THINK TANK AT TATEMODERN
12-15 july 2006
I participated in a two-day think tank and at the opening of Rem Koolhaas Serpentine Gallery baloon!
Tate Modern, the Serpentine Gallery, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the San
Francisco Museum of Modern Art co-organised a two-day 'think tank' on the
practice of programming public dialogue. The ‘think tank’ comprised a series of talks,
discussions and workshops to take place on the afternoons of 13 and 14 July 2006 at Tate
Modern, followed by a reception in the Rem Koolhaas 2006 Serpentine Pavilion.
Colleagues primarily from Europe and the United States discussed the aims, issues and challenges which we share or which divide us. Forty leading
programmers working in major cultural institutions, as well as in the context of
temporary cultural events were invited.
Public events programmes often take the lead in developing new audiences, increasing
diversity and fostering critical debate. More and more organisations are now appointing
dedicated curators or directors of public programmes. It is a relatively new role with fluid
boundaries. We hope that this think tank will be a chance for professionals from different
cultural situations and with diverse content to think critically about the value of public
programmes and shape the agenda for the future.
Four sessions - Rhetorical Styles, Architecture for Dialogue, Interdisciplinary and
Intercultural Dialogue, and New Technologies - were designed to provoke debates
around issues such as:
· How does environment affect dialogue?
· How do public programmes relate to other curatorial activities and the wider
mission of cultural organisations?
· Are such programmes merely a means for institutions to lend the allure of the
'live' to exhibition programmes or static cultural outputs, designed to help
compete for more diverse audiences?
· What is the nature of research in programming, and what is its value?
· What is the significance of the trend towards artist-driven talks, programmes,
· How do different spaces, times and contexts lend themselves to different kinds of
· What of video conferencing, webcasting, online forums, blogs, and e-debate?
Can we imagine a truly international live discussion facilitated by new
· Who are the audiences?
Sophie Howarth, Curator of Public Programmes, Tate Modern, London
David Little, Director of Adult and Academic Programs, MoMA, New York
Sally Tallant, Head of Education and Public Programmes, Serpentine Gallery, London
Dominic Willsdon, Leanne and George Curator of Education and Public Programs, San