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  • Dorothée Jourdain

Barbara Scales, co-editor of TURBA

We are proud to announce that our president, Barbara Scales, is a co-editor of the new journal TURBA: The Journal for Global Practices in Live Arts Curation.


TURBA is the first journal for the study, theory, and praxis of curatorial strategies in the live arts. The live arts are broadly defined as those arts in which contingent, momentary acts and events, performed by human or other autonomous agents, are crucial to the aesthetic perception and the emergence of meaning in ephemeral time-based work. They include, but are not limited to, dance, music, sound art, theatre, performance art, verbal arts, circus arts, live media arts and inter-arts performance works. With this journal, we aim to create a platform for the exploration of ideas, concepts, constraints, expectations, and contingencies which guide and drive curatorial practices in these fields.

Within the live arts, the term “curation” is used in a manner that is largely, but not entirely, analogous to its use in the visual arts. The Latin root of the word “curation” is curare, meaning “to take care of” or “to heal.” Live arts curators mediate the intellectual, societal, and aesthetic contexts, as well as the presentational models, which support the development, dissemination, and reception of artistic work. They negotiate relationships between artists, artistic works, audiences, administrators, archives, the media, and society. With TURBA, we aim to foster a community of critical discourse about live arts curation across traditions, genres, communities, generations, cultures, disciplines, and aesthetics.

We seek to connect, amplify, and contextualize movements and voices, thus making TURBA a seismographic observatory for the impact of the live arts on societies and cultures around the globe.


While the curatorial has a long history in the visual arts, the notion of “curating live arts” is relatively recent—about two generations old—with academic discourse on the subject only emerging just over a decade ago. How did it appear in the cultural landscape? Under which societal and artistic conditions does live arts curation thrive? How, through its framing of the living moment, does it enable us to engage with experiences? The inaugural issue of TURBA invites reflection on how and why the notion of live arts curation emerges, occurs, and evolves. This reflection could concern the histories, the structural and social contexts, and the aesthetics of the praxis, or the definition of the term itself. For example, how did the notion of live arts curation take hold in Europe and North America? How is it evolving in other traditions and cultures beyond these initial contexts? Have artists always “curated” their performances, their seasons, their presence in society, albeit without using the term itself? TURBA invites contributions to this growing conversation and community that address and nurture the question: why curate live arts?

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