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Curatorial Research Practicum

Walter Phillips Gallery

Program Information


Walter Phillips Gallery practicums are year-long programs that encompass research, independent learning, mentorship, and real world experience through assisting in the delivery of Visual Arts and Walter Phillips Gallery programming.

The Curatorial Research Practicum is a hands-on opportunity for emerging curators to enhance knowledge and gain experience in day-to-day gallery operations. Participants develop research, writing, and production best practices that support the presentation and critical analysis of contemporary art.

Daily activities relate to the ongoing programming of Walter Phillips Gallery, the Banff International Curatorial Institute, and creative residency programs. Additional learning opportunities arise through attendance at Banff Centre lectures and events. Participants are mentored by the Assistant Curator and Curator, and receive informal mentorship as part of the larger gallery team. 

What does the program offer?

The Curatorial Research Practicum program provides learning opportunities through exhibition-making within a public institution as well as working with a permanent collection and an in-house production team. Participants will develop skills in the areas of communication, critical thinking, and teamwork. 

Participants have the opportunity to spend one weekday focused on independent study and research projects that align with their learning objectives. The other four weekdays are dedicated to supporting Walter Phillips Gallery programs and engaging directly with visitors at the gallery desk. Participants will occasionally be required to assist staff with installation of exhibitions, and attend evening and weekend public events.

Participants will have the opportunity to conduct research on the Walter Phillips Gallery permanent collection, and to produce an exhibition based on the collection, in one of the satellite spaces on campus.

Who should apply?

The Curatorial Research Practicum is designed for emerging curators wishing to gain professional experience and further develop their careers and capabilities. Applicants should have completed formal training in art history, museum studies, collections management, or a curatorial practice program at the post-secondary level.  Due to the research-based nature of this program, a master’s degree is preferred. 

Practitioners from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply, with a special invitation to individuals of Indigenous descent.


As this program exceeds six months in length, enrolment is limited to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada. This is due to changes made by the Government of Canada to international student visa regulations, effective June 1, 2014 .  

What's Included

Subsidised HousingRead MoreClose

You are eligible for Banff Centre housing (based on availability). You are responsible for your own room and board costs. Current rates for Banff Centre accommodation are $8.06 / day (shared) or $16.12 / day (single) and will be deducted from your living allowance. 

Living AllowanceRead MoreClose

You will receive a living allowance of $61 per day.

Note that financial assistance and stipend awards are considered taxable income for Revenue Canada.  

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Gym MembershipRead MoreClose

Your program fee includes free access to the swimming pool, climbing gym, and fitness suite as well as discounted rates for classes at the Sally Borden Fitness and Recreation Centre.

Paul D. Fleck Library and ArchivesRead MoreClose

Access a wide range of publications, books, music and films in the Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives, open six days a week.

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Box Office DiscountsRead MoreClose

Enjoy special artist rates for ticketed performances or complimentary access to events.

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Participant ResourcesRead MoreClose

Enrich your experience and get to know other artists on campus by taking advantage of the activities and support provided by our Participant Resources team.

Fees & Financial Assistance

Weekly Tuition Fee
Daily Living Allowance
Tuition Fee with Financial Assistance*

Application fee: $65

Indigenous Application fee: $35


*The Tuition fee is covered 100% by financial assistance from Banff Centre.

Successful applicants will receive a daily living allowance while part of the program. Practicums are responsible for their own room and board costs but are eligible for subsidized Banff Centre housing based on availability (see What's Included for more information).

How to Apply

Learn more about the steps to Complete Your Application.

Cover Letter

Submit a maximum one-page cover letter explaining why you are interested in the practicum program.


Include artistic and curatorial activities, as well as education and employment history. Maximum two pages. 


Contact details for two referees. One artistic/academic and one from a previous employer.


Critical art writing sample (maximum 500 words).

Personal Statement

A summary of your goals, how you plan to achieve them, and how this experience will assist you.


Participants are selected by impartial adjudicators on the basis of their submitted material. In addition to artistic merit, consideration will be given to the likelihood that the artist's work will benefit from the program.

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed and all applicants will be notified of their status approximately eight to 10 weeks following the application deadline.  



All programs, faculty, dates, fees, and offers of financial assistance are subject to change. Program fee is subject to applicable taxes. Non-refundable fees and deposits will be retained upon cancellation. Any other fees are refunded at the discretion of Banff Centre.

Contact the Registrar

For questions on preparing your application, please contact the Office of the Registrar:

Toll Free Number (Canada + USA)