Monday, May 18, 2009


Application deadline: Friday 4 September at 14:00 hours (GMT)

The Fifth Curator competition is a unique new opportunity for an aspiring curator to select an exhibition of works from the British Council Collection. We are looking for someone who is based permanently outside the UK, who believes they have the passion and knowledge to be a leading curator. The winning curator will be given unlimited access to the Collection, which includes over 8500 key works of British art and the resulting exhibition will be shown at the prestigious Whitechapel in the vibrant East end of London in April 2010.

The Fifth Curator exhibition will be the fifth and final exhibition in a series of five exhibitions showcasing the British Council Collection in the Whitechapel Gallery. Artist Michael Craig-Martin selected the first exhibition Passports: Great Early Buys from the British Council Collection, focusing on some of the most prescient acquisitions in the Collection’s long history.

‘My selection of works for this exhibition barely scratches the surface of the Collection. For every work I felt able to include there were half a dozen I had to leave out… This is a collection that contains hidden treasures, many of which I know will be included in subsequent exhibitions of this series.’ (Michael Craig-Martin)
For The Fifth Curator exhibition, aspiring curators from outside the United Kingdom are invited to submit an exhibition proposal which features works drawn exclusively from the British Council Collection. We particularly encourage new views and fresh perspectives on the Collection, as these are vital to ongoing debates about British art within an international context. The deadline for applications is 4 September 2009.

In November 2009, six short-listed applicants will be invited to London to take part in a week of professional development with the Visual Arts Department of the British Council. During this week, applicants will be encouraged to refine their proposals with the advice, guidance and resources of the Visual Arts team and they will be given the opportunity to visit the Whitechapel Gallery to view the proposed exhibition space and meet with the Whitechapel curatorial team. At the end of the week, the winning proposal will be selected by a panel of senior art world figures at a special presentation dinner.

The Fifth Curator competition forms part of the British Council’s ongoing commitment to promote the Collection to new audiences, both in the UK and worldwide and to engage aspiring curatorial talent with one of Britain’s finest collections of British Art. It also coincides with the re-launch of the new British Council Collection website ( which features details on each of the works in the Collection.

Full details of the competition, including details of how to apply, can be found on our website:

For further enquiries please contact


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