Exhibition Research Centre

Exhibition Research Lab


Exhibition Research Lab is the first academic centre and art gallery in the UK dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of exhibitions and curatorial knowledge

Director: Professor Joasia Krysa

Founded in 2012 as part of Liverpool School of Art and Design, the Exhibition Research Lab is uniquely positioned across academic and the cultural ecology of Liverpool, underpinned by collaborative posts held by staff with Tate Liverpool, FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), RIBA North (The Royal Institute of British Architects), and Liverpool Biennial.

Exhibition Research Lab supports research and practice in the field of curating and its most dominant form, the exhibition. It points to the understanding of exhibitionary formats and curatorial practice as a form of critical inquiry and knowledge production.

Exhibition Research Lab extends the traditional remit of an art gallery as a site for display or pedagogical resource, to an expanded gallery or ‘lab’ where experimental thinking and making takes place, and where artistic and curatorial knowledge is enacted, produced and made public.

Exhibition Research Lab produces:

  • Exhibitions
  • Residencies and Fellowships
  • Journal and other publications 
  • Research and education at postgraduate and doctoral levels

Exhibition Research Lab serves diverse audiences through its gallery and public programme, including exhibitions, workshops, screenings, talks and conferences. The residency and fellowship programme is dedicated to artistic/curatorial research and the dissemination of knowledge, connecting international artists, curators and scholars working across diverse disciplines. The journal, a partnership with Liverpool Biennial, serves to disseminate the work of the Exhibition Research Lab and its key partners globally.

For more information on our postgraduate research and education opportunities, including the MA Exhibition Studies and MPhil/PhD opportunities, see Liverpool School of Art and Design pages.


Exhibition Research Lab is directed by Prof Joasia Krysa, Professor of Exhibition Research, with a joint appointment at Liverpool Biennial where she is Head of Research; with Dr Michael Birchall, Senior Lecturer in Exhibition Studies and Curator of Public Practice at Tate Liverpool; and Dr Hana Leaper, Senior Lecturer with a joint appointment at John Moores Painting Prize.

Prof Joasia Krysa

Professor of Exhibition Research and Director of Exhibition Research Lab at Liverpool John Moores University, with a joint appointment at Liverpool Biennial, where she is Head of Research. She also holds an Honorary Associate Professorship in Curating at Aarhus University, Denmark. Previously, she served as Artistic Director of Kunsthal Aarhus, Denmark, part of the curatorial team for DOCUMENTA 13, and co-curator of Liverpool Biennial 2016. She is commissioning editor of contemporary art journal Stages published by Liverpool Biennial and series editor of DATA Browser books dedicated to art, politics and technology, published by Open Humanities Press. Her research is located across contemporary art, curating, digital culture and critical theory.

Dr Michael Birchall

Senior Lecturer in Exhibition Studies and Curator of Public Practice at Tate Liverpool. Birchall is currently engaged in research around socially engaged art, community art, curatorial practice and theory, exhibition histories from the 1960s onwards, and new forms of creative labour in the arts, and would welcome PhD researchers in these areas. An academic of international standing he has also spoken in North America, Europe and Australia. As part of his role at Tate Liverpool he is co-curating the forthcoming project, O.K. The Musical by Christopher Kline, which is a project supported by the Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme; in addition he is curating multiple projects at Tate Exchange; and is steering Tate Liverpool's Research Centre in Curatorial Practice and Museology.

Dr Hana Leaper

Dr Hana Leaper holds the post of John Moores Painting Prize Senior Lecturer and Development Manager since 2017. She began to undertake research on the John Moores Painting Prize in her previous role as Paul Mellon Centre Fellow and one of the founding Editors of the prestigious born-digital journal British Art Studies at the Paul Mellon Centre, a part of Yale University. At the Centre she played an active role in the research programme, and curated the display ‘The Catalogues of the John Moores Painting Prize’ to commemorate sixty years of the competition. Dr Leaper’s wider research interests include the Grosvenor School of linocut artists, twentieth century exhibiting histories and artists’ networks, and theories of an artistic middlebrow. She is currently working on an exhibition and catalogue of Grosvenor School linocuts with Dulwich Picture Gallery, and a touring retrospective of Sybil Andrews’ work that will begin at the Glenbow, Calgary in 2019. Between 2015-2018 she was a guest lecturer on the Courtauld Institute of Art ‘Making the Modern: art and visual culture in Britain 1890-1970’ MA programme, and the Yale in London ‘Photography and the Artistic Imagination in Victorian and Edwardian Britain’ programmes.


Mara Ambrožič

PhD researcher, LJMU funded, 2016-19

The doctoral research (with the working title Start-Up Cultures: Understanding the Emerging Institutional Condition of the Art World) investigates the impact of neoliberalism on the ongoing transformations of the expediency of contemporary cultural and art institutions. Based on the mapping of mid-scale art organisations (museums, art centres, biennials) and research clusters, the research identifies major fields of institutional culture, and goes on to investigate the exponential growth of symptomising patterns. Analysing their respective programmes, the research examines to what degree their social capital is entwined with the broader context of the growing new cultural economy.

Mara Ambrožič is a cultural critic, research curator, and expert on international cooperation strategies. She has lectured at IUAV University of Venice (2007-2012, 2017) and was a visiting lecturer at University Sciences-Po in Paris (2012). Between 2013 and 2014 she served as research curator for several projects, including the reconstruction of Marcel Broodthaers’ Section des Figures (Monnaie de Paris, 2015). Recently, she was Director of NSK State Pavilion presented during the Venice Biennale (2015-2017). She co-edited several books such as Art as a Thinking Process: Visual Forms of Knowledge Production (Sternberg Press, Berlin). Founder of Libraries of the Future and associate editor of Archive Books Berlin, she is also member of Raw Material Company of Dakar, and board member of the Aufhebung Institute of Ljubljana.

Sevie Tsampalla

PhD Researcher LJMU funded, 2016-19

The doctoral research (with the working title Commoning the Biennial? A critical investigation in emerging forms of instituting biennials) examines the biennial imaginaries in the post-Occupy condition. It investigates recent curatorial attempts to rethink biennials as institutions in conjunction with commoning, practices of sharing and organising that articulate efforts for social relations and modes of production beyond the impasses of late capitalism.

Sevie Tsampalla has curated exhibitions addressing meeting grounds between art, social and political imaginaries, such as Fabric Spaces, Pianofabriek, Brussels (2015); small change, AirSpace Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent (2013); Some Misunderstanding, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester (2013); sitePARAsite, RTT, Brussels (2008). She was assistant curator for Liverpool Biennial (2015-2016) and cluster-curator for Track, a city-wide exhibition organised by the contemporary art museum S.M.A.K. in Ghent (2011-2012). As founding member of the collectives Reconstruction Community and AAA, she initiated public actions and interventions respectively in Athens and Brussels (2006-2011). Together with fellow researcher James Schofield she co-founded the independent interdisciplinary research tool Exhibitions/Conversations (2017-ongoing).

James Schofield

PhD Researcher, LJMU funded, 2017-20

The doctoral research (with the working title Reconsidering Artist-Led Practice in the Conscious North) seeks to chart the rise and development of artist-led practice in the UK and propose a new consideration of the term alongside a newly developed conceptual framework of contemporary cultural existence. Taking into account the impacts of neoliberal cultural governance and the interdependency between institutionalised and non-institutionalised practices, the research considers the dynamics of artist-led practice in relation to issues surrounding artistic autonomy, provinciality and place making between physical and digital worlds.

James Schofield is an independent artist and curator. Working extensively in the field of artist-led practice, he is concerned with critically exploring artistic existence in relation to contemporary culture, and how this shapes curatorial and exhibitionary strategies and outputs. Following graduating from the MA Exhibition Studies course at Liverpool John Moores University in 2016, in 2017 he curated and participated in Tumultuous Noise at blip blip blip (Leeds). Having held administrative positions at the Henry Moore Institute (Leeds), and currently acting as Manchester Editor for Corridor8, he recently also co-founded the independent interdisciplinary research tool Exhibitions/Conversations with fellow researcher Sevie Tsampalla (2017-ongoing).

Pascal Bircher

MPhil Contemporary Art, in partnership with Liverpool Biennial, 2018-2020

The research (with the working title From Archetypal Stories to Alternative Facts: Exploring Narrative, Meaning, Identity and Reality in the Neoliberal Digital Age) examines the ways in which narratives as a whole are structured, exploited, doctored, applied, disseminated and consumed in the contemporary neoliberal digital age in relation to its prerequisites from the pre-information age.

Pascal Bircher was born in Redhill, Surrey (UK) in 1972. Having first obtained a degree in Display and Exhibition Design from Switzerland, he went on to receive a degree in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins, London in 2001. From this time, until 2016, he lived and worked in Paris, at which point he moved to Liverpool.

Helen Kaplinsky

Helen Kaplinsky is a curator and writer undertaking a visiting scholar position within the Exhibition Research Lab (ERL). She is currently developing a programme for the Science Gallery London (SGL), an element of which, concerning gender, technology and narration, will be explored in the context of ERL. The project expands a discussion concerning works of queer speculative fiction and mythological narration of bodily ‘otherness’. Particular works of electronic literature will be discussed, including recent pieces by Porpentine Charity Heartscape and Moreshin Alayahri and historical work by Shelly Jackson, alongside the analysis of literary critic Katherine N. Hayles. Hayle’s work describes forms of reading akin to pattern recognition, as part of her concept ‘technogenesis’ – the coevolution of human and machine. The literature is an inclusive and diverse exploration of the ways in which human and non-human bodies are directed by gendered and raced social, computational infrastructures. Reflecting upon the construction of ‘othered’ identities, the project aims to use Hayle’s work to better understand the kind of reading subject produced by these works.

