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Sophia Y. Hao is a curator and writer whose practice appropriates a rhizomatic approach to position the role of the curatorial as a mode of critical inquiry that engages with culture and the political as an open question. Hao is currently Principal Curator of Cooper Gallery at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee, where she leads an internationally recognised programme that has positioned Cooper Gallery DJCAD as a distinctive platform in Scotland for its radical curatorial research, international approach and focus on critical inquiries in contemporary art and culture.
Notable projects include NOTES on a return (2009); a re-contextualisation of performance art from 1980s’ Britain, Studio Jamming: Artists’ Collaborations in Scotland (2014), CURRENT: Contemporary Art from Scotland (2015 - ); a four-phase exhibition and event programme in collaboration with curators and organisations in China interrogated the concept of contemporaneity in a post-colonial context and the two chapter programme Of Other Spaces: Where Does Gesture Become Event? (2016/2017) which evoked the political ethos of feminism to reveal the urgency for an alternative politics in culture and society. Hao is also co-curator (with Edgar Schmitz) of the international touring forum Hubs and Fictions: on Current Art and Imported Remoteness.
As a writer, Hao has published books, articles, catalogue essays, novels and poetry internationally. Her publications include Of Other Spaces: Where Does Gesture Become Event? (Sternberg Press, 2019), Hubs and Fictions: On Current Art and Imported Remoteness (co-edited with Edgar Schmitz, Sternberg Press, 2016), A CUT A SCRATCH A SCORE (2015) and NOTES on a return (2010). Hao is the founder and Editor of the art journal &labels.
Hao currently serves as a committee member of British Art Network Steering Committee (Tate Britain and Paul Mellon Centre), a member of Art 360 Advisory Group, and a member of Live Art Sector Review Steering Group (Arts Council England). She was a Board Member of Scottish Contemporary Art Network between 2012 – 2018.
Hao was awarded the Henry Moore Institute Research Fellowship 2014/15.
Hao’s curatorial research is focused on:
- Rhizomatic curatorial methodology and its capacity to configure a ‘space of appearance’: the role of the curatorial in the production of the political.
- Art school gallery as a laboratory for radical pedagogies.
- The performativity of the gallery.
- Rethinking ‘contemporaneity’ of transnational contemporary art exhibitions in a global capitalist context.
- Feminist ethos as a curatorial method.
- The role of ‘fiction’ in the globally distributed art world ecology.
- The proposition of artists’ collaboration as a de-materialized studio and as an Event.
- The Para-curatorial as a mode of investigating and challenging ideas of public, context and critical discourse through discursive, participatory and process led strategies.
A variety of artists will come together to perform songs of solidarity and struggle in an upcoming University of Dundee fundraiser event.
Tales of feminist activists, revolutionary trees and striking school children will feature in the launch of a new project by the University of Dundee’s Cooper Gallery later this month.