Hubs and Fictions: Curatorial Knowledge Feedback Event

When the British Council organised a visit of British-based curators to travel to Pakistan and Bangladesh the group visited Vasl to find out what we do. Sophia Hao, from the Cooper Gallery (part of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee, Scotland) was part of this trip and she initiated a conversation about our Curatorial Knowledge Workshop with Vasl Coordinator Gemma Sharpe which led to Gemma contributing a panel to the touring forum as a satellite to Edgar Schmidt’s exhibitionSurplus Cameo Décor at the Cooper Gallery.


This presentation therefore became one of the Curatorial Knowledge Workshop’s feedback events, albeit indirectly. Taking the remit of the forum (below), which was held at the Baltic in Gateshead, England, as a starting point, Gemma’s presentation entitled ‘Factual Fictions’ discussed three residencies at Vasl by British visitors, including Jamie George’s residency, which kicked off our Workshop.


“Hubs and Fictions, a touring forum on current art and imported remoteness

When cultural hubs are increasingly suspended between local situations and broader milieus of displacement in a globalised setting, what is the potential of fiction? How do we articulate the relations that play out between gallery presentations, institutional aspirations and the ways they intersect with fantasies of elsewhere? And if exhibition making is inherently a form of narrative, what kinds of fiction or reality can it stage?

Bringing together contributors from the fields of artistic, curatorial and cinematic practice the forum takes place as an exchange in stages at three venues across the UK.”

- Hubs and Fictions text.

While the presentation from Vasl, which was pre-recorded and played to the Baltic’s audience before Gemma answered questions on Skype, discussed residencies that were not part of the workshop also, the overall forum presentation is a useful addition to the Curatorial Knowledge Workshop, while it was also an opportunity for Vasl to ‘feed back’ to an audience outside Pakistan the results of Jamie’s residency and the fruits of his research in Karachi.


The forum’s international remit – which had two speakers attending via Skype, Gemma Sharpe in Karachi and Tobias Berger in Hong Kong – connected a European audience with Asian contexts remotely, while also demonstrating to that audience topics relevant to those Asian contexts. The remit of the forum (and in fact, all three forums organised by the Cooper Gallery as part of their project), also inflicts usefully on our programme. Like Jamie’s residency at Vasl, the exhibition by Edgar Schmidt and the associated events, took an artists’ practice as a starting point for a wider discussion on curatorial knowledge and the distribution of information across an international art world. The Cooper Gallery project provides yet another model for how we can become more involved as non-commercial, exhibition-making and artist-supporting organisations in testing how knowledge circulates around the art world through creative curatorial practice; how we as ‘hubs’ for activity can generate discourse and artistic work.


For more information see:


Hubs and Fictions website:

Surplus Cameo Décor website:

Hubs and Fictions review:



The presentation is part of Hubs and Fictions:A Touring Forum on Current Art and Imported Remoteness at Cooper Gallery,Dundee, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead and Goldsmiths College, London curated by Sophia Yadong Hao, Curator of Exhibitions and Visual Research Centre, DJCAD, Dundee.

Surplus Cameo Decor, a solo exhibition by Edgar Schmitz at Cooper Gallery, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD), Dundee, UK curated by Sophia Yadong Hao, Curator of Exhibitions & Visual Research Centre, DJCAD, Dundee.




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