Wednesday 18 January 2023 - Invite only
10.30 - 11.54am


Christine Takengny, Senior Curator, Museum Acquisitions, Contemporary Art Society

Ed Leeson, Sotheby’s Institute & TATE

Listen to the recording

Art historian, author and independent curator Catherine McCormack will chair a discussion with Sotheby’s Institute and TATE lecturer Ed Leeson, and Contemporary Art Society Senior curator, Christine Takengny, that considers the role of museums today. The discussion will consider the social and political aspects, roles, and responsibilities of museums in relation to the art world ecosystemTopics for debate will include deaccession and restitutionpolitical bias or neutrality, representation of gender and exclusion of certain groups, the ethics of fundingaccessibility and democratising collections, the digital onslaught, and considering the museum as place of leisure or reverence. 

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Catherine McCormack


Catherine is an author, independent curator and consultant lecturer at Sotheby’s Institute of Art and the University of Oxford. Her most recent book is Women in the Picture: Women, Art and the Power of Looking (Icon Books, and WW.Norton, 2021). In 2019/20 she curated the acclaimed two part show Matrescence and Maternality at Richard Saltoun Gallery in London. In 2022 she is curator of theExploring Radical Female Joy programme with Unit London. 

She teaches at Sotheby’s Institute of Art and the University of Oxford. Catherine has a PhD in Art History from UCL where she has worked as a Teaching Fellow and in 2016 she won the University of York’s international postdoctoral writing prize. 

Ed Leeson


Ed is Associate Director of the Residence Gallery, London. He also lectures specialising in Modern and Contemporary Art, its markets and wider cultural studies. He is a summer course leader at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London and a staff lecturer at TATE. He has organised exhibitions at galleries and project spaces across London.

Christine Takengny

Christine Takengny holds a MA in Art History and Education (University of Stuttgart) and a MFA in Curating Contemporary Art (Goldsmiths College). She joined the Contemporary Art Society as Senior Curator for Museums Acquisitions in 2011, acquiring Contemporary Fine Art and Craft for 74 museums across the UK. She was Junior Curator for Modern and Contemporary Art at Ulmer Museum, Germany and Assistant Curator at Gasworks and the Serpentine Gallery. As Associate Curator for Iniva she curated the exhibition Whose Map is it? New Mapping by Artists.

Other (co-)curated exhibitions include Silent Rhythm: Shubha Taparia/Mohamed Monaiseer (Unit 7, London, 2022); Tina Hage – Universal Pattern (Kunsthalle Göppingen, Germany, 2022); Shifting Gazes (Yinka Shonibare Guestprojects, London, 2014), Mapping Mobilities (Open Space, Vienna, 2012), the online- exhibition Truth: Connecting the Dots (orbits.com, 2011), Ethnocentrix – Museums Inside the Artist (October Gallery, 2009) and Weickmann’s Curiosity Cabinet – Hommage with Georges Adéagbo, Candida Höfer and Mathias Beckmann (Ulmer Museum, 2007) and Curating Fictions, a series of talks at the Whitechapel Gallery. Recent texts she published include ‘Curating in the Age of Postcolonialism and Global Migration – Documenta 10 – 14’ (in: Crossing Borders, Transition and Nostalgia in Contemporary Art, 2019).

Since 2016 she regularly writes ‘Friday Dispatches’ for the Contemporary Art Society’s weekly newsletter. Christine Takengny was a Goethe-Institute Stipend for a Curatorial Residency in Seoul, South Korea and a Consultant for LOBE – Berlin. From 2019 – 2021 she was Collection Advisor for the UK charity ‘Paintings in Hospital’ as well as Advisor for the Arts Council’s ‘Ambition for Excellence’ Programme in collaboration with the Northern Centre for Contemporary Art/National Glass Centre in Sunderland.

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