Curatorial Forum

2016 Curatorial Forum Symposium at the Graham Foundation

The Curatorial Forum, presented by EXPO CHICAGO in partnership with Independent Curators International (ICI), brings together 30-45 mid-career and established U.S.-based curators, working independently or with an institutional affiliation, the opportunity during the annual fair to engage with their peers and generate conversations around the civic responsibilities of museums, accessibility, regionalism, and race and representation. In 2017, for the first time since the inception of the program, the Curatorial Forum featured a series of sessions focused on critical questions relevant to contemporary practice and context, led by internationally recognized leaders in the field. This format has since informed the core of the program.

2020 brought the issue of racial equity to the forefront of institutional and curatorial fields. In response, EXPO CHICAGO and ICI hosted a special virtual convening of the Curatorial Forum on Thursday, September 24, 2020 to generate new conversations on how museums and institutions can both respond and commit to long-term, meaningful change. The online discussion, composed of three peer-led Zoom sessions with past participants and new Chicago-based leaders, centered on racial equity in US museums and institutions and promoted the Forum’s two main goals—advancing civic-minded practice and the role of curators in empowering local art scenes; and promoting regional collaborations and knowledge-sharing across the US. This virtual program revisited past Forