Hannah Keating, a graduate student in Art History at Carleton, recently won the prestigious Dr. Shirley L. Thomson Award for Young Curators at the Canadian Museums Associations (CMA) Awards, one of three CMA prizes that went to Carleton this year.
The Thomson award, named for the former director of the National Gallery of Canada, provides young graduates with high quality, hands-on learning experiences. Keating will be taking up an internship in historical Canadian art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
It’s a perfect stepping stone for Keating, who will be looking for more real-world experience after recently submitting her Master of Arts thesis examining the work that Ottawa artist Leslie Reid did while participating in the Canadian Forces Artists Program. Reid travelled with the Canadian military through Northern Canada and the High Arctic. Keating places this contemporary work in the context of historic mapping of the North done by the Royal Canadian Air Force during the mid-20th century.
“I had the opportunity to meet and interview Leslie Reid. Her work is so stimulating and we share a lot of similar interests. I’m glad she was on board with my project and loved getting to talk to her about her work in depth,” Keating said.
“Writing my thesis was challenging and rewarding. The scale of a thesis project can be intimidating because you learn as you go and succeed by trusting the process. This was perhaps the most valuable thing I learned … I am eager to pursue new opportunities that will make use of these skills and perspectives and I hope I can return to some of the ideas and research from my thesis in the future.”
As Keating looks back on her time at Carleton she is very appreciative of the support she received.
“What I value most about my graduate experience are the people I have had the privilege of meeting and working with. That includes my thesis supervisor, Dr. Carol Payne, who has been such an incredible source of support.
“I am also grateful to my fellow MA students. We all brought diverse and critical perspectives to the experience and as a result we really challenged and supported one another in ways that made all the difference.’’
Carleton’s concentration in curatorial studies, a unique program developed in collaboration with the National Gallery, combines art historical training with curatorial studies.
“Through a combination of graduate-level art history seminars, behind-the-scenes work at the National Gallery, and on-the-job practicum placements, Hannah and her peers receive world-class training which will be invaluable in their future careers,” said Ming Tiampo, director of Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Culture.
Keating’s position at the WAG will run for 15 weeks beginning mid-May. She will be working on research and writing for upcoming exhibitions, interviewing artists, and meeting and conducting business with art collectors in the city while working on both historical and contemporary shows. She will also be introduced to members of Winnipeg’s vibrant contemporary arts scene.
The WAG, Canada’s oldest civic art gallery, was established in 1912. It has a collection of some 25,000 objects by Canadian and international artists and is renowned for having the largest and quite arguably the best collection of Inuit art in the world.
Keating’s supervisor at the WAG will be Andrew Kear who is the curator of Historical Canadian Art and a former Carleton student. Andrew got his MA in Art History at Carleton and curated an exhibition at the Carleton University Art Gallery about portraiture during his time here.
“In addition to her scholarly achievements, I was impressed by Hannah’s demonstrated interest in bringing the two solitudes of historical and contemporary Canadian art into meaningful dialogue,” Kear said.
Two other nominees from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences have won CMA awards as well.
Brian Foss, director of the School for Studies in Art and Culture and professor of Art History, is also the curator of Quebec and Canadian Art at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. He received the Award of Outstanding Achievement in Exhibitions – Art for his co-curated exhibition, with Jacques Des Rochers, 1920s Modernism in Montreal: The Beaver Hall Group, currently on view at the Art Gallery of Hamilton.
CUAG, together with Gallery 101 and the Walking With Our Sisters Ottawa and National Committees, received the Award of Outstanding Achievement in Exhibitions – Cultural Heritage for Walking With Our Sisters Ottawa, a commemorative installation presented at CUAG last fall to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people.
Walking With Our Sisters Ottawa received a second, newly-created honour, the Award for Outstanding Achievement for best exhibition of the year. Fiona Wright, CUAG’s Art Gallery Education Assistant, accepted the awards.
The awards were presented during a ceremony on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax.