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University of the Arts Helsinki's Academy of Fine Arts

Invitation to the public examination of Lauren O’Neal's doctoral thesis

Dear All,

University of the Arts Helsinki's Academy of Fine Arts has the pleasure of inviting you to the public examination of a doctoral thesis in fine arts.

Date: Friday 26 May 2023 at 12 pm
Venue: The University of the Arts Helsinki, Haapaniemenkatu 6, 00530 Helsinki. (Only on-site event)
Author of the thesis: Lauren O’Neal, Master of Fine Arts
Title of the thesis: Assembling a Praxis: Choreographic Thinking and Curatorial Agency
Examiner: Adesola Akinleye, PhD (Texas Woman’s University) 
Chair: Mika Elo, Professor (University of the Arts Helsinki's Academy of Fine Arts)

Lauren O´Neal, who will defend her doctoral research at the end of May at Uniarts Helsinki’s Academy of Fine Arts, explores the intersections between visual and performing arts in her research. She incorporates choreographic thinking into exhibition curating processes and sees galleries as dynamic “situations” where the art experience, for both curator and audience, becomes deeper through active engagement. O´Neal frames her curatorial process through the lens of movement, experimentation, and conversation, for example.

Assembling a Praxis: Choreographic Thinking and Curatorial Agency imagines a site where the curatorial and the choreographic meet. Rather than seeing an exhibition as an answer—a static proof of concept or a demonstration of knowledge—I consider exhibition-making to be a dynamic method of prototyping. Within this research, I examine how narratives emerge in open-ended curatorial practice complicate notions of authorship, investigate the influence of movement, and delineate the contours of curatorial dramaturgy. Throughout this research, I emphasize the vital role of curiosity, experimentation, and desire.”

Lauren O’Neal is an interdisciplinary artist, curator, arts administrator, and educator. She has exhibited her artwork at the Portland Museum of Art, the Housatonic Museum of Art, Purdue University, and the Theater Academy. Her movement-based work includes performing in pieces by Trisha Brown, Heidi Latsky, and Ryan McNamara at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston and Harvard University, and producing collaborative performance art at Mobius, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Maine College of Art. O’Neal has been a recipient of grants and residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, the Somerville Arts Council, New England Foundation for the Arts, and Uniarts Helsinki. Her curatorial projects have taken place at venues including the Lamont Gallery, the Federal Reserve Bank, the Somerville Museum, and the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center Gallery at Brown University. O’Neal holds an MFA from Maine College of Art, an Ed.M. from Harvard University, an A.B. from Wellesley College, and has additional training from the Zodiak Center for New Dance, Movement Research, the Trisha Brown Company, and the Exeter Humanities Institute. Previously, O’Neal was the director and curator of the Lamont Gallery, Phillips Exeter Academy, and a visiting fellow at the Harvard University Graduate Program in Arts & Sciences. Currently, she is a senior lecturer at Boston University’s Graduate Program in Arts Administration.

The doctoral thesis can be read in the University of the Arts Helsinki publication archive Taju.

Photo: Prototyping during the Clew: A Rich and Rewarding Disorientation exhibition, Lamont Gallery, 2017.




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