Dr. Georgina Jackson
Director of Exhibitions & Publications, Mercer Union, a centre for contemporary art, Toronto

Georgina Jackson is a curator, writer and lecturer. She completed her BA in History of Art and French at Trinity College, Dublin, and her MA in Visual Arts Practices (Curating) at IADT, Dublin in 2005. From 2005 until 2008 she was Exhibitions Curator at Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane where she co-curated TACITA DEAN and Ellen Gallagher Coral Cities (both 2007) and was assistant curator on Beyond the White Cube: a retrospective of Brian O’Doherty/Patrick Ireland (2006) and The Studio (2006). From 2008 until 2012 she was a research scholar at the Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media, Dublin, where she completed her PhD mapping and exploring the altering terms of large-scale international group exhibitions and the political since 1989 and initiated a research group exploring exhibition histories under the umbrella term ‘the enquiry’. She was curator-in-residence at The Mattress Factory Art Museum, Pittsburgh, from 2009 until 2011. She is a member of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) and has written for journals such as Art & the Public Sphere and Printed Project.


Select curated exhibitions include; Sarah Pierce Lost Illusions/Illusions perdues (part two), Mercer Union, Toronto; Push and Pull, Mercer Union, Toronto, (all 2014) Alice Rekab Vector/Attractor, Goethe Institut, Dublin, 2013; Neighbo(u)rhood (Glenn Loughran, Seamus Nolan, Ferhat Özgür, Sarah Pierce/The Metropolitan Complex, Diane Samuels, John Smith, Elisabeth Subrin, Dawn Weleski), The Mattress Factory Museum, Pittsburgh (2011); Colin Crotty Gemeingeist, Goethe-Institut, Dublin, Nothing is impossible (Karl Burke, Rhona Byrne, Brian Griffiths, Bea McMahon, Dennis McNulty), co-curated with Mark Garry, The Mattress Factory Museum, Pittsburgh, (all 2010); Declan Clarke Loneliness in West Germany, Goethe-Institut, Dublin, 2009; Giles Round XLOMFCNHNGNCINUDCWGENMMNCH, Four Gallery, Dublin, 2008; Ronan McCrea Medium (The End), Return Gallery, Goethe-Institut, Dublin; Left Pop – bringing it back home – a special project for the second Moscow Biennale, co-curated with Nicola Lees and Diana Baldon, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow, 2007.


Title The Exhibition and the political: a study in the changing terms of contemporary art exhibition-making

Abstract In the past fifteen years there has been an increased volume and prominence of large-scale group exhibitions which engage with politics, public-ness, the public sphere, democracy and socio-political concerns. Indicative of the ways in which the exhibition is increasingly proposed as a space for the political are documenta X’s (1997) focus on the social, economic, and political issues of the present, Documenta11’s (2001/2) positing of itself as a “constellation of public spheres” and numerous other similarly themed large-scale international shows. Although first deployed within political discourses in the early twentieth century, the term “the political” is increasingly mobilized within contemporary art discourses to differentiate between the status quo of liberal democratic politicking and the pursuit of radical political reorganization and social renewal. While an interlinking between art and politics is not without precedent, it is argued that the intensification of exhibitions pertaining to this nexus of political terms marks a significant shift in exhibition-making, and contemporary art. The aim of this thesis is to map this shift and explore its significance by examining the exhibition and “the political” through three distinct yet interconnected thematics: (i) the exhibition and politics; (ii) the exhibition and the public sphere; and (iii) the exhibition and the political. Each of these thematic conjunctions is examined through reflection on contemporary art, curatorial, philosophical, sociological and political discourses, as well as the analysis of examples of large-scale international exhibitions. At key points within the thesis the author’s own practice is brought into play to counterbalance and hinge these discourses with the situated practice of exhibition-making. In this way a number of voices are combined in the act of thinking through the relationship between the exhibition and the political, those of art history, art criticism, art theory, political theory, and philosophy. This is an approach adopted as in keeping with the modalities of the expanded professional discourses in the “field” of curating.

Research Interests

The exhibition stands as part of a vast field of cultural production, within a series of institutions, rules, rituals, conventions, categories and titles which compose a hierarchy, and which produce and consequently authorize certain discourses, activities and productions. I am interested in the current and historical precedents of exhibition-making with a special interest in the pioneering work in the 1920s and 1930s. I am interested in the 1960s assertion of the ‘everyday’ within art and the legacy it holds today. I am interested in the encounter of artwork and in site and context specificity. I am interested in socially-engaged art practice, theories of spectatorship and political engagement in contemporary art.

see Irish Curator Georgina Jackson Appointed Director of Mercer Union … for more details

Research Publications
Research Outputs



Jackson, Georgina. 2014 “And the question is…,” Curating and Research, edited by Paul O’Neill and Mick Wilson, Open Editions, forthcoming.

Jackson, Georgina. 2014. “The Exhibition and the Political,” SHARE: Handbook for Artistic Research, edited by Schelte Van der and Mick Wilson.

Jackson, Georgina. 2013.  “Making Things Public,” Art & the public sphere, Vol. 2.

Jackson, Georgina. 2011. “Gracelands.” Art & the public sphere, Vol. 1, No. 1: 104–7.

Jackson, Georgina. 2009. “It’s time, man…” Time At Work, edited by Sarah Bachelier, Haizea Barcenilla, Beniamino Foschini, Maud Jacquin and Vladyia Maihaylova, 49–54. Milan: Postmedia SRL. and Fondazione Antonio Ratti.




Neighbo(u)rhood (), The Mattress Factory Art Museum, Pittsburgh, 2011.





7 September 2012        Speaker, “Curatorial Research/Knowledge” workshop, European Artist Research Network (EARN) “doing research” symposium and workshops, as part of dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany

16 November 2011      Speaker, “Curatorial Pathologies,” with guest speakers Annie Fletcher (Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven), Sabina Sabolović, WHW (What, How and for Whom), Vaari Claffey (Gracelands), Nuno Sacremento (Scottish Sculpture Workshop), Organised by GradCAM/ACW, National College of Art and Design, Dublin

18 February 2010        Co-organiser and presenter, “Culture and Citizenship” seminar, NCAD/GradCAM, Project Arts Centre, Dublin

26 September 2009      Invited lecturer, “Utopia and Visionaries 1871-1981,” Gracelands Visual Arts Festival, Dromahair, Co.Leitrim

22 April 2009               Invited speaker, “Curating in the Contemporary World: Large-scale exhibitions and National Representation,” Roundtable public discussion, NCAD, Dublin

4 April 2008                Invited speaker, “Talking Curators: Reviewing 10 Years of Curatorial   Discourse” seminar as part of the presentation of Curating Degree Zero archive, West Cork Arts Centre, Skibbereen, Cork



Research Outputs
Institution Affiliation
Dublin Institute of Technology
Date Commenced
Date Completed

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