ACASA Awards for Curatorial Excellence

ACASA is pleased to announce a new initiative, The Awards for Curatorial Excellence. The awards recognize the important contributions to the dissemination and understanding of African and African Diaspora Arts made through exhibitions.  Temporary exhibitions and permanent collection installations organized by museums, galleries, cultural centers, and exhibition spaces of all sorts are eligible. Three ACASA Awards for Curatorial Excellence will be given per triennial cycle, beginning with the Triennial Symposium in Ghana in August 2017.  To be considered, exhibitions must have been on view between September 1, 2013 and August 30, 2016. Exhibitions opening after August 30, 2016 will be eligible for the awards at the 2020 Triennial.

Some of the factors that indicate excellence in exhibitions, and which will be recognized by The ACASA Awards for Curatorial Excellence, are:

  • Generating new scholarship across the humanities
  • Opening new perspectives on the field
  • Collaboration with and/or contributions to local or stakeholder communities
  • Expanding audiences
  • Innovative approaches to exhibition design and presentation
  • Innovative uses of technology

Application process
The Awards Committee, made up of ACASA members appointed by the ACASA Board, will actively solicit nominations from a geographically diverse range of curators. Self-nominations are also encouraged and welcomed.

The deadline for submissions is February 6, 2017.

Applicants should send a brief cover letter and all the required materials for the portfolio by e-mail to Dr. Liese Van der Watt, ACASA Secretary, at  Dr. Van der Watt will then distribute copies to award committee members so that all submissions arrive at the same time.

The application portfolio must submitted by e-mail and include ALL of the following:

Written documents, combined into a single PDF of no more than 5 pages:

  • One-page synopsis that describes the exhibition or installation and demonstrates how it has contributed to the understanding and dissemination of African and African Diaspora arts. The synopsis should indicate how the exhibition was innovative, creative, or thought provoking in terms of scholarship, outreach, technology, presentation, or other criteria.
  • One-page synopsis describing the institution hosting the exhibition. Please include mission, history, scope of collection (if applicable), size, staff, budget, audience, and any other relevant aspects that will allow the committee to better understand the context of the exhibition.
  • Sample of exhibition or installation interpretive materials that demonstrate its intellectual content and curatorial vision (not to exceed 3 pages in length).

Visual documentation of exhibition or installation

  • At least one image is required.
  • Applicants may submit up to five photographs and one video. Photographs and video should demonstrate that the art works in the exhibition were well chosen and that the design/presentation promoted understanding of the content and enhanced the visitor experience.
  • If sending photographs, please send them in a single PowerPoint rather than as separate images.
  • If submitting a video, please send the URL only. No files will be accepted.

Documentation of response to the exhibition

  • Up to 3 documents that demonstrate responses to the exhibition from various perspectives (e.g. local, critical, scholarly, etc.)
  • May be sent as PDFs or as URLs.