I have received a few questions about the curatorial round table that I had proposed for the upcoming UAAC conference in Montreal this November and I wanted to let folks know that I decided to pull the plug on that one. It was a difficult decision and I felt rather selfish about it so I would like to explain what happened. In a nutshell, I could not get the talent I wanted around the table for the conference dates: November 1st to the 3rd.
When I proposed the panel I was typically very excited about the idea and prepared to work hard to make it happen. I reached out to my colleagues across Canada and got some disappointing results. Without naming names, I was told by some of the people I most respected that the answer would have to be no because they had time conflicts. It turns out that the SOFA Chicago dates are November 4 to 6. There is also another conference that is cannibalizing the UAAC conference; this is a craft symposium at the Renwick Gallery, which belongs to the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. It will be held November 8 to 9 and its theme is Craft and American Culture. I had already known about this event because I had received the Call for Papers and considered sending in a paper myself as I thought the UAAC conference would be held in late October as it has been for the past few years that I had participated.
Now if you know me you will not be surprised to learn that I didn't let the first few upsets derail the project. I am seasoned enough not to let glitches throw me off my game; the bend in the road does not have to be the end of the road as the saying goes. So, I decided to see what the UAAC's own call for papers would produce. I decided not to throw in the towel just yet. I continued to invite folks whose work I admired to join me at the round table as well. That was Plan B.
Well, I got a few interested nibbles in response to my direct invitations but only a few formal proposals. In the process of corresponding with people about their proposals I also realized there were potential translation snags because we would be presenting in Montreal and likely speaking to a mixed audience of Anglophones, Francophones, and some bilingual delegates. This could get tricky. My French is half decent but is limited to informal conversation or reading in French. I am no translator.
The UAAC call only produced one formal proposal. It was a rather interesting paper from a Phd student. I gnashed my teeth. The panel I had envisioned was a discussion between practicing curators of craft. That's what I wanted to offer an audience of scholars, students, artists and craftspeople. So, with some misgiving I decided to withdraw the proposal by the appropriate date. Big sigh.
This is one of the images I have submitted for the curatorial chapter. It is from the In Praise of Function show at the Craft Council Gallery in St. John's.
On a brighter note I'd like to share that I have heard back from Alla Myzelev who is the professor who is editing the volume on Curatorial Strategies that I have contributed to.
And I am happy to say that she reports that Ashgate Publishers in the UK and Duke University Press in the States are considering the manuscript. So, I'd better finish rewriting my chapter for the next deadline!