Public and Private Funding of International Non-Profit Contemporary Art Platforms

Lecturer: Shwetal Patel, PhD

This course explores the notion that the (art)world has been fundamentally reshaped by the health crises of 2020, and the financial crises of the previous decade. The changes to funding levels and priorities have also effected the viability of many artists, arts producers and arts organisations, in particular non-profits such as Biennials, Kunsthalle and museums.

During this course we will principally ask if existing funding paradigms help reproduce unequal relations and perpetuate (post-) colonial (centre–periphery) dichotomies by creating new hegemonic affects? Together we will examine current, and past, funding scenarios and attempt to elucidate how arts organisations and practitioners can navigate fundraising in uncertain times, whilst maintaining artistic and organisational autonomy. The course builds on four years of research by OnCurating (Issue 39, 46) co-edited by Dorothee Richter, Ronald Kolb and Shwetal A Patel, exploring the biennial phenomenon and its impact on contemporary artistic production and discourse.

Dr. Shwetal A Patel is a writer and researcher working at the intersection of contemporary art and its production, exhibition-making practices, and development theory. He is a founding member of India’s first visual arts biennial, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, and holds a practice-based PhD from University of Southampton, Winchester School of Art. He has operated internationally, primarily in Europe and Asia within the arts and creative industries for over two decades, and has contributed widely to journals, magazines, catalogues and other publications. He has previously lectured at ZHdK and is an editorial board member of OnCurating.