Helen is co-director of Res., a curatorial office in Deptford, South East London. A recent project by Res., ‘Alembic’ (2016-18) discussed artistic notions of digital and alchemical transmutation and included research into an archive of Cyberfeminist histories with partner University of Goldsmiths. She has a specialism in collection and archive based projects, including two fellowships: Whitechapel Gallery and Contemporary Art Society ‘Damn Braces: Bless Relaxes’ (2013-14) and at the Artists Council Collection (2011-2013). A particular interest in property in the age of digital sharing, reflected in a recent publication ‘Collections management on the blockchain: A return to the principles of the museum’ in ‘Artists Re:thinking the Blockchain’ (Liverpool University Press, 2017) and has a narrative fictional text on the work of Erica Scourti in ‘Statemachines’ (forthcoming 2018, Institute of Network Culture). She works closely with artist studios, taking seriously the bricks and mortar infrastructures of artistic practice, including helping to develop Temporary Custodians – an alternative to the simple act of ‘owning’ art at Islington Mill (Salford) and is a trustee at Lewisham Art House (London). She has contributed to programmes at South London Gallery, Glasgow International Festival, ICA (London), The Photographers' Gallery (London), Tate (Britain and Modern) and FACT (Liverpool) and has contributed to Transmediale (Berlin) on three occasions.

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Visiting Fellows

Dr Hilmar Schäfer, Visiting Researcher, Faculty of Social and Cultural Sciences at Europa-Universität Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder), Germany (Jan - March 2018).
Dr. Stuart Bertolotti-Bailey, Visiting Research Fellow, The Serving Library (Feb 2017 – Jan 2018). Project supported by Research and Development grant from Arts Council England.
Gabriela Saenger Silva, Visiting Researcher, graduate of Institute of Visual Arts, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil, contributor to Mercosul Visual Arts Biennial Foundation and Liverpool Biennial 2016, 1 July 2017- 30 June 2018.
James Charlton, Visiting Research Fellow, Colab Research Centre, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand (Aug 2016 – April 2017). Supported by the Arts Council of New Zealand.
Jaroslaw Czarnecki, Artists Residency, Academy of Fine Art, Gdansk (October 2016). Supported by Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Warsaw.
Nur Cemelelioğlu Altın – Visiting Researcher from Yıldız Technical University and Gazi University, Fine Art Education Program and New Media Program, Turkey (March 2017).
Silvia Franceschini, Politecnico di Milano, Visiting PhD Fellow (Feb - June 2017).
Jana Lukavečki, Curatorial Assistant, Visiting from the Academy of Applied Arts, University of Rijeka, Croatia (2016-2017). Supported by Erasmus+ Traineeship.
Eleni Mali, Curatorial Assistant, Visiting from Open Hellenic University, Greece (May – July 2016). Supported by Erasmus+ Traineeship.

Visiting speakers

Ei Arakawa, Elise Atangana, Ryan Avent, Elmgreen & Dragset, Jessica Coon, Geoff Cox, , Meehan Crist, Eoin Dara, Juliana Engberg, Marina Fokidis, Kristoffer Gansing, Verina Gfader, Candice Hopkins, Anne Kølbæk Iversen, Silke Otto-Knapp, Lars Bang Larsen, Jacob Lund, Raimundas Malaŝauskas, Francesco Manacorda, Mark Miodownik, Angela Nagle, Jussi Parikka, Alexander Provan, Kuba Szreder, Terry Smith, Cornelia Sollfrank, Wolfgang Sützl, Sally Tallant, Eyal Weizman

Current programme

Soulless, A Fireball is Turning
Thursday 4 October 2018, 5:00-7:00pm

Join students, tutors and friends of MA Culture, Criticism and Curation at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, for an event looking at artistic engagements in the Liverpool Biennial through film screenings and discussion.

For several months MA CCC students have been researching themes related to the Biennial: its history, the concept of sovereignty, Schiller’s poem, the artists invited to participate in 2018, curatorial practice and culture-led regeneration, and the ‘aftermath’ of Documenta 14. The project is testing the possibilities of film-making as a way of communicating curatorial research. The films will express the personal takes of the group on the title of the Biennial, ‘Beautiful World, Where Are You?’

Established in 2013, MA Culture, Criticism and Curation works with two distinctive approaches to curating: allying itself to culture as a broad-based field and treating intellectual and practical work as a joined-up form of enquiry. We see theory and research as foundational to project work, and learning through doing is fundamental to the development of curatorial practice.

