Front page > News > Curating Diversity, 5-10th of July 2022, taught by Du Yun, Julia Gerlach, Vigdis Jakobsdottir and Toks Dada

Curating Diversity, 5-10th of July 2022, taught by Du Yun, Julia Gerlach, Vigdis Jakobsdottir and Toks Dada

Du Yun

What does curating music mean in the world that we live in today? Does a curator – that can today imply in the field of music an artistic director, performer, composer, collective, programmer or producer – have a social role to play? What makes a work or performance connect with audiences today, and how are we producers and facilitators sensitive to the ambitions of creators? How can we rethink music presentation to better reflect and resonate with different societies and communities of today? Is the modern curator obliged to take on social responsibility? What are the curatorial concepts and methodologies used in other art fields that the musical world could learn from?

Curatorship and curationism have become important buzzwords in the art world and world at large during the last decades. The classical and new music field, the ensembles and festivals involved are, too, moving towards more hybrid, collaborative projects and processes that involve other art forms that ask for new methodologies. Currently there are few educational programmes where to learn and discuss these questions in the contemporary music world, so emerging music curators and programmers must learn their trade as best they can through internships or by trial and error.

Course description

During the “Curating Diversity Course“ mentors will give presentations on their work as curators, discuss different approaches linked to that and lead workshops  that target questions and challenges involved with programming and building projects involving different communities, institutions and audiences. In addition to these guest lecturers, the Artistic Director of Time of Music Johan Tallgren and artists participating in the festival will participate in discussions on specific topics. Some of the panels will be part of the general programme of the festival. 

The course will focus more on ethical and positional questions of today as opposed to purely technical aspects (like local fundraising and production realities). Discussions in class will cover questions like; challenges of public and private space, collaborative and participatory strategies, working with archives and existing material, modern identity-politics initiated by digital media, curatorship as activism proposing social change, diversity, gender and inclusivity to name a few. The course will include opportunities to work in smaller groups with mentors where participants own projects and ambitions can be discussed. For the last day of the course the participants will prepare a public discussion & outcome (“manifesto”) around what they consider the important questions in curating in the new music field today. 


Applying students should have some experience and traceable history on own work that links to curatorship. They should be willing to discuss in class own projects and discuss / share challenges they have experienced themselves. They should in the letter of interest lift up questions that they would want that would be discussed during the course, equally write what they could contribute themselves. 

The course will include participants selected from this international call as well as nominated stipendiates and researchers in the context of the Creative Europe funded Sounds Now project. 

The course will be taught in English and the applicants should be born after 1st of July 1987. The fee includes participation in the course, open lessons and workshops, and free entrance to all of the festival concerts.

The applications should be sent no later than 14th of April

Sounds Now

Sounds Now is a network of 9 European music festivals and cultural/music centres that promote contemporary music, experimental music and sound art.

In this project, we are concerned with the way in which curation reproduces the same patterns of power and exclusion that are dominant at all levels of our societies. Sounds Now aims to actively stimulate inclusion in our professional field and thus open up the capacity and possibility for different experiences, conditions and perspectives in shaping the sonic art that reaches audiences today.

Sounds Now project is supported by Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

Du Yun

DU YUN, born and raised in Shanghai, China, and currently based in New York City, works at the intersection of opera, orchestral, theatre, cabaret, musical, oral tradition, public performances, electronics, visual arts, and noise.

Her second opera, Angel’s Bone, won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize; in 2018 she was named a Guggenheim Fellow; and in 2019, she was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Classical Composition category for her work Air Glow. As a curator for new music and art, she was a founding member of the International Contemporary Ensemble; served as the Artistic Director of MATA Festival (2014–2018); conceived the Pan Asia Sounding Festival; and founded an ongoing multi-year FutureTradition Initiative in China.

Julia Gerlach 

A curator and producer of contemporary music and sound art, Julia Gerlach served as project coordinator and curator at the ZKM I Zentrum für Kunst und Medien Karlsruhe, and later headed the Music division of the Artists-in-Berlin Program of the DAAD from 2012 to 2018. Currently she is Secretary of the Music Department of Akademie der Künste in Berlin.

Her curatorial practice includes concerts and sound installations in public space, interdisciplinary formats between music, visual arts, dance, literature, improvisation, transcultural projects and festivals. She is interested in challenging the notion of contemporary music and curation within the structure of the Akademie der Künste.

Vigdis Jakobsdottir

Vigdis Jakobsdottir is an Icelandic theatre director and educator and has been Artistic Director and CEO of Reykjavik Arts Festival since 2016. The multidisciplinary festival is the leading arts festival in Iceland and has been running since 1970.

Vigdis is passionate about the ability of the arts to challenge conceptions, shape society and celebrate humanity. She feels strongly that access to the arts should not be reserved for the privileged few but should be accessible to all. Throughout her practice she continuously explores ways to reach out to an ever broader audience demographic through meaningful artistic exchanges.

For many years Vigdis was Head of Education at the National Theatre of Iceland, programme director for MA studies in Theatre Education at Iceland University of the Arts and has initiated two theatre festivals in her home country. She was on the Executive committee of ASSITEJ from 2011-2017.

Toks Dada

Toks Dada is a classical music curator, programmer and producer.Currently he works as  Head of Classical Music at Southbank Center in London. During his career in the field he has been an advocate for change and aimed to attract new audiences to classical music events. Toks Dada actively discusses the current questions of curating, eg. the impact of the COVID19 pandemic to planning and producing classical music events in future. In 2010 Toks founded the music commissioning and producing company Sinfonia Newydd in Wales, providing a platform for established and emerging professional composers. Committed to engaging new audiences with classical music, Toks was Guest Curator for the 2021 edition of Wonderfeel – the Netherlands’ biggest outdoor classical music festival. From 2015 to 2020, Toks worked on the classical music programme at Town Hall Symphony Hall, Birmingham, most recently serving as the Classical Programme Manager.Toks holds a Masters in Arts Management and Bachelor of Music degree from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, and in July 2020 was appointed an Honorary Associate of the College.