Curatorial Research Practicum

Walter Phillips Gallery
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Program Information

Artwork by Sara Cwynar during the installation of things you can’t unthink

 Artwork by Sara Cwynar during the installation of "things you can’t unthink".  

Photo: Katarina Veljovic


This hands-on opportunity allows individuals to receive direct mentorship on research practices that support the presentation, production, and critical analysis of contemporary art. The practicum candidate will have access to the archives and collection of Walter Phillips Gallery to produce an exhibition and other public presentations of this material. This practicum role complements studies in art history and curatorial practice. 

Learning opportunities also arise through attendance at formal and informal lectures and discussion groups. The work portion of the experience will primarily focus on activities which fall in line with the participant’s learning objectives and how these relate to the real and ongoing activities of Banff Centre's Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff International Curatorial Institute, and Creative Residency program.

What does the program offer?

Benefits to participants include practical experience about exhibition-making within a public institution, participation in the day-to-day operations of a gallery, as well as enhanced communication skills, critical thinking, and teamwork. In addition to the work component of the program, participants have one day each week that is dedicated to their personal research activities as outlined in their learning objectives. 

Who should apply?

The curatorial research program in Walter Phillips Gallery is designed for emerging curators wishing to gain professional experience and expand and develop their careers and capabilities. 

The candidate should have sound skills in word processing and Adobe Creative Suite, as well as written correspondence in English. From time to time the practicum will be required to assist in the installation of exhibitions alongside with the curator, attend public events programmed by the gallery, and engage with gallery visitors at the gallery desk one day per week.

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

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 $425 per week.

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

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.

Box Office DiscountsRead MoreClose

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

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

Program fee (per week)*
Weekly living allowance

Application fee: $65

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

You will also receive a weekly living allowance while part of the program (see What's Included for more information).

How to Apply

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.

Applicants will be notified of their status as soon as adjudication is complete, approximately 8-10 weeks following the application deadline.


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 .  


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)