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Curation During the Time of Covid

Image Credit: Chris Landau for Sean Stoops

Saturday, February 20, 2021

9:00 AM 10:00 AM

Ely Center of Contemporary Art

51 Trumbull StreetNew Haven, CT 06510USA

Zoran Poposki (Hong Kong)

Susie Quillinan (Peru)

Konjit Seyoum (Ethiopia)

Sean Stoops (Philadelphia)

Mary Sherman (Boston)


Debbie Hesse (New Haven)

This is the fifth installment of live virtual roundtable events taking place during the Transart (notso) Short Fest screening at ECOCA through Feb 28 in the ECOCA Lounge and on-line. The talks feature festival artists from across the globe discussing a range of creative strategies in concert with their studio practice and philosophy as they go about making work within the construct of today’s environmental, social and political challenges.

Zoran Poposki, FRSA, MFA, PhD is an award-winning transdisciplinary artist, curator, and cultural studies scholar based in Hong Kong. Dr Poposki explores cultural translation, liminality, identity, and public space through painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, performance, video, curating, and publishing. His work has been shown in 100 exhibitions, screenings and festivals worldwide, including: 30th Biennial of Graphic Arts Ljubljana, XIII Cairo Biennale, Institute of Contemporary Arts London, Xi'an Art Museum in China, National Gallery of Macedonia, Museum of Contemporary Art Skopje, Minsheng Art Museum Beijing, Art Basel Hong Kong, City Art Museum Ljubljana, Sergey Kuryokhin Modern Art Center in St. Petersburg, National Museum of Montenegro, CICA Museum in South Korea, etc. Dr Poposki's curatorial projects have been presented at: Hong Kong Arts Centre, Osage Gallery Hong Kong, Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art Manchester, Anita Chan Lai-ling Gallery Hong Kong, Videotage Hong Kong, Hong Kong Science and Technology Park, ArtStays International Festival of Contemporary Art Slovenia, etc. Dr Poposki is a member of Independent Curators International (ICI).

Susie Quillinan is a curatorial researcher based in Lima, Peru. She has developed curatorial programming, editorial projects and study programmes in Lima, New York, Berlin, Melbourne, Bogotá and Mexico City. Susie's current research focuses on practices of collective reading and study, weaving as discursive methodology and a curatorial ethics of accompaniment. Susie is currently co-director of HAWAPI, an organisation that each year takes a group of interdisciplinary practitioners to a place where a particular struggle (political, social, environmental, often all overlapping) is central to daily life. HAWAPI has worked in places such as informal gold mining settlements in the Amazon; disputed territory on the Peru-Chile border; a FARC ex-combatants re-incorporation camp in Colombia; and with a family of campesinos and land rights’ activists in the Peruvian Andes who are resisting eviction from their land by a multinational mining consortium; among others. HAWAPI's primary mission is to challenge artists to deepen their engagement with the nature of how they approach work related to sites of conflict or struggle in order to develop more nuanced public conversations around issues impacting communities beyond major urban centres. The participants develop works, interventions and interpellations in public space, with and alongside the place and community members. These encounters are followed by opportunities for presentation and discussion via exhibitions, public programming, public conversations and publications. In addition to research and development of each edition, Susie is the lead editor of publications. From 2015-2020 Susie worked with Transart in various roles including most recently as MFA Program Manager. She is currently a candidate in the PhD - Curatorial Practice program at MADA, Monash (Australia).

Konjit Seyoum (b. 1963 Addis Ababa) is a freelance conference interpreter who was trained at the School of Interpretation and Translation at the University of Trieste, Italy. In 1996 Seyoum opened ASNI Gallery in Addis Ababa with the aim to promote contemporary Ethiopian art, focusing on experimentation and supporting young and emerging artists. She conceived ASNI as an independent alternative space that runs with no predefined programs and maintains a low budget, avoiding aid, sponsorship, funds, and even art sales in most cases. She has curated numerous solo and group shows, and has organized talks, workshops, residencies, community works, and children’s activities. Seyoum has also been promoting innovative vegetarian cooking at her gallery, drawing on traditional Ethiopian cuisine. She creates black and white photographic works that emanate from her time-based cotton sculptures through which she explores womanhood, the personal, and spirituality.

Sean Stoops is an independent curator, new media artist, and writer based in Philadelphia, PA. Stoops holds a MFA in video art and curating from Transart Institute, Donau University, Austria- an international graduate program for new media art and creative practice (locations also in Berlin, Germany; Brooklyn, NYC; and Plymouth, UK). He earned his BFA in painting and drawing from Tyler School of Art, Elkins Park, PA and studied at Temple University Abroad in Rome, Italy. In the spring of 2005, Stoops organized INHABIT: an Apartment Installation, a site-specific group exhibition about post-modern domesticity, in his former West Philly apartment. Stoops has curated and exhibited at galleries and museums in Philadelphia including: Painted Bride Art Center, Asian Arts Initiative, Rebekah Templeton Contemporary Art, International House/Lightbox and, in winter 2011, was visiting curator of Bird Cages and the Gilded Boat at the ISE Cultural Foundation, in Manhattan, NYC. Stoops organized and directed site specific mural animated films: Muralmorphosis (2009) and Cosmic Terrarium (2010), in cooperation with the Mural Arts Program of Philadelphia. In April 2012, Stoops was named as one of thirty-five art project award winners to receive grants that year from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of its Knight Arts Challenge, which funds innovative projects that engage and enrich Philadelphia’s communities. As a result, Stoops curated and launched "Animated Architecture: 3D Video Mapping Projections on Historic Philadelphia Sites," a recurring series of site-specific outdoor/indoor video art events, usually held at night and screened at various Philadelphia buildings. In summer 2016, Sean Stoops brought Animated Architecture video art works to Brooklyn, NY as a pop-up gallery installation at Rabbitholestudio in DUMBO. Stoops was invited to guest curate Under the Knife: Contemporary Cut Paper Art at Hicks Art Center, Newtown, Pennsylvania in fall 2017. In recent years, Sean Stoops has been focusing on immersive, interactive, and virtual / augmented reality art projects and is always searching for digital artists for collaborations.

Mary Sherman ( is an American artist, curator, director of TransCultural Exchange and adjunct professor at Boston College. She has written for various publications (including for the Chicago Sun-Times, Boston Globe, Boston Review and ARTnews) and, in 2010, served as the interim Associate Director of MIT's Program in Art, Culture and Technology. Her grants and awards include three Fulbright Senior Specialist Grants (Taipei, Trondheim and Istanbul), and artist-in-residencies at such institutions as MIT, Cité international des arts and the Taipei Artist Village. Among the shows she's curated, two received awards from the Northeast Chapter of the International Art Critics Association. Her recent project TransCultural Exchange Hello World was created to address COVID-19 crisis’ travel restrictions and interacting with others. The result is a virtual travelogue of artworks created by 250 artists. With the mere click of a mouse, stay-at-home voyagers can now collaborate with artists around the globe, listen to music from a mix of cultures, browse galleries of contemporary artists’ works and take in movies and dance pieces from around the world. Her own works explore the intersection of technology, the fine arts, scientific inquiry and aesthetic research. At the core of her investigation is the role of the senses in knowledge acquisition and the impact of technology’s mediation of these. Her works have been shown at numerous and varied institutions, including Taipei's Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, the International Digital Art Biennale (BIAN), ars libri Boston (organized by Mario Diacono), Beijing's Central Conservatory, the London Biennale, APO-33, and New York's Trans Hudson Gallery. In 2016 Goldsmith University Press published a survey of her work, Mary Sherman: What if You Could Hear a Painting.

Debbie Hesse is an award winning installation artist, curator and educator who brings communities together around social, cultural, political and environmental ideas and issues through her unique light-based installation art and innovative curatorial and programmatic initiatives. Hesse is a practicing artist who also enjoys helping other artists through curatorial community building. Hesse serves as Gallery Director and Curator at Ely Center of Contemporary Art (where she is also on the board) after a fifteen-year tenure as Director of Artistic Services & Programs at The Arts Council of Greater New Haven where she curated over two hundred exhibitions. Hesse holds a B.A. from Smith College, a Masters in Painting and Printmaking from University of New Mexico where she was a fellow at Tamarind Institute of Lithography. She has been a panelist and juror for many arts organizations including the Cultural Affairs Office for the City of New Haven, the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism and the Sea Grant Program at University of Connecticut.

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