Exhibition Research Centre

Exhibition Research Lab

Institute of Art and Technology

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

Lab Leader: Professor Joasia Krysa

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

ERL supports research in the field of curating and its most dominant form, the exhibition. It points to the understanding of curatorial practice as a form of critical inquiry and knowledge production. It extends the traditional remit of an art gallery as a site for display or pedagogical resource, to an expanded concept of a ‘lab’ where experimental thinking and making takes place, and where curatorial knowledge is enacted, produced and made public.

Exhibition Research lab specialises in curatorial, museum and archival practices, and exhibition research.

Exhibition Research Lab produces:

  • Exhibitions
  • Public programme
  • Research residencies
  • Visiting fellowships
  • Publications
  • Postgraduate education and doctoral research

Exhibition Research Lab serves diverse audiences through its gallery and public programme, including exhibitions, events, talks, seminars, conferences, and workshops. The residency and fellowship programme is dedicated to connecting international artists, curators and scholars working across diverse disciplines.

The publications serves to disseminate the work of the Exhibition Research Lab and its key partners globally, and include contemporary art journal Stages in partnership with Liverpool Biennial, and book series DATA Browser, published by Open Humanities Press.

Education programmes include MA Exhibition Studies in partnership with Liverpool Biennial and PhD opportunities.


Prof Joasia Krysa, Professor of Exhibition Research, in partnership with Liverpool Biennial

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.

Adam Carr

Senior Lecturer in Fine Art

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.


Jonathan Hoskins

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Mara Ambrožič

PhD researcher, LJMU scholarship, 2016-19

Project title: Start-Up Cultures: Understanding the Emerging Institutional Condition of the Art World
The doctoral research 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.

Pascal Bircher

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

Project title: From Archetypal Stories to Alternative Facts: Exploring Narrative, Meaning, Identity and Reality in the Neoliberal Digital Age
The research 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.

Sevie Tsampalla

PhD Researcher LJMU scholarship, 2016-19

Project title: Commoning the Biennial? A critical investigation in emerging forms of instituting biennials

The doctoral research 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 scholarship, 2017-20

Project title: Reconsidering Artist-Led Practice in the Conscious North

The doctoral research 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).

Gabriela Silva

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Helen Kaplinsky

Visiting researcher, 2018/2019

Project title: Hypertext Reading Group ‘Flickering Monstrosity’
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 Speakers and Residencies

Dr Hilmar Schäfer, Visiting Researcher, Faculty of Social and Cultural Sciences at Europa-Universität Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder), Germany (Jan - March 2018).
Jorge Menna Barreto, in partnership with Liverpool Biennial 2019/2020

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.

Rosa Johan Uddoh, LJMU's Liverpool Biennial Fellow 2018/2019

Ariel Schlesinger

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


Research Intensives and Seminar Series

Hypertext Reading Group ‘Flickering Monstrosity’, series developed by Helen Kaplinsky;

Open Forum: on artist-led, series developed by James Schofield

Contemporary Research, in partnership with Aarhus University, Denmark and Research Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2017

Excessive Research, in partnership with Aarhus University, Denmark, and Transmediale Festival for Art and Digital Culture, Berlin, 2015/2016

Exhibitions and Residencies

Quantum Real: Art and Particles, featuring Matthew Willson  and Jol Thompson, curated by Lars Bang Larsen and Joasia Krysa, 2018/2019

John Moores Painting Prize, curated by Hanna Leaper, 2019

The Serving Library, and Paul Elliman’s Vauxhall Astra 2020, part of  Liverpool Biennial 2018

Catch|Bounce: towards a relational ontology of the digital in art practice, James Charlton, doctoral project and exhibition, 2017

HFT The Gardener by Suzanne Treister,  part of Liverpool Biennial 2016

Conferences and Talks

Curating Now: curating in the age of globalisation, biennalisation, and Artificial Intelligence, Keynote, Krysa, J. Annual Conference of Spanish Researchers in the UK, Liverpool University, June 2019, UK.

Beautiful World, Where Are You?, programme of talks curated by The Serving Library, in partnership with Liverpool Biennial 2018

Design and Empire, curated by Emily King and Prem Krishnamurthy, in partnership with Liverpool Biennial and RIBA North, 2017

The Biennial Condition: On Contemporaneity and the Episodic, in partnership with Aarhus University and Liverpool Biennial 2016

Current programme

For details of Current and Past programme go to:

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.

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