Curatorial Dreaming

Beyond survival and power, I see ‘dreaming’ (imagining desirable futures) and problem solving (making improvements) as the drivers of progress, hope and invention in the heart of the progressive modern human. To be clear, we are not talking about utopian thinking – there’s something just too unrealistic about utopian thinking. That’s why Earth is so interesting, it’s somewhere that exists somewhere equidistant between heaven and hell.

To my parents’ generation, imagining the future was conceptualised in childhood by drawing flying cars, picturing civilisation exploring the cosmos like those in Star Trek or even perhaps “…being part of the first generation of people who wouldn’t die” (Whitty, 2017). But with current generations only just witnessing the introduction of the electric vehicle it might be that, if we are to have positive impact in our lifetime, if we want to see the fruits of our labour – then we must not lower, but recalibrate our expectations, our dreams.

The curatorial dreaming methodology allows the artist-curator to not only reinvent what exhibition making is, but also step out of disciplinary boundaries in order to explore all manner of worlds they previously had no business being part of. What does a political electoral system look like in the hands of a curator? What about the working week? Butler and Lehrer (2016) ask scholars to imagine their ideal exhibitions as a productive way to channel critique. In this respect, the concept of ‘curating research’ is my curatorial dream based on my observations and critique of the current research landscape.


Butler, S. and Lehrer, E. (2016) Curatorial Dreams. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press

Whitty, G. (2017) Audio recording. Bath Spa University. unpublished