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Xiaoyi Nie

MPhil work

Collective Marching As A Curatorial Method

How does collective marching perform as a curatorial method? This practice-based research started from examining a curatorial project Long March: A Walking Visual Display (2002) in which about 150 artists and intellectuals retraced the historic route of Chinese Red Army’s 6000 mile retreat across China (1934-1936) with carrying out themed seminars and exhibitions. Instead of looking at the project from the perspective of participatory art (Bishop, 2012) or site-specific art(Miwon Kwon, 2002), this research analyses the omnipresence of the curatorial in Long March: A Walking Visual Display as its introduction to bring out the inquiries on how planning is carried out in process-based projects, how situational knowledge and bodily expeirence translate into each and how performativity and documentation shape a curatorial project. Besides, the heritage of walking in contemporary art is also examined from a perspective of marching. 

By investigating the Long March Project archive, interviewing previous participants and contemporary practitioners, this research aims to depict how the on-site dynamism of collective changed over the trip through the long distance, duration, rhythm and intensity of marching. This research will update the discussion of collective marching apart from its appearance in artworks and social events and imagine how collective marching can be applied by the curatorial, a comprehensive medium as collective as marching and always responding to urgency. 

Key words: collective marching, collectivity, the curatorial, programming, Long March

MA work

Itinerant Assembly

What does it mean to inhabit the temporary? Where do we find the local, when we are constantly on-the-move? Who forms our community, when we exist inside a global network? And what does it mean to be an artist in today’s digitalised and nomadic world?

As precarity escalates in the global city, ways of living, modes of working, and networks of people have become hyper-mobile. Taking place at Gasworks, with its international artist-residency programme set in Vauxhall, a rapidly developing area of London, Itinerant Assembly takes this context as its starting point.

Over the course of four months, this curated project will unfold outwards in a series of assemblies: momentarily bringing together diverse practitioners and publics in real and virtual space to reflect on our contemporary nomadic condition and to question the productive potential of the temporary.

Distilled here in a series of graphic manuals, every Assembly is open to reactivation, and contributes to a cumulative body of research which will be interrogated during the final Assembly in May 2017.

Curated by Alice White, Chloe Hodge, Hannah Zafiropoulos, Xiaoyi Nie, Rosie Hermon and Tiffany Leung as part of the Curating Contemporary Art programme Graduate Projects 2017, Royal College of Art



  • MPhil


    School of Arts & Humanities


    Curating Contemporary Art, 2017–

  • MA Degree


    School of Humanities


    MA Curating Contemporary Art, 2017

  • Nie Xiaoyi is a curator and critic based in London and currently conducting a Ph.D. research in Royal College of Art. She has been looking widely at art projects in social spaces and exploring collective marching as a process-based curatorial model. Having studied the curatorial, art history and political philosophy, Xiaoyi is interested in how knowledge and experiences translate into and transform each other.

    Xiaoyi is also a dedicated observer of still and moving images and has accumulated some experiences in working with artists and institutes in China and UK. Her collaborated curatorial proposal with Hu Hao and Liu Zhangbolong was presented at the Research-based Curatorial Project in OCAT Institute, Beijing in September, 2018. She was also invited to be the nominator and curator for Jimei-Arles Discovery Award. In 2017, she co-curated ‘Itinerant Assembly’ in collaboration with Gasworks.

  • Degrees

  • Bachelor of Law in International Politics and Bachelor of Art in Art Studies, Peking University, 2015; Master of Arts in Curating Contemporary Art, Royal College of Art, 2017
  • Experience

  • Worked at Chinese Contemporary Art Archive, Three Shadows Photography Centre and OFPiX Photography Lab.
  • Exhibitions

  • Metamorphosis: Art Practices Now Activating Archives and Public Memories, OCAT Institute, Beijing, 2018; Discovery Award, Jimei-Arles International Photography Festival, Jimei, 2017; Itinerant Assembly, Gasworks, London, 2017; Human Instrument Scheme, Hockney Gallery, RCA, London, 2016; Victoria Balcony, London, 2016
  • Awards

  • Best Curator at Lishui International Photography Festival, 2013.
  • Conferences

  • Shuttling Between Heterogeneous Spaces, Annual Conference of IBG-Royal Geographical Society, Cardiff University, 28-30 August 2018
  • Publications

  • Contributors to Art World, The Art Newspaper China and Jiazazhi.