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Education University of Groningen Summer Schools

Curating Art and Nature

The Knowledge of the Curator III

We are currently updating our course overview for 2021-2022. The information below might be updated.

shoe with moss
Artist: moss, material: shoe, year: 2019, Reading by Osmosis/ Nature interprets Us is a project by Sema Bekirovic, photographer: Sander Tiedema

In recent years, the multifaceted role of the curator in museums, exhibition spaces, and cultural heritage sites has expanded significantly. Curators are expected to produce innovative scholarship, invent new fundraising formats, digitize collections, collaborate with artists, and engage with society in order to rethink the museum as a sustainable place for the future. They have also moved from traditional institutional contexts to include public spaces as a site of curation.

In 2021, our successful summer school series “The Knowledge of the Curator” centers on the increasing interest in curatorial projects that cross the boundaries between art and nature. Can artistic interventions forge meaningful relationships between humans and nature? What is the history of curating beyond museum walls? Can contemporary art enhance ecological awareness and local identities? What are the characteristics and challenges of ‘landscape-based’ curating and can the environment be curated at all?

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

The Department of History of Art, Architecture, and Landscape offers a unique summer school program: a series of online lecture series starting in June; an accompanying online summer school workshop with presentations, discussions and reflections; and the opportunity to participate in a three-day on-site excursion in September. The latter includes visits to Robert Smithson’s Broken Circle/Spiral Hill (1971) and the unique outdoors exhibition Into Nature in Emmen, where participants meet and work with artists and curators on-site. Both, online and on-site participants work on an experimental exhibition proposal related to the respective landscapes, where they are located.

Confirmed speakers include: Richard A Carter, Christopher P. Heuer, Rosamund Portus, Amy Knight Powell, Ronald Rietveld (RAAAF), Alice Smits (Zone2Source), Rebecca Zorach.

There are two ways to participate in this summer school: Participants can follow the online program only; or follow the online program together with the on-site program. The fee for the online + on-site program includes exhibition tickets and a two nights stay in Emmen with homemade lunch and dinners.

Practical information


Online lectures 15.00-18.00 CET:

  • 1 June
  • 8 June
  • 15 June
  • 22 June
  • 29 June

Online seminars 15.00-18.00 CET

  • 25 May
  • 6 July
  • 1-2 dates in September, tba

3 - 5 September (arrival and introductory dinner on Friday 3; full-day program on Saturday & Sunday)

Level MA/PhD/Postdoc/Practitioners

Fee online programme

€ 125 (includes lectures, discussions, refelctions and final assignment)

Fee on-site

€ 400 (including the online programme, mandatory accommodation, all meals, bike rental and exhibition tickets)

Academic coordinators

Anna-Rosja Haveman
Joost Keizer
Ann-Sophie Lehmann
Mans Schepers
Anne Wolff


Anna-Rosja Haveman / Eva Waterbolk / Louise Vanhee: summerschoolarthistory


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 or the environmental humanities)

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

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

Upon successful completion of the programme, the Summer School offers a Certificate of Attendance that mentions the workload of 140 hours equivalent to 5 ECTS (28 hours corresponds to 1 ECTS). 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.


Housing: 2 nights, from Friday 3 to Sunday 5 September. We have reserved a rustic farmhouse that is located on a campsite. The farmhouse is surrounded by dolmens and burial mounds and right next to the work of Smithson. Unfortunately, due to corona, it is unclear yet as to what the possibilities are. This page will be updated as soon as there is more information. If participants have any questions or requests, do not hesitate to contact the organizers.

Application and cancellation

To apply, kindly fill out the online application form before the deadline of 1 May 2021. Please include the following documents with your application:

  • CV (max 2 pages)
  • Letter of motivation (max. 400 words)

Cancellation policy

  • Participants who cancel more than 2 weeks before the start of the online course are liable to pay 15% of the full course fee, unless the summer school in question decides otherwise.
  • Participants who cancel more than 4 weeks before the start of the on-site program are liable to pay 15% of the full course fee, unless the summer school in question decides otherwise.
  • Participants who cancel within 2 weeks before the start of the course are liable to pay the full course fee, unless the summer school in question decides otherwise.
  • Participants who withdraw during the course are liable to pay the full course fee, unless the summer school in question decides otherwise.
  • In case a participant is unable to attend the Summer School because of Covid-related reasons, please contact the organisers.

This summer school consists of seminars, public lectures and an on-site excursion. The lectures are accessible via eventbrite.

Last modified:13 September 2021 10.27 a.m.