October 13, 2016

UCF faculty members Yulia Tikhonova (UCF Art Gallery), Barry Mauer (English), and John Venecek (Libraries) have been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Institute of Museum & Library Services.

The grant is devoted to the development of the Citizen Curator Project. In partnership with the Orlando community, the grantees will collaborate with Connie Lester (History) and other UCF researchers.

As public crises emerge, such as those affecting civil rights, the environment, public health, and the economy, we need ordinary citizens to participate in policy discussions about these crises. Such participation requires citizens to access and make use of the unique materials available at our local museums, libraries, and archives.

The Citizen Curator Project facilitates this effort. For each year of our two-year project, we will select a unifying theme and recruit citizens to curate exhibits based upon that theme. Our first-year exhibitions will focus on the Pulse nightclub shooting, and we are encouraging community members to consult with policy makers via their exhibits.

Because we want a diverse array of exhibits, we encourage our curators to experiment, not only with a range of perspectives on the material, but also with the idea of what an exhibit can be. By involving non-professionals and by experimenting with curatorial practices, we intend to bring multiple, unique, or under-represented perspectives to archival materials, and to bring these perspectives into the lives of more people, including policy makers. The Citizen Curating project provides a platform for people to work with archival materials and curate exhibits: a unique educational experience combining creative and critical thinking skills.