Dr Michael Birchall holds a collaborative post with Tate Liverpool where he is curator of public practice, and Senior Lecturer in Exhibition Studies at Liverpool John Moores University. He is an active researcher in the Exhibition Research Lab devoted to the study of exhibitions and curatorial knowledge; and programme leader for the MA in Exhibition Studies.
His research interests include, socially engaged art, participatory practices, community art (particularly in Europe and North America), curatorial practice and theory, exhibition histories from the 1960s onwards, and new forms of creative labour in the arts. He would welcome prospective PhD applications in these areas.
Previously he has held curatorial appointments at The Walter Phillips Gallery at The Banff Centre (Canada), The Western Front (Vancouver, Canada), and Künstlerhaus Stuttgart (Germany). His curatorial practice concerns socially engaged art, performance, and public practice. From 2012-2015 he lectured on the Curating Program at Zurich University of the Arts, and was co-publisher of the journal On Curating.
He has spoken at a wide range of conferences internationally, and museums, including, Tate, International Studio & Curatorial Program (USA), Migros Museum (Switzerland), Rogaland Kunstsenter (Norway), Université du Québec Montréal (Canada), The Banff Centre for the Arts (Canada), and The Model (Ireland). In 2014 he delivered a keynote address at Sydney College of Art, as part of the conference, 'Curating Feminism: a Contemporary Art and Feminism', and in 2016 he participated as guest faculty in the SAAS-FEE Summer Institute of Art, on Art and the Politics of Individuation in Berlin.
Recent curatorial projects include O.K. - The Musical at Tate Liverpool, Spring 2017.
2016, University of Wolverhampton, UK, PhD, 'The Curator as Producer in Socially Engaged art, 1993-2015'
2007, CRUMB/Universtity of Sunderland, UK, MA Curating
2006, Northumbria University, United Kingdom, BA (Hons) Art History and History
Programme Leader: MA Exhibition Studies, Liverpool John Moores University, 2017 - present
Senior Lecturer in Exhibition Studies, Liverpool John Moores University, 2016 - present
Birchall M, Fryer L. O.K. - The Musical by Christopher Kline. >Link
Birchall MG. 2019. Reconstructing the Social in the Museum Giebelhausen M, Adamou A. Reconstructions, Re-stagings, Re-enactments: Exhibition histories in the twenty-first century Routledge. London
Birchall MG. 2017. Institutionalising the social? hablarenarte . Impossible Glossary: Institutions hablarenarte. Madrid, Spain 9788461742882
Birchall MG. 2017. The precarious nature of curatorial work Buckley B, Conomos J. Who Runs the Artworld: Money, Power and Ethics Libri. Faringdon, Oxfordshire, UK 9781911450139
Johnston M, Birchall MG. 2015. The role of Ego The Questions We Ask Together 9780996112307
Birchall MG. 2013. Second-wave artist-led culture and new institutionalism The Hammock Residency Index. Vancouver, Canada
Birchall MG. 2013. Annika Eriksson Blickwechsel Zwei 50 Jahre Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD ; die Jahre 1988 - 2013 9783893571260
Birchall MG. 2012. ART PRODUCTION: “UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT” LOT :25-29 CUL DE SAC Gallery, London. London, UK
Birchall MG. 2010. Let's Participate Let's art ein Jahr Pedro Wirz 9783000330278
Birchall MG. Curatorial Thinking & Reconstructing the Social in the Museum Giebelhausen M, Adamou N. Reconstructions, Restagings, Re-enactments: Exhibition histories in the twenty-first century Routledge
Birchall MG. Dagmara Ganda: Building Disaster Stride Gallery Catalogue 978-1-897551-10-3
Birchall MG. 2017. Situating participatory art between process and practice Jalving C. ARKEN Bulletin, 7 :56-74
Birchall MG. 2015. Socially engaged art in the 1990s and beyond Richter D. :13-19
Birchall MG. 2015. The King of Zines: AA Bronson’s reflections on artists’ books and the shifting nature of self-publishing culture. Wismer W. 27 :25-34
Birchall MG. 2011. Alternatives Architectures: residencies and urban agriculture Henry M. ADB | Amici Di Borgo,
Birchall MG. 2008. Kristina Lee Podesva's Colourschool: a new pedogogy? C-Magazine,
Birchall MG. 2015. Exhibition as Social Intervention: ‘Culture in Action’ 1993 Art & the Public Sphere, 1-2
Editorial/letter to the editor
Birchall MG. Public Programme: John Piper
Birchall MG. Public Programme: 'What makes us modern?' (Fernand Léger: New times, New pleasures)
Birchall MG. Public Programme: Life In Motion: Egon Schiele/ Francesca Woodman
Birchall MG. Public Programme: Yves Kline
Birchall MG. Public Programme: Maria Lassnig and Frances Bacon
Birchall MG. Public Programme: Crisis of Over Production: art on the margins.
Birchall MG. CLIMAVORE: THE BRITISH SEAFRONT with Cooking Sections >Link
Birchall MG. The Tilting at Windmills by Alex Turgeon >Link
Birchall M. CARMEN PAPALIA: FOR A NEW ACCESSIBILITY
Birchall MG. Against Ordinary Language >Link
Birchall MG. You are Here: pop up museum with Gyro and Thinking Film >Link
Birchall M, Fryer L. O.K. - The Musical by Christopher Kline. >Link
Birchall MG. Wie geht's dir Stuttgart?/Stuttgart, How are you doing?
