Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Curating the Sea: Ecological Vulnerability and the Oceans in Contemporary Exhibitions

28 April 2018, 2:00 pm–6:00 pm

Curating the Sea

Event Information

Open to



IAS Common Ground, Ground Floor, South Wing

The IAS is delighted to host this symposium funded by the UCL IAS Octagon Small Grants Fund.  In recent years, exhibitions ranging from major group shows to small solo presentations have addressed the increasingly urgent issue of ocean ecology. This symposium explores the unique ways that contemporary exhibition making can contribute to the discourse surrounding the ecological devastation of the world's oceans. At a time when the Natural History Museum, London, has launched a new paradigm of scientific display by installing 'Hope', a blue whale skeleton in its central hall, how does the display of contemporary art correspond and in what ways might it react differently to these issues?

Interdisciplinary thinking and respect for multispecies ways of being in the world are frequently positioned as central to understanding and responding to the current environmental crisis. 'Curating the Sea' brings together scholars and practitioners to explore the complex relationships between marine wildlife, ocean ecosystems and human activity, examining how artistic-scientific collaboration can address these pressing concerns through exhibitions.

Speakers include:

  • Bergit Arends (Curator/Researcher, Royal Holloway, University of London, Science Museum)
  • Stefanie Hessler (Curator TBA21-Academy/Editor of Tidalectics, 2018)
  • Celina Jeffery (Associate Professor of Art History & Theory, University of Ottawa/Ephemeral Coast)
  • Richard Sabin (Principal Curator: Mammals, Natural History Museum, London)
  • Alice Sharp (Curator & Director, Invisible Dust)
  • Pandora Syperek (Postdoctoral Researcher, Art History)
  • Sarah Wade (Researcher, UCL Art History)

Organised by Dr Pandora Syperek and Dr Sarah Wade with funding from the UCL IAS Octagon Small Grants Fund and support from the Department of History of Art, UCL. Please find the full programme here.

This symposium is free to attend but please register by emailing: curatingthesea@gmail.com. The event will be followed by a drinks reception.