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Jennifer Warren

Published date
21 Apr 2020
Photograph of Jennifer Warren
Image courtesy of Jennifer Warren

Locating the Function of ‘Theory’ in New Institutionalism: The case of MACBA

College: Central Saint Martins
Supervisors: Dr Lucy Steeds, Dr Yaiza María Hernández Velázquez


Using a critical theoretical methodology, my PhD examines the activities of the Department of Public Programmes at Museu d’Art Contemporani Barcelona (MACBA) during the experimental period under director Manuel Borja Villel (1999 to 2007). Specifically, it investigates the function of “Theory” – broadly understood as post-structuralist thought - within the programme.

In recent years there have been prominent debates within curatorial and museum studies on the political potential of public programming and the “Para-curatorial” (O’Neill). This project contributes to these discussions by evaluating an influential “experiment in a new institutionality” (Ribalta, 2009). Attention is given to the methodologies that underpinned the “MACBA Model”. Ultimately, I'm seeking to determine the degree to which the pre-eminence of Theory in the programme supported or undermined the “radically democratic” aims of the model.

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