Curatorial Method

"Zines and Do-It-Yourself Democracy" at the Knight Library was curated by a group of undergraduate and graduate zinesters in partnership with Doug Blandy and Robert Voelker-Morris. The curatorial method was first implemented by Doug Blandy and Kristin G. Congdon in 1987 at a Bowling Green State University exhibit "Boats, Bait, and Fishing Paraphernalia: A Local Folk Aesthetic" and is based heavily in folklore field work methods (1988). This curatorial method facilitates non-hierarchical relationships among exhibition participants (object makers, object holders, exhibition facilitators, exhibition designers, etc.).

This model is based on pedagogical guidelines from Paulo Freire (1970, 1981) that focus on building non hierarchical and cooperative relationships among people, methods for critical inquiry, the importance of forging a common language, and a conception of culture that is dynamic. Overlapping phases of exhibition development and implementation within this model include:

1. Orientation:
Problems and questions posed regarding the context for an exhibit and appropriate research strategies.

2. Identification of partners:
Problems and questions posed regarding the identification of key partners in curating and installing the exhibit. Problems and questions address, but are not limited to, development of shared language, clarification of exhibit purpose and roles of various partners

3. Curation:
Problems and questions posed regarding process of deciding what is to be included in the exhibit

4. Installation:
Problems and questions posed regarding the identification of key participants in the installation process and decisions about how materials will be presented.

Based on our research and participation with Zinesters, Zine Distros, and DIY the following key concepts emerged as concepts for guiding the exhibit design and curation for "Zines and DIY Democracy."

In turn these concepts influenced questions that the exhibit was designed to respond to for audiences unfamiliar with zines.

These questions resulted in four exhibit sections associated with 4 exhibit cases.

Case 1: (overview of zines): You are Connected
Case 2: (history and zine seminar.): Witness this Moment
Case 3: (diy): Use Your Hands
Case 4: making a zine): Wake Up

Text panels associated with these sections included:


Blandy, D., & Congdon, K. G. (1988). Community based aesthetics as an exhibition catalyst and a foundation for community involvement. Studies in Art Education, 29 (4), 243-249.

Congdon, K. G. , & D. Blandy. (1999). Working with communities and folk traditions: Socially ecological and culturally democratic practices in art education. In D. Boughton and R. Mason (Eds.) Beyond multicultural art education: International perspectives (pp. 65-83). New York, NY: Waxmann.

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York, NY: Seabury.

Freire, P. (1981). Education for critical consciousness . New York, NY: Continuum.