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Liverpool School of Art and Design

Dr Michael Birchall


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, comprising of research activities, dedicated public art gallery, and an 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



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. Dagmara Ganda: Building Disaster Stride Gallery Catalogue 978-1-897551-10-3

Journal Articles

Birchall MG. 2017. Situating participatory art between process and practice Jalving C. ARKEN Bulletin,

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,

Book Reviews

Birchall MG. 2015. Exhibition as Social Intervention: ‘Culture in Action’ 1993 Art & the Public Sphere, 1-2



Birchall M, Fryer L. O.K. - The Musical

Birchall MG. Wie geht's dir Stuttgart?/Stuttgart, How are you doing?

Engagement & Impact

Conference organisation:

Conference name: Third, fourth and fifth spaces Curatorial practices in new public and social (digital) spaces, Position: Co-organised with Silvia Simoncelli and Dorothee Richter., URL:

Conference name: The Curatorialization of Activism in Art as a Neo-Avant-Garde, Position: Co-convener with Megan Johnston, URL:

Conference presentation:

Title of presentation: Collaboration in the gallery, Conference title: Galleries of Inquiry, Place/location of conference: Bluecoat Arts Centre, Liverpool, Presentation type: Oral presentation

Title of presentation: Knowledge Production, Conference title: Universities Art Association of Canada, Place/location of conference: Montreal, Canada, Presentation type: Oral presentation

Title of presentation: The (New) Curator in Socially Engaged Art, Conference title: Universities Art Association of Canada, Place/location of conference: Montreal, Canada, Presentation type: Oral presentation

Title of presentation: Shifting power: the rise of the curator as producer in socially engaged art, Conference title: Curating: Glittering Myth, Social Symptom, Revolutionary Force? A Conference on Curatorial Knowledge Production, Place/location of conference: Zurich University of the Arts, Presentation type: Oral presentation

Title of presentation: Activism & Art: for the de-proletarianized petty bourgeoisie, Conference title: 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, Place/location of conference: University of Sydney, Presentation type: Keynote Address

Title of presentation: The post-Fordist Curator, Conference title: Curatorial Practices Reframed, Place/location of conference: European University Cyprus, Presentation type: Oral presentation

Title of presentation: The curatorialization of the neo avant-garde Documenta 13 and the 7th Berlin Biennial (2012)., Conference title: The Avant-Garde: A History? A Theory? A politics?, Place/location of conference: University of Edinburgh, Presentation type: Oral presentation

Title of presentation: The legacy of site-specificity: socially engaged art since the 1990s, Conference title: Open Engagement: Contexts, Publics, Institutions, Place/location of conference: Portland State University, Presentation type: Oral presentation

Title of presentation: Let's be social: the merging roles of the artist and curator in socially engaged practice, Conference title: Association of Art Historians: 39th Annual Conference and Bookfair, Place/location of conference: University of Reading, Presentation type: Oral presentation

Title of presentation: Questions of Curation, Conference title: Open Engagement: Economies, Politics, Education, Representation, Place/location of conference: Portland, OR, Presentation type: Oral presentation

External collaboration:

URL:, Institution: Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme, Collaborator: The Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme (CAPP) is an ambitious transnational cultural programme focusing on the dynamic area of collaborative arts.

External committees:

Committee name: 2017 Visible Award Curatorial Advisory Board, Organisation: Visible, Position: Advisory Board, URL:

Committee name: Ambition for Excellence – Liverpool, HEI Artist Subgroup Meeting, Organisation: Arts Council England

Media Coverage:

Links #1:, Media coverage: Liverpool: The New Queer Art Scene

Links #1:, Media coverage: Meaningful learning partnerships

Membership of professional bodies:

Member, Universities Art Association of Canada

Other invited event:

Title of event: Curatorial Practice and Process, Location: University of Teeside, UK, Description: Guest Lecturer

Title of event: Shades of Agency, Hosted by Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme, Location: Helsinki, Finland, Description: Invited Speaker

Title of event: Liveness in the Museum, Location: Tate Modern, London, Description: Invited speaker

Title of event: Hablemarte Residency, Location: Madrid, Spain, Description: Curatorial Residency

Title of event: Curatorial Residency, Fire Station, Location: Dublin, Ireland, Description: Residency

Title of event: Curatorial Residency at The Model, Sligo, Location: Ireland, Description: Residency

Title of event: International Curators Forum: Sharjah Biennial “March Meeting”, Location: Sharjah Biennial, UAE, Description: Curatorial Research

Title of event: Lyotard for the twenty-first century curator: a singular account, Location: Salzburg International Summer Academy of Fine Arts, Salzburg, Austria, Description: Curatorial Residency

Title of event: The Decapitated Museum, Location: The Banff Centre, Canada, Description: Curatorial Residency

Title of event: Picture Berlin, Location: Berlin, Germany, Description: Guest Curatorial Faculty

Title of event: Guest Faculty: SAAS Fee Berlin. "Art, the museum and its constituencies", Location: Berlin, Germany, Description: SFSIA Berlin July 4-29, 2016 Art and the Politics of Individuation: Affect and the Multiple Body in Cognitive Capitalism

Title of event: Masterclass: Curating in times of crisis: immaterial labour and the rise of the entrepreneur, Location: Sydney College of Art, Description: Masterclass as part of the conference:

Title of event: Inclinations #13: Activism and Art, Location: Berlin, Germany, Description:

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