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The PhD in Practice in Curating is a practice-based doctoral programme which was established in 2012 by the University of Reading and Zurich University of the Arts.  

This programme provides you with the opportunity to pursue your own doctoral research project in a supportive learning environment. It is led by Prof Dr Dorothee Richter, Head of Postgraduate Programme in Curating and publisher of

In conjunction with the programme, we have launched a series of symposia and publications. These include “Who is Afraid of the Public?” at the Institute of Contemporary Arts London and “Third, Fourth and Fifth Space, Curatorial Practices in New Public and Social (Digital) Spaces” at the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Zurich. 

The programme

The Practice in Curating programme understands curating, or the curatorial, not as a philosophical concept but as a practice that is deeply involved in politics of display, politics of site, politics of translation and regimes of visibility. 

The programme understands the curatorial as a multi-authored approach to the production of meaning, which is intrinsically linked to transformations of contemporary societies, the reorganisation of labour, cultural policies, politics of inclusion/exclusion and issues created at points of intersection.

It has been developed in the context of theories of power and theories of community based on feminist, queer, postcolonial, ecological, post-Marxist and other emancipatory positions, often emerging out of political struggles or social movements. 

The programme sees curatorial knowledge production as a space for negotiating social, political, cultural and economic conflicts. You will approach curating as a form of agency from which new constellations emerge; these could be represented in the form of an exhibition but equally in other forms of meaning production.

This approach also involves a critical review of contemporary curatorial practices and theories, and the critical reflection on the rise of a so-called “curatorial class”. By engaging with these, you will critically interrogate the conditions and the foundations of knowledge production in the curatorial field. 



The PhD in Practice in Curating is both practical and theoretical. The written components of the PhD should adhere to academic standards both in the development of an innovative argument and the theorisation of its claims. 

You will develop your thesis and practical projects in close dialogue with the director of the programme, Professor Dr Dorothee Richter. Members of the School of Art academic staff will provide secondary support and supervision. 

You will work in a group of PhD students and academics as part of a supportive environment of shared knowledge production. You will develop your research and writing skills, in creating, and organising documents, as well as carrying out independent and/or collaborative research in a research environment that is dedicated to trans- and post-disciplinary international exchange, and shared knowledge production. 


Entry requirements 

The requirements for admission to the PhD in Practice in Curating programme are: 

  • a degree (Magister, MA or diploma) from a recognised university
  • a portfolio and a written project proposal with a minimum of five pages, identifying a research question, key literature and methodology. 


We especially encourage applicants with a track record of curating, who are already curatorial or academic professionals.

For more information or to express your interest in applying, please contact Dorothee Richter, Head of PhD in Practice in Curating, at