Curating in Context: On Ecologies and Economies of Production
Mathaf Curatorial Forum 2019 & Public Panel Discussion

Curatorial Forum: 9 am – 2.30 pm, 7 & 8 July 2019*

Public Panel discussion: 6 – 8 pm, 8 July 2019

Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha

Education City, Qatar Foundation

*For applicants accepted in advance through open call  

Annette and Caroline Kierulf, The Drop, Norway, 2015

The fourth Mathaf Curatorial Forum, Curating in Context: On Ecologies and Economies of Production takes place on 7 & 8 July 2019 in Doha. This annual program led by Mathaf Curators and invited speakers opens debates on curatorial thinking and practices, introducing ideas and methodologies on the discourse of art and the histories and networks of curating.

Curators, creative professionals, students, and scholars interested in developing critical discourse on curatorial practice are selected through an open call to participate in an intensive two-day program of lectures, discussions, and workshops. This year’s program is led by Anne Szefer Karlsen, Professor in the MA Curatorial Practice program at Bergen Academy of Art and Design, Norway, and Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Raqs Media Collective, India.

The Forum engages with questions around society’s relationship to ecological and economic resources in context and how these intersect with creative production and curatorial practice. Szefer Karlsen and Sengupta present their projects that touch on lived experience and creative practices in energy economies, elaborating on the practical and theoretical research methods employed in their practice. The projects they will share are offer new readings on the role of art and curating within an expanding discourse on the ecological climate crisis, and frame open discussions and workshops led by Szefer Karlsen and Sengupta that connect to the local creative community and ecological context of Qatar.

The program takes place from 9 am – 2.30 pm, Sunday 7 July and Monday 8 July 2019 in the Library, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha. The Forum concludes at 6 pm on Monday 8 July with a panel discussion at Mathaf with invited speakers Anne Szefer Karlsen, Shuddhabrata Sengupta, and Mathaf Director Abdellah Karroum, moderated by Mathaf Curator Laura Barlow, that brings ideas and debates from the Forum to a public discussion. This event is programmed as part of the series Mathaf Talks.


Anne Szefer Karlsen is a curator, writer, editor and educator. She has conceived of several exhibitions, publications, seminars and lecture series, and her interests are in artistic and curatorial collaborations as well as developing the language that surrounds art productions of today, linguistically, spatially and structurally. She is currently Professor in the MA Curatorial Practice program at Bergen Academy of Art and Design in Norway. Prior to this she was the Director of Hordaland Art Centre, Bergen, Norway from 2008 to 2014. She has curated several exhibitions including The Norwegian Sculpture Biennale, Art Belongs to Those Who See It (2015) and Lofoten International Art Festival, Just what is it that makes today so familiar, so uneasy? (2013). Szefer Karlsen was also Associate Curator for Research and Encounters for Biennale Bénin, Inventer le monde: l’artiste citoyen (2012).

Her writings have appeared in Afterall, Billedkunst, and, and in anthologies such as 'Condition Report' (2013), and 'Making Biennials in Contemporary Times' (2015). Szefer Karlsen is series editor for Dublett, a book series featuring artists’ works through anthologies and artists’ books (2012–2016). She was also co-editor of 'Self-Organised' (2013) and 'Localisert/Localised' (2009).

Shuddha Sengupta is an artist and writer based in Delhi, India. In 2015 Sengupta was recipient of the Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism, at The Center for Curatorial Studies and the Human Rights Project at Bard College. He is a co-founding member of Raqs Media Collective, with Monica Narula and Jeebesh Bagchi. Founded in 1992, Raqs Media Collective's practice spans the making of multi-medium installations, films, events and publications, in addition to collaborations across architecture, literature, science, and theatre, broadening insights into the world around us.  

Raqs Media Collective frequently exhibits their work internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include Still More World, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha (2019); Not Yet At Ease, Firstsite, Colchester (2018); Everything Else is Ordinary, K21 Ständehaus, Düsseldorf (2018); and Twilight Language, The Whitworth, University of Manchester (2017). They have participated in group exhibitions and biennials including the Venice Biennial, Venice (2003, 2005 & 2015); Biennale Bénin (2012); and documenta 11, Kassel (2002), among others. Raqs Media Collective are Artistic Directors of the 2020 Yokohama Triennale and were curators of the 11th Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai (2012). In 2001 Raqs Media Collective co-founded Sarai, a program of interdisciplinary research and practice, at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi. 

Abdellah Karroum, a curator and author, is Director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha since 2013. Karroum is the founder and artistic director of a number of independent initiatives, including L’appartement 22 in Rabat, and has curated numerous exhibitions, most recently, Revolution Generations (2018), Shakir Hassan Al Said: The Wall (2017), Wael Shawky: Crusades and Other Stories (2015), Farid Belkahia: Aube(s) (2015), and Shirin Neshat: Afterwards (2014), all at Mathaf.

He was artistic director of Inventing the World: The Artist as Citizen for the Biennale Benin (2012), curator of Sous nos yeux [Before Our Eyes] at La Kunsthalle de Mulhouse (2013) and at the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (2014), and associate curator of Intense Proximity for La Triennale, Paris (2012). Other curatorial and research projects include the Sentences on the Banks and other activities at Darat Al-Funun, Amman (2010); A Proposal for Articulating Works and Places for the 3rd Biennale of Marrakech (2009); the R22 art experimental web radio station established in 2007; and Le Bout Du Monde art expeditions (ongoing since 2000).

Laura Barlow is Curator at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar since 2014. Recent curated exhibitions at Mathaf include Raqs Media Collective: Still More World (2019); Mounira Al Solh: I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous (with Hendrik Folkerts) (2018); Hana Al Saadi: Proposal for a Public Sculpture (2018); Mohammed Melehi: 1959–1971 (2017); Basim Magdy: It All Started With a Map and a Picture of Scattered Little Houses (2017); Hassan Sharif: Objects and Files (2016); and Saloua Raouda Choucair: The Meaning of One, The Meaning of the Multiple (2015); and Younès Rahmoun, Little Worlds, Complex Structures at VCUQ Gallery (2018). Previously at e-flux, New York (2010-2014) Barlow curated exhibitions of Mariana Silva and Pedro Neves Marques, Khalil Rabah, Rossella Biscotti, and Hito Steyerl, and was managing editor of Art Agenda reviews from 2010–2012. Barlow writes for international publications, most recently, Art Review, Tribe Magazine and Aroop. She is a PhD candidate at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar Institute of History and Theory of Architecture, Weimar, Germany.