Engagement & Impact
Knowledge Production, Universities Art Association of Canada, Montreal, Canada, Oral presentation 27/11/2016
The (New) Curator in Socially Engaged Art, Universities Art Association of Canada, Montreal, Canada, Oral presentation 27/11/2016
Collaboration in the gallery, Galleries of Inquiry, Bluecoat Arts Centre, Liverpool, Oral presentation 17/11/2016
Shifting power: the rise of the curator as producer in socially engaged art, Curating: Glittering Myth, Social Symptom, Revolutionary Force? A Conference on Curatorial Knowledge Production, Zurich University of the Arts, Oral presentation 12/11/2014
Activism & Art: for the de-proletarianized petty bourgeoisie, Curating Feminism: a Contemporary Art and Feminism event co-hosted by Sydney College of the Arts, School of Letters, Arts and Media, and The Power Institute, University of Sydney, University of Sydney, Keynote Address 21/10/2014
The post-Fordist Curator, Curatorial Practices Reframed, European University Cyprus, Oral presentation 11/11/2013
The legacy of site-specificity: socially engaged art since the 1990s, Open Engagement: Contexts, Publics, Institutions, Portland State University, Oral presentation 06/05/2013
Let's be social: the merging roles of the artist and curator in socially engaged practice, Association of Art Historians: 39th Annual Conference and Bookfair, University of Reading, Oral presentation 11/04/2013
The curatorialization of the neo avant-garde Documenta 13 and the 7th Berlin Biennial (2012)., The Avant-Garde: A History? A Theory? A politics?, University of Edinburgh, Oral presentation 07/04/2013
Questions of Curation, Open Engagement: Economies, Politics, Education, Representation, Portland, OR, Oral presentation
Socially Engaged Art Practices in Liverpool, Curator, http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-liverpool/conference/collaborative-conversations-socially-engaged-art-practices
Third, fourth and fifth spaces Curatorial practices in new public and social (digital) spaces, Co-organised with Silvia Simoncelli and Dorothee Richter., https://www.zhdk.ch/index.php?id=70095
The Curatorialization of Activism in Art as a Neo-Avant-Garde, Co-convener with Megan Johnston, http://iscp-nyc.org/event/open-engagement-at-iscp-the-curatorialization-of-activism-in-art-as-a-neo-avant-garde
http://www.cappnetwork.com/, Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme, The Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme (CAPP) is an ambitious transnational cultural programme focusing on the dynamic area of collaborative arts.
2017 Visible Award Curatorial Advisory Board, Visible, Advisory Board, http://www.visibleproject.org/blog/2017-visible-award-curatorial-advisory-board/
Ambition for Excellence – Liverpool, HEI Artist Subgroup Meeting, Arts Council England
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjbfmimJWmk&t=612s, hablarenarte interview as part of Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme, Madrid, Spain, November, 2016.
http://www.kunsthistoriker.dk/the-art-of-taking-part/, The Art of Taking Part
https://hiskind.com/liverpool-the-new-queer-art-scene/, Liverpool: The New Queer Art Scene
http://www.artsprofessional.co.uk/magazine/299/case-study/meaningful-learning-partnerships, Meaningful learning partnerships
Membership of professional bodies:
Member, Universities Art Association of Canada
Other invited event:
OPAVIVARÁ in conversation., Tate Liverpool, Join artists OPAVIVARÁ! as they talk about making art work in social and political context of contemporary Brazil in conversation with Dr. Michael Birchall.
Practice and Power: Practice and Pedagogy: The question of Artists’ Formation, Dublin, Ireland, At what point does an artist’s formation begin? From a young child through to accessing third level, the nurturing of that creative inquiry is dependent on many factors. For emerging artists wishing to develop a collaborative, socially engaged practice, what are the required supports? How can local authorities, academies, and arts institutions create a learning ecology that takes account of the process-oriented nature of the practice and the complexity of the organisational matrixes to be navigated?
Practice and Power. "The Politics of Practice", Dublin, Ireland, This panel will examine the political potential of collaborative and socially engaged art practices at cultural, societal, policy, and grassroots levels. Panelists will look at where the power and agency lies in the relationship with project participants and with institutions that often fund and host this work. Some of the challenges of collaborative practices are around about ethical questions of agency, ownership and authorship amongst participants, and around hierarchies of form, and how different models and art forms fit into an institutional understanding of what art can be, who it can be for, and what it can do.
Curatorial Practice and Process, University of Teeside, UK, Guest Lecturer
Shades of Agency, Hosted by Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme, Helsinki, Finland, Invited Speaker
Liveness in the Museum, Tate Modern, London, Invited speaker
Hablemarte Residency, Madrid, Spain, Curatorial Residency
Curatorial Residency, Fire Station, Dublin, Ireland, Residency
Curatorial Residency at The Model, Sligo, Ireland, Residency
International Curators Forum: Sharjah Biennial “March Meeting”, Sharjah Biennial, UAE, Curatorial Research
Lyotard for the twenty-first century curator: a singular account, Salzburg International Summer Academy of Fine Arts, Salzburg, Austria, Curatorial Residency
The Decapitated Museum, The Banff Centre, Canada, Curatorial Residency
Picture Berlin, Berlin, Germany, Guest Curatorial Faculty
Guest Faculty: SAAS Fee Berlin. "Art, the museum and its constituencies", Berlin, Germany, SFSIA Berlin July 4-29, 2016 Art and the Politics of Individuation: Affect and the Multiple Body in Cognitive Capitalism
Masterclass: Curating in times of crisis: immaterial labour and the rise of the entrepreneur, Sydney College of Art, Masterclass as part of the conference: http://sydney.edu.au/arts/power/events/?id=3085
Inclinations #13: Activism and Art, Berlin, Germany, http://www.orgallery.org/inclinations-13-activism-in-art-for-the-de-proletarianized-petty-bourgeoisie
Research Grants Awarded:
LJMU, QR Award to attend 2016 Conference of the Universities Art Association of Canada (UAAC) and deliver papers., Grant value (£): 2000, Duration of research project: 1 month