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Curating Contemporary Art (MA)

Johnnie Valantine

In the meantimeis an accumulation of exchanges, anecdotes and personal resonances. It speaks to moments missed and moments that have remained, sustained between Somers Town and Camden Art Centre.

The uncertainty of the pandemic has become an everyday state of being. Seeking comfort has taken many forms – we may turn to the solace of a book, listen to music, or a podcast. As we journey through these unprecedented times, we have looked to the potential of companionship, envisaged as standing side by side. In the meantime… acts not as a guide or map, but instead runs parallel to the public.

Without predetermining the narrative that the programme will explore, we wish to leave space for the fluidity of storytelling, rather than appropriating this knowledge or experience as our own. We have invited contributors to contemplate small moments of exchange that speak to moments missed and moments that have remained in the area between Somers Town in North-West London and neighbouring Camden Art Centre. 

In the meantime… is a directory, an interactive PDF and a collection of sound recordings, curated by Johnnie Valantine, Ted Targett, Lolita Pearl Gendler, Olivia Abando, Seulki Yoo and Isadora Graham in partnership with Camden Art Centre.

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(Above) Minutes (excerpt), Sonia Uddin, 2021.

Johnnie Valantine is a curator and public programmer who understands the complexity of public space and brings creativity to management and management to creativity. He believes in the curatorial to provide an exchange of knowledge within public spaces.

He is interested in reshaping curating to provide a platform for marginalised communities. He has worked on a local project in the Camden area (in partnership with Camden Art Centre and local residents) and queer spaces. Through theory and practice he has expanded his curatorial thinking beyond the art world to understand the curator's potential position within society. In his dissertation, The Rainbow Effect of Queer, he examined the need for autonomy of space for different communities within society. He is excited by opportunities for changing public spaces that enable him to respond to social issues such as race, identity and the queer community. He believes in making people the centre of any curatorial project to produce rich and inviting spaces, which give diverse communities a voice within society.

Johnnie's experience as a practising artist, his work in the fashion industry and his knowledge in the leisure industry enable him to bring thinking from various environments to develop innovative projects. He also has experience in managing teams and has inspired members to work towards their potential and facilitated an environment where members could work supportively together. He is interested in using these skills to work collaboratively within communities on diverse projects that communities can proudly claim as their own.

He is highly organised, pays close attention to detail and has excellent time management skills, all of which were important to his work in the fashion and leisure industries. He believes in creating supportive networks for the curatorial, which can transform public spaces for collaborative thinking and creative happenings. Johnnie studied Fine Art at the University of Brighton where his experience of artistic collaboration inspired his interest in curating.