Research focus

Informed by her practice as an artist-curator and educator, as a researcher, Jacina aligns with the fields of post-representational curatorial practice, critical pedagogies, social practice and more-than-human futures. 

As a researcher, Jacina has worked with ACMI to explore the perceived and lived experiences of audience engagement, and how such learnings can inform the co-development of responsive methods of intergenerational engagement. She has investigated self-tracking interventions by contemporary artists and the omniscient and omnipresent advancement of human and more-than-human self-tracking entanglements. More recently, together with Larissa Hjorth and Jen Rae, Jacina engaged in research that explored how creative practitioners are responding to ecological grief, and how creative practice can be used to mobilise shared practices of care, connection and community. 

Her PhD (completed in 2023, details below) explores the conceptual, methodological and practical tensions of care, at play in post-representational curatorial practice, and the real-world implications and challenges of practising care within pandemic-impacted, colonial capitalist organisational systems and structures. The major creative output of her PhD was caring in and through our practices, an online resource developed to cultivate shared practitioner reflexivity, through questions that prompt practitioners to consider not only the complexities of care, but also the purposes, values, and ethics of our practices. 

PhD: Caring in and through our practices: towards shared and reflexive communities of curatorial care 

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), RMIT University, 2023

Open access to dissertation here.

For post-representational curatorial practice, to explore and respond to the many globally implicated and radically situated crises occurring at this moment is a weighted undertaking. Post-representational curatorial practice is not about staging or producing exhibitions, but a lively practice of actively and deliberately bringing people together through social and transdisciplinary approaches to knowledge production, translation and transmission. It is a practice that shares its origins with the dematerialisation of the art as object, new institutionalism, and the educational turn, and has expanded across cultural and civic spaces—for collectively thinking about and making sense of how human and more-than-human worlds are shifting. This is a practice where different kinds of stories and imaginaries, experiences and capabilities can become meaningful ways to gather, to contemplate and think through converging crises—from climate collapse to global pandemics—and learn to live well with uncertain and possible futures.

This creative practice-led research project demonstrates that to care within relational and differently affected worlds also activates a range of tensions about our practices, which we as curatorial practitioners increasingly find ourselves grappling with. These are tensions that prompt us to reconsider how neoliberal capitalism, systems and structures inextricably linked to colonialism, shape the (temporal, hierarchical, extractive, inequitable) organising logics of the organisations in which our practices occur. In turn, they rub against the choices we make in deciding for whom do we care, what for, why and how, in and through our practices. In a pandemic-impacted world, in which a crisis of care has highlighted the very real need for redressing caring imbalances, including within the arts sector, where do we as curators—whose discipline shares an etymological link with the Latin word curare, meaning to take care of—begin?

Thinking with a host of intersectional, decolonial, antiracist and multispecies feminist thinkers, voices whose scholarship on care recognise that care is situated, care is an ethical obligation and a practical labour, care is complex and relational, care is speculative, this research project argues that it is precisely at the intersection of these tensions of practice that we, as practitioners, begin. Underpinned by feminist care ethics, this creative research-led project arrives at this understanding informed by a series of interviews and workshops with practitioners whose practices traverse post-representational curatorial practice. A qualitative analysis of these relational, affective and generative research components identified the need and want for prefiguring a community of care, and the conditions and tools for engaging with shared reflexivity, between and among practitioners, within and across institutional affiliations. Informed by these findings, and a practice fifteen years in the making, accompanying this dissertation is the creative work, caring in and through our practices.

The creative work is an online resource and pedagogical tool, presented as a website, which I have developed (as a proof of concept) for practitioners to engage with through a series of scaffolded questions organised around four interrelated themes—Grounding Practice, Doing Practice, Troubling Practice and Extending Practice. caring in and through our practices is not a templated manual on how to do practice. Rather, it is designed to prompt and facilitate shared practitioner reflexivity. In doing so, as care (ethics) does not prescribe how to care, caring in and through our practices is a pedagogical invocation for us as practitioners to:

  • make space and time to navigate, together, the potentialities and possibilities, limitations and accountabilities of post-representational curatorial practice; 
  • become attuned conceptually, methodologically and practically to what needs to be transformed, what is transforming, and how we might be able to do so at different scales;
  • collectively manifest the kinds of curatorial practices, and responsive and equitable organisations, our complex futures demand; and to
  • take turns, as practitioners, in caring with, for, and about each other’s practices.

This research project argues that creating space, collectively, for this kind of practitioner reflexivity, by sitting with questions that do not always have clear answers, is ultimately an act of shared intent: for maintaining, repairing, and, where necessary and possible, transmogrifying elements of our curatorial practices and organisational systems and structures that no longer serve.