Find out more

Exhibition: Paul Elliman ‘Vauxhall Astra 2020’, part of Liverpool Biennial 2018, July-October 2018

Vauxhall Astra 2020, the forthcoming and newest model of a car available since 1979 when General Motors launched the Vauxhall/Opel Astra, is now the only car produced at Ellesmere Port, Liverpool. The Astra 2020 is offered as a constellation of raw materials, half-a-dozen boulders and rock-like lumps of the car’s constituent parts at original scale, made of steel (iron ore), glass, plastic, aluminum, rubber and electrical components.

Talks: Beautiful world, where are you?, curated by The Serving Library for Liverpool Biennial 2018, May-October 2018

Since Spring 2017, The Serving Library has hosted a series of free events including workshops, talks, performances, and screenings at Exhibition Research Lab, Liverpool John Moores University. Now, under the auspices of Liverpool Biennial 2018, we have together assembled a new programme of talks designed to complement the exhibitions and projects elsewhere in the city.

This year’s Biennial is based on a line from a poem by German poet Friedrich Schiller (1759 –1805) 
that was later set to music by Austrian composer Franz Schubert (1797–1828): ‘Beautiful world, where are you?’. At irregular intervals between May and October, an eclectic list of speakers from fields as diverse as economics, biology, linguistics, media theory, architecture and painting are invited to directly address or indirectly refract Schiller’s hanging question.

All events are free and open to everyone, booking is required.

Talks 6.30–7.30pm, doors open/drinks from 6pm.

Thursday 24 May
Native Economies: From the Potlatch Ban to the Masks of Beau Dick
A performative talk by Candice Hopkins (Art Historian and Curator, Toronto)

Thursday 7 June
Forensic Aesthetics
A talk by Eyal Weizman (Founder, Forensic Architecture, Goldsmiths College, London)

Thursday 28 June
Outside the Hit Factory
A talk by Alexander Provan (Editor and Co-founder, Triple Canopy, New York)

Thursday 5 July
Moonlight and LED
An exchange between Liverpool Biennial 2018 artists Ei Arakawa (New York) and Silke Otto-Knapp (Los Angeles)

Thursday 26 July
Climate Grief and the Visible Horizon
A talk by Meehan Crist (Writer-in-residence in Biological Sciences, Columbia University, New York)

Thursday 13 September
Self-Repairing Cities
A talk by Mark Miodownik (Professor of Materials and Society, University College London)

Thursday 27 September
The Fabric of the Planetary Surface
A talk by Jussi Parikka (Professor of Technological Culture and Aesthetics, University of Southampton, UK, and Docent of Digital Culture Theory, University of Turku, Finland)

Thursday 11 October
A Great Enchanted Garden: Can AI Give Us Back Our Sense of Wonder?
A talk by Ryan Avent (Senior Editor and Free Exchange Columnist, The Economist, Arlington, USA)

Thursday 18 October
Reclaiming Beauty as a Public Good
A talk by Angela Nagle (Writer, author of Kill All Normies, Dublin and New York)

Friday 26 October
Aliens, Fieldwork, and Universal Grammar
A talk by Jessica Coon (Associate Professor of Linguistics, McGill University, Montreal) and a conversation with Vincenzo Latronico (Writer, translator and guest co-editor of The Serving Library Annual 2018/19)

For more information please visit: www.servinglibrary.org/programs.

Programme 2016/2017

Residency: The Serving Library, 2017/2018
Exhibition: Suzanne Treister’s HFT The Gardener, part of Liverpool Biennial 2016, 7 July – 16 October 2016; James Charlton, Catch|Bounce: towards a relational ontology of the digital in art practice, 13 - 24 March 2017
Conference: The Biennial Condition: On Contemporaneity and the Episodic, Liverpool Biennial 2016, 7 – 8 October 2016
Research Intensive: Excessive Research, international research workshop, partnership with Aarhus University, Denmark and Transmediale Festival for Art and Digital Culture, Berlin, 3 – 4 November 2015

Residency 2017/2018

Exhibition Research Lab is currently hosting a long term residency of The Serving Library. The Serving Library comprises a collection of framed objects on permanent display in the gallery, a smaller collection of bound books, and online and printed versions of biannual arts journal (Bulletins of The Serving Library). The gallery serves as a “satellite seminar room” based on this material, hosting irregular classes for university-level art, design or writing students (from local, national and international schools) as well as a series of public talks. The enterprise is currently funded by a Research and Development grant from Arts Council England.



For more information see the Exhibition Research Lab's Facebook and Instagram.

Related events

Contact details

Get in touch with researchers from the Exhibition Research Lab

If you’d like to ask a question or find out more information, please contact the team using the details below.

Contact: Prof Joasia Krysa

Email: J.M.Krysa@ljmu.ac.uk


Exhibition Research Lab
John Lennon Art and Design Building
Duckinfield Street
L3 5RD