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Education University of Groningen Summer Schools

Curating Art and Nature

The Knowledge of the Curator III
sketch of the coast line of the Netherlands
Linde Ex, sketch of the coast line for the project 'What if', drawn with silt, 2019, photography Hanne van der Velde.

In recent years, the multifaceted role of the curator in museums, exhibition spaces and cultural heritage sites have expanded significantly. They have widened their practice into public spaces, where they engage with diverse contexts. Curators are expected to produce innovative scholarship, whilst collaborating with artists and communicating their ideas to the general public.

The particular focus of the summer school will be on the increasing interest in interdisciplinary projects that blur the boundaries between art and nature. How can artistic interventions in the landscape forge meaningful relationships? Can contemporary art serve as an ‘enhancement’ of ecological awareness and local identities? What are the characteristics and challenges of ‘landscape-based’ curating?

Intended for young art historians aiming for a career in academia, museums and cultural institutions, as well as junior professionals in those fields, this course is devoted to the knowledge, expertise, and skills required to meet the challenge of curating art and nature.

The Department of Art History at the University of Groningen offers a unique and innovative summer school program that puts students in direct contact with internationally renowned scholars, artists, and curators. The summer school will take place in a spacious house outside of Groningen, close to the Wadden Sea and Lauwersmeer National Park, where outdoor research, direct artistic engagement with the landscapes, and moving about on foot and by e-bike will enhance our thinking about the relation between art and nature.

A key feature of our summer school – in addition to lectures, presentations, and discussion – is the creation of an experimental exhibition, based on the Groninger landscape in collaboration with contemporary artists. The programme will include a visit to the exhibition Into Nature in Emmen, Robert Smithson's artwork Broken Circle/Spiral Hill and other excursions. This will enable participants to meet/work with curators and industry professionals (among others, Hans den Hartog Jager and Alice Smits) and artists (including Semâ Bekirović, Linde Ex and De Onkruidenier).

Practical information

Dates & location 28 June - 4 July 2020, Groningen, the Netherlands
Level MA/PhD/Postdoc/Practitioners

Including: accommodation (6 nights), lunches, dinners, bike rental

€ 670

Academic coordinators

Anna-Rosja Haveman, MA
Dr. Joost Keizer
Prof. dr. dr. Ann-Sophie Lehmann
Dr. Mans Schepers
Anne Wolff, MA


Anna-Rosja Haveman / Maria Zatopliaeva: summerschoolarthistory

*There are additional charges for exhibition tickets and travel by bus.


The course is designed for MA and PhD students, Postdocs, junior curators and museum professionals. Participants should have a minimum of a BA in Art History or a neighbouring field (e.g. Landscape Studies, Cultural History, Cultural Studies, History, Media Studies, Museum Studies, Religious Studies, with a demonstrable focus on the visual arts)

It is expected that the participants have a sufficient command of the English language to actively participate in the discussions and to present their own work in English.

Learning outcomes

Participants who attend all sessions and who present a research proposal or paper on Friday will receive a certificate of participation signed by the coordinators of the summer school. Upon request, the certificate can mention the workload in hours. Students can apply for recognition of these credits to the relevant authorities in their home institutions, therefore the final decision on awarding credits is at the discretion of their home institutions. We will be happy to provide any necessary information that might be requested in addition to the certificate of attendance.

In a curriculum that unites critical reading, thinking, and discussion with hands-on experience, the participants

  • are familiarized with recent theories and methods of an object-based art history
  • develop theoretical knowledge and practical skills for a curatorial career
  • learn to use art-based methods, think across conventional boundaries between art and nature, and engage in trans-historical curating

The summer school will take place in the spectacular empty landscape of the province of Groningen, close to the Wadden Sea and Lauwersmeer National Park. We will stay at Wongema. Their homemade lunches and dinners, as well as accommodation (6 nights, from Sunday 28 June to Saturday 4 July) are included in the fee. The majority of the rooms are shared. If you have specific requests, please contact the organizers at

Application procedure

To apply, kindly fill out the online application form. Please include the following documents with your application:

  • CV (max 2 pages)
  • Letter of motivation, explaining what you hope to learn during the summer school and why this will be important for your academic and/or curatorial ambitions (max 1 page)

The deadline for application is 1 April 2020.

Last modified:03 March 2020 3.57 p.m.