16-23 March, Katy Barrett

This week, art curator Katy takes over the account, and will be thinking about how we see and record the world, as well as what it actually means to be a curator. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing her photographs of shadows!

Hello, my name’s Katy, although in the Twittersphere I’m better known as @SpoonsonTrays. Despite appearances, I know comparatively little about spoons (or trays) although I do now collect them, as well as spotting them at 20 paces in any museum, thanks to how people have picked up on myhttp://www.spoonsontrays.com and Twitter handle.

I’m an art curator, historian and blogger. My day job is Curator of Art, pre-1800 at Royal Museums Greenwich, where I’ve worked for about 18 months on a number of exciting projects. My Twitter account is very much my own thing, as will be my week on ‘We the Humanities’, but I inevitably spend time talking about my job. I’ve just opened an exhibition that brings the history of our site and collections together with a contemporary art commission. Unseen: The Lives of Looking by Dryden Goodwin seems particularly suited to ‘We the Humanities’ as it’s all about how we see and record the world. It’s thoroughly interdisciplinary, mixing art, astronomy, surgery, law and more.

Interdisciplinarity is something I’m interested in more broadly. Although I’m an art curator, I did my PhD in a history of science department on the cultural history of the longitude problem in the eighteenth century. I’ve written a lot about that on our research project blog.  If you’d like to know more. I’m interested in how both the sources and methodologies of different disciplines can usefully inform each other. Of course I also think objects are central to that.

When I’m not working or thinking about these sorts of big disciplinary questions, I tend to be found in a museum or gallery visiting exhibitions. I tweet a lot as I go around these as I find it a useful means of distilling my thoughts. I also often end up having interesting conversations with fellow enthusiasts on Twitter during my visit. I’ll be continuing that practice while I’m curating the ‘We the Humanities’ account, as well as sharing my love of photographing shadows.

And then there’s that word ‘curating’. There’s endless discussion among museum people and on social media about whether the word curating is overused and inappropriate to many of its new contexts. Can I curate a Twitter feed? I’d love some responses on that during my week.


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