the spirit of the Way of Tea (茶道), which has, since his time, imposed a profound impact on Japanese aesthetics and culture.  Codified by Rikyu, the tea ceremony has become a subtle yet significant manifestation of the aesthetic notion of wabi-sabi.   Rikyu in a sense reinvented and reinterpreted the artistic and aesthetic development of Japan.  

 3pm - 5pm  |  20 March 2016 (Sun)



This series is open to all who are interested in the topic of curatorship, including but not limited to art collectors, art entrepreneurs, art curators, city planners, policy makers, artists, gallery owners, art practitioners, art educators, art students and general public.  

Interested parties can enroll into individual lectures without completing a whole series.

Priority and special offer will be made available for participants who enroll into the whole series (of all 5 lectures) at a time. 

Fee for Each Lecture:                            HKD1,250 

Fee for Whole Series (5 Lectures):         HKD5,500

Course Code for Individual Lectures: 

15-AM001001-1AP    Lecture 1: "What Curating is Today?"                      

15-AM001002-1AP    Lecture 2: Historically Significant Curatorial Exhibitions

15-AM001003-1AP    Lecture 3: Curating the Singapore Biennale 2006-2008

15-AM001004-1AP    Lecture 4: Curating with Local Context in Hong kong on Ceramic Art

15-AM001005-1AP    Lecture 5: The Future of Curatorship

Course Code for the Whole Series: 15-AM001-1AP

To enroll, please complete the Enrolment Form and return it to the School.  For details and notes on enrollment, please refer to the Enrolment Form.



  • A Certificate of Attendance will be issued by Hong Kong Art School to each participant after the completion of each lecture, for acknowledging his / her participation. 
  • For participant who has completed the whole series of 5 lectures, instead of a Certificate of Attendance, a Special Certificate of Completion will be issued by the School to indicate exclusive appreciation for his / her participation.

Study Load

No assignment and assessment is involved.

Medium of Instruction 

Unless otherwise stated, the lectures will be delivered in English. 



Hong Kong Art School (HKAS) is delighted to present the first series on Curatorship which consists of 5 exclusive lectures in partnership with Arts Initiative Tokyo (AIT) / Making Art Different (MAD) School of Contemporary Art.

AIT is a non-profit arts organization established in Tokyo in 2001 for a general public to come together and learn about art.  

For details, please also visit AIT's website: http://www.a-i-t.net and MAD's website: http://mad.a-i-t.net/

Details of the Curatorship Lecture Series are also available on MAD website:



Media Coverage

January 26, 2016  The Standard - Collecion of Ideas >