Engine, the professional development programme for artists and curators in the West Midlands region, begins a new series of events focused on curatorial practice for 2020.

The Curators’ Network (formerly the Curatorial Research Group), developed in partnership with independent curator Lucy Lopez, aims to investigate contemporary curatorial practice and research, as well as championing its development in the region and bringing together art workers across the West Midlands and beyond.

Events will take place at a number of host organisations right across the region. Each will focus on a particular area of curatorial interest, examined through case study presentations, workshops and opportunities for networking. We aim to facilitate an informal and collaborative environment in which to critically discuss work and ideas. We are delighted to launch our programme with talks by curators Ian Sergeant and Sylvia Theuri.


Sylvia Theuri
2pm – 3.30pm
Friday 28 February
Coventry Transport Museum

Sylvia’s talk will explore strategies that can be employed to give space for a wider range of diverse voices in art exhibitions, with the aim of addressing inequalities and exclusions within the existing canon of art history.

Dr Sylvia Theuri is an educator, researcher, artist and curator with comprehensive knowledge and experience in critical arts education theory and practice. Sylvia holds a PhD from the University of Salford, which focused on Black African students’ experiences of higher education art and design. Her research interests include diversity and inclusion issues in Art and Design education; Race, Identity and the African diaspora; Contemporary African Art and the Black Arts Movement. Sylvia is currently New Art West Midlands and International Curators Forum Curator in Residence hosted by Culture Coventry at the city’s Herbert Art Gallery & Museum.

Interventions in The Story of Art – an excerpt taken from my addition to the contents page of E. H. Gombrich’s The Story of Art highlighting the invisibility of Black artists within the history of art. Image by Sylvia Theuri.



Ian Sergeant
2pm – 3.30pm
Friday 20 March
The New Art Gallery Walsall

Visual Representations of Black British Masculinities is an illustrated talk about Ian’s PhD research. It will focus on the methodological approach of ‘cut and mix’, a theory coined by art historian and writer Kobena Mercer in describing the practices of members of the West Midlands Blk Art Group of the 1980s that included Keith Piper, Donald Rodney, Marlene Smith, Eddie Chambers and Claudette Johnson. These artists’ works are central to this research.

Ian will illustrate how adopting a ‘cut and mix’ approach to his practice-based research has enabled him to utilise a range of critical and analytical methods including socially engaged arts practice, auto-ethnography and curatorial praxis to interrogate notions of Black British masculine identities and representation.

Ian is a member of New Art West Midlands Executive Group and Film Hub Midlands Advisory Group. He is a director of performing and visual arts organisation Kalaboration, Vivid Projects a non-profit company supporting media arts practice and artist led exhibition space Ort Gallery.


Photo credit: Marcin Sz – Reimaging Donald Rodney, Vivid Projects, 2016. Curated by Ian Sergeant.




The Curators’ Network activities and events are free and open to anyone with an interest in contemporary curatorial practice.

We will be inviting a number of regional, national and international curators to join us for sessions throughout 2020. Further events within the programme will be announced shortly

For more information please email info@newartwestmidlands.co.uk or telephone 0121 300 4309.

The Curators’ Network launches a new season of activity with talks by Sylvia Theuri and Ian Sergeant in February and March.