In a short series of interviews, Charlotte Bonham-Carter, Course Leader, talks to other arts professionals in her network about their work.
Mariam Zulfiqar, Freelance Curator
What inspired you to start working as a curator?
I studied Pubilc Art at Chelsea during the late 90s and after graduating started working with the Diplomatic Sector on cultural events and activities that aimed to foster better relations between the Arab and Islamic world and the West. While I came from an art making background initially, I became equally interested in the process of exhibition making – it seemed like a natural progression really. A curator has the capacity to contextualise artistic practices within a wider social context while being mindful of the various demands on artistic practice and I found this challenging and exciting.
What projects have you been involved in?
I have commissioned work for Film and Video Umbrella, Art on the Underground, AOTU and King’s College London. The projects have been diverse but all of them are tethered to my initial interest which has always been art in the public realm. I curated Merzbank for FVU and The Palace That Joan Built for AOTU. Both very different in terms of mediums and ideas.
What are the highlights of being a freelancer?
You can have a diverse portfolio of projects and work with different organisations and institutions. This gives you a good insight into various approaches and keeps you from becoming institutionalized.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about freelance curating?
It’s a tough road to go down in terms of having a secure income, but if you like diversity and the opportunity to learn new things with each project then it’s rewarding. Keep working on your own ideas because the opportunity to produce them does present itself – so follow your own interests and don’t be afraid to refine and reflect on your own ideas. Be open to new opportunities that help develop your ideas in directions that you may not have thought of previously.
View the MA Arts and Cultural Enterprise course page for more information about the course.