What’s it like studying CCA at the RCA?
A lot of the course is discussion and debate focused. This is really important in helping you to locate and position yourself as a curator. In the first year we were meeting with two visiting lecturers a week, which is a really important part of the course. All the visiting lectures have different backgrounds and work in different ways. This was really influential to me, in particular meeting Paul Goodwin, Morgan Quaintance and Courtney J Martin.
Why did you decide to study at the RCA?
A year before coming to the RCA I started to implement projects independently, developing my own curatorial practice and writing. I wanted the opportunity to come to London to be exposed to new research and theories.
I applied to Chelsea and Goldsmiths, but was advised to go to RCA. In particular, the emphasis on collaborative practice appealed to me. I was also interested in working with institutions which I felt the RCA was well positioned to prepare me for. The opportunity to curate a budgeted final show was also a big draw.
How has your work or thinking developed while you have been at the RCA?
My thinking has totally changed to become more radical politically. My dissertation is based on the black institution – which is a topic I wouldn’t have dared to approach in Paris. Here people are unapologetic. There is space to build your own voice. You are exposed to so many different ways of working that you become aware of the things that need to change or be improved.
Has there been a particular project that you've enjoyed?
The final show. It is amazing to be given a project of that scale, the time to work on it and a budget. It is an intense experience. It’s a lot of work, and involves a lot of discussions, but has been great to work with peers who have a lot of ideas and enthusiasm and to work with such amazing artists.
Having to develop a project together gives you training to advocate. The show has been organised in a really professional way, we had to justify which project we would be right for and what we would learn from it. The Programme is all about self-reflection, about having to assess what your strengths and weaknesses are.
What have you found most rewarding about your time at the RCA?
The RCA gives you the keys to work professionally together. Obviously there’s more than one way to be a curator, but it gives you models and tools to use, to find your own way and your own framework. I truly feel that some people I’ve met here will be my collaborators for a really long time. I have built some really strong relationships.
In September I launched a project space with four other RCA curating students called clearview in Tottenham Hale. The RCA was the origin, we all met here, we launched it as a way to work together and to work with emerging artists and to give space to voices that we think need to be heard. We’re interested in the identity of the artist, but also in addressing the context of the area, and its recent history, for example the 2011 riots.
What do you intend to do after you graduate?
I’d like to do an internship in New York and build a network there, to further expand my approach through exposure to more voices and different approaches to curating. Also I’d like to continue working with collaborators I’ve met here, both curators and artists, and I’d like to spend more time writing. I found the dissertation a really useful exercise, it’s an important tool to position yourself within current discourse, helping you to ascertain what you want to fight for. I am also assisting Vincent Honoré who’s been appointed curator of the next Baltic Triennial in Vilnius, Tallin and Riga.
Do you have any advice for people interested in applying for CCA?
Don’t be afraid. The further you are from a background in curating or art history the more you have to bring to the conversation. We are all about building bridges, but also we disrupt the definition of art and the art world. The more difference that is brought to the conversation the better.
"The Programme is all about self-reflection, about having to assess what your strengths and weaknesses are"