Banff International Curatorial Institute

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About Banff International Curatorial Institute

The Banff International Curatorial Institute (BICI) encompasses a range of public activities including symposia, think-tanks, exhibitions, and publications. BICI also provides research based programs in the form of residencies and workshops, and practicum opportunities. BICI’s programs and activities serve the communities of curators, artists, researchers, writers, critics, philosophers, and other cultural producers at various stages of their careers. These programs offer ongoing professional development and complement degree granting curatorial programs by providing a venue to meet, explore, and continue research. 

BICI is dedicated to advancing curatorial practice with an emphasis on contemporary art and culture. BICI is coordinated by Walter Phillips Gallery, Visual + Digital Arts. 


Raising Frankenstein: Curatorial Education and Its Discontents

Raising Frankenstein: Curatorial Education and Its Discontents presents compelling new writing that explores the education and formation of curators. Edited by Kitty Scott and including essays by Barbara Fischer, Teresa Gleadowe, Francesco Manacorda, Cuauhtémoc Medina, and Lourdes Morales, this book offers an overview of recent thinking on curatorial pedagogy, designed to elucidate, define and build on current debates surrounding this subject.

The questions posed here are timely and provocative. The five essays, complemented by a collective discussion, provide a set of cogent inquiries and analyses for all those, from students to practitioners, who concern themselves today with the presentation and theorization of contemporary art. At its heart lies the single question, “Where does the curatorial profession reside?”

Raising Frankenstein is developed from the conference Trade Secrets: Education/Collection/History, organized by the Banff International Curatorial Institute in collaboration with Teresa Gleadowe, and held at The Banff Centre, November 12-14, 2008.


ISBN: 978-1-894773-32-4

Making A Noise! Aboriginal Perspectives on Art, Art History, Critical Writing and Community

Making A Noise! Aboriginal Perspectives on Art, Art History, Critical Writing and Community is a collection of essays by leading Canadian and international curators and artists. This impressive selection of writings rethinks the role of Aboriginal art and curatorial practice in contemporary culture bringing into question the conventions in which Aboriginal art is framed. The book puts forth ideas on the exhibition and display of Aboriginal art, its discourse, and audience, while also addressing issues of repatriation, the role of the curator, the institution, and the community. Artists and contributors: Kathleen Ash-Milby, Marie Bouchard, Joane Cardinal-Schubert, Nika Collison, Vincent Collison, Brenda L. Croft, Guy Sioui Durand, Richard Hill, Candice Hopkins, Jim Logan, Lee-Ann Martin, Catherine Mattes, Megan Tamati-Quennell, and Jim Vivieaere.


ISBN 1-894773-13-6

Obsession, Compulsion, Collection: On Objects, Display, Culture and Interpretation

Art museums and public galleries amass collections in order to preserve, document, research, and exhibit collective histories as a culture. Obsession, Compulsion, Collection is a compilation of essays by leading Canadian and international curators and artists who explore collecting as a cultural act. Examining the meaning of art objects in a broader context, the book seeks to uncover the human impulse to collect and the social context, rhetoric, politics, and science associated with cultural collections.

ISBN 0-920159-99-0

The Edge of Everything: Reflections on Curatorial Practice

  Few public venues exist for the contemplation of curatorial research and development in Canada, and there are even fewer forums for reflection by Canadian curators within an international context. The Edge of Everything is the result of a book project designed by Catherine Thomas to provide such a space for curators. It is a surprising collection of political, personal, quirky, and humorous commentary by Canadian and international curators on their individual practices.

ISBN 0-920159-92-3

Beyond the Box: Diverging Curatorial Practices

Beyond the Box: Diverging Curatorial Practices is a collection of essays by leading Canadian and international curators and artists that explores regions of art outside the gallery or museum. Delving into four main topics – Publications, Biennials, Art Museums Today, and New Media – the book documents contemporary curatorial work beyond the boundaries of traditional curatorial practice.


ISBN 1-894773-05-5

Naming a Practice: Curatorial Strategies for the Future

This publication features the proceedings of the 1994 seminar Naming a Practice: Curatorial Strategies for the Future that originated as an independent project within the Canadian curatorial community. This publication documents the seminar, following the format of the event itself and features transcripts of the formal presentations, portions of the general discussion, as well as brief commentaries by each of the seminar organizers.


ISBN 0-920159-84-2


BICI's residency programs provide time and space for curators, critics, writers or artists to research innovative ideas. Participants have the opportunity to develop new projects within a supportive and nurturing creative environment, and foster collaborations resulting from direct interaction with faculty, peers, professional artists, and other disciplines.

Past Residencies

Critical Art Writing Ensemble
Faculty: Andrew Berardini, Quinn Latimer

April 27 - May 15, 2015

Critical Art Writing Ensemble II
Faculty: Andrew Berardini, Quinn Latimer

April 25 - May 20, 2016


BICI builds upon symposia and think tanks on collecting, the use of narrative in exhibitions, architecture and curating, and Aboriginal, historical and independent curatorial practices. BICI investigated curating and material culture, and the impact curatorial programs have had on curatorial practice. Consistent with its previous programs and its engagement in artist-centered and community-based work, BICI relies on the participation of artists, writers, and curators as collaborators.

Past Symposia: 

2010 Symposium:
Are Curators Unprofessional? - November 12-14, 2010
Matthew Higgs Exhibition Workshop - November 12, 2010

2008 Symposium:
Trade Secrets -November 12-14, 2008