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Online Residency

Sean Nairn

Cooper Summer Residency 2017: Seán Elder

Seán Elder
Cooper Summer Residency 2017

Encountering [in difference]

Cooper Summer Residency 2017 is an online art & critical writing project that takes place across Cooper Gallery’s website, social media channels and Group Critical Writing site. Writer and curator Seán Elder will reflect upon the key questions and debates raised by Cooper Gallery’s recent programme whilst intersecting them with his own research into queer theory and the formation of collective histories.

Follow our online spaces to encounter the accumulating new writing and unfolding research produced and shared by Seán during the residency.

Cooper Summer Residency is an annual programme for artists, writers and thinkers to reflect upon and experiment with ideas and strategies that will extend their practice. It is a social and discursive situation for dialogues and debates to take place between residency artists, writers, thinkers and publics, providing an alternative way to encounter, reflect and critique the plurality of contemporary culture. Previous residencies have included artist duo Cullinan Richards, 2016; Thingness? with artists Oliver Braid, Anouchka Oler and Philosopher Joseph Fletcher, 2015; and Invisible Residency with writer Mel Gooding and artist Bruce McLean.

Cooper Gallery initiated Group Critical Writing programme with writer Maria Fusco in 2014 that advocates for experimental, radical and critical writing about arts and culture in Scotland and beyond. The accumulating texts produced by Seán during the residency will be published on the Group Critical Writing website.

Seán Elder is a Birmingham-based Curator from the far North of Scotland. He is currently Associate Curator at Grand Union and his research seeks to situate the Curatorial as a site for potential development and mobilisation in relation to Queer and Other’d art practices. He completed an MLitt in Curatorial Practice (Contemporary Art) at Glasgow School of Art in 2016.

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Download text: Identity is not a conclusion



Brought together by


In the navy‌‌

Download text: 18 July


Co-ordinates to stay angry within and around.

1. Lee Edelman’s No Future: Queer Futurity and the Death Drive [Thank you to artist
Gordon Douglas whose copy of this I still have in my bookcase] in which the writer argues
for the de-identification with a notion of futurity within the Queer political agenda.

2. José Esteban Muñoz’s Cruising Utopias: The Then and There of Queer Futurity [Thank you to whoever recommended Muñoz’s writing to me, I can’t remember who you are but I owe you thanks] in which the writer argues that a de-identification with a notion of futurity within the Queer political agenda is unlikely regarded as an option to Queer People of Colour whose moving towards a better future is sometimes all the fuel they have to keep battling.

3. Elke Krasny’s Curatorial Materialism: A Feminist Perspective on Independent and Co-Dependent Curating in which the artist examines the curatorial turns roots in Feminist intervention and anti-formalist approaches and how this might be tackled in the contemporary. This made me wonder about the spectre of the curator as inherently gendered and the notion of authorship perhaps being particularly volatile when we consider the high amount of male artists and female curators and how this dynamic might operate.

4. "Édouard Glissant's For Opacity becomes a means of understanding a strategy for survival, and ambiguity as a means for facilitating knowledge production. This was something I hadn't heard articulated so clearly until Övül Durmu?o?lu discussed her own thoughts and processes of exhibition-making in a recent Curatorial Curriculum session in Birmingham at Grand Union Gallery.

See also: Créolité - the process of creolising, two creating a new third, something that had been written about (in relation to curating) to death by Hans-Ulrich Obrist.


Bringing into proximity

Download text: Bringing into proximity



Download text: Not so different


A Glossary

Download text: A Glossary


Making a world through gesture

Download text: 22 August

A prelude

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