Rachel Falconer

MA Curating Contemporary Art 2011–13

I studied Fine Art at Byam Shaw and then went on to do a BA in Italian and Industrial Design at UCL and Il Politecnico di Milano. I then stayed in Italy for about seven years, working in advertising as a TV producer, producing short films and adverts. I also worked on brand and strategy management within ad agencies and latterly worked on viral ad campaigns, both on the creative and production side.

Rachel Falconer
Rachel Falconer

When the recession hit, the advertising industry was deeply affected and I re-evaluated where I wanted my focus to be. Curating seemed like the perfect match between the two sides I’d been developing up to that point - the conceptual and the practical. I’ve always worked in an interdisciplinary way, so curating seemed like a logical progression.

Before coming to the RCA, I’d worked in London galleries and heard positive things about the course. I came to the open day as a result and realised the Royal College would be a great atmosphere to be in. The balance between theory and practice offered in the CCA programme seemed right for me. The conversation between theory and practice results in a fully integrated approach to curating.

Group work is central to the CCA programme structure and, although challenging, is an interesting way to learn. Other curating courses are based on individual practice, but at the RCA group projects accelerate the learning process and facilitate the sharing of ideas.

The first group project I worked on was Monique Beudert. I introduced the framework of a ‘Speed Show’, which originated in the States and takes  curating out of a conventional gallery space. This was the first time the format had been adopted for the London scene. An Internet café is taken over for one night to show Internet art in its natural habitat. In taking the curatorial voice out of the galley environment another audience is addressed – a transient one that uses an Internet café in the UK. By using the Internet café as gallery you also invite a reflection on the global role of Internet cafes.The Monique Beudert foundation seeks to raise the profile of artists from the Americas and the process of researching artists from North and South America offered the opportunity to collectively extend our knowledge base.

In the first year, the teaching blocks were intense.  I particularly enjoyed the film teaching block as it focused on one of my main areas of interest. In the second year the focus is on the dissertation and the group final show. The individual research undertaken for the dissertation allows the students to pursue their own areas of interest – I focused on systems theory and its relationship to hybrid art practices. 

I intend to develop my curatorial practice after completing my MA and would like to work within film and art, cultivating a critical position, engaging with audiences through film and presenting artwork. I am currently working on an Interactive Documentary for the final exhibition and hope to pursue this area further.