Our PURPOSE and PRIORITIES
aka our Mission, Mandate, Vision, and Objectives
Critical Distance Centre for Curators (CDCC) is a not-for-profit gallery, publisher, and professional network devoted to the support and advancement of curatorial inquiry in Toronto, Canada, and beyond.
Our mission springs from the interests, motivations and methodologies of contemporary curatorial practice, foregrounding critical inquiry, collaboration, and experimentation in making new connections between artists, art forms, ideas, images, objects, environments, and audiences. In providing an open platform for the support and presentation of research, development, writing, design, and production of exhibitions and other curatorial projects, Critical Distance seeks to stimulate curiosity, conversation, and critical thinking on contemporary culture and the act of curating itself through the lenses of collecting, organizing, displaying, and viewing or experiencing.
Education has always been central to our mission as well—for curators, of course, but also for colleagues, artists, and general audiences, to make a case for the necessity and value of critically-engaged curatorial practices. Public interest in curating has never been greater, yet misunderstandings regarding what curators actually do, and the crucial, often invisible role they play in bringing artists and audiences together, continue to beleaguer the profession.
Far beyond mere selection or pretensions to connoisseurship, and transcending conventional assumptions of curating’s role as primarily interpretive or administrative, we seek to recuperate and reimagine curating as the care-full balancing of the practical and the poetic to manifest as yet undiscovered potentials within our projects to foster meaningful and lasting connections between people and ideas. All aspects of our program are reflective of this pedagogical imperative and philosophy, through which curators, artists, organizations, and audiences alike are afforded equal respect, care, and consideration within the context of the art encounter—as there is no exhibition without each other.
As a cross-disciplinary/hybrid organization, CDCC pursues multiple interrelated objectives:
CRITICAL CURATING, COMPELLING PROGRAMMING
To provide an open, inclusive platform for curators to mount fully-realized exhibitions within a critical framework, supported by robust publishing and programming
To encourage diverse, innovative, and accessible curatorial perspectives and practices that tackle relevant, urgent and compelling topics and themes
COMMUNITY BUILDING, OUTREACH, DISCOURSE
To foster curatorial community, critical discourse, and meaningful connections within/between local/international sectors and spheres
To provide a welcoming, safe, and accessible space for all to encounter art, ideas, and each other across socio-cultural divides
CURATORIAL RESOURCES, EDUCATION, ACTIVISM
To offer learning opportunities and shared resources for curators at all stages of professional development
To engage in public education of what curators do and promote ethical curatorial practices and economic sustainability in the arts
With a focus on critically-engaged, collaborative, and cross-disciplinary practices, underrepresented artists and art forms, and community outreach and education in art and exhibition-making, Critical Distance is an open platform for diverse curatorial perspectives, and a forum for the exchange of ideas on curating as a way to connect, engage, and inform people and publics across cultures, disciplines, geographies, and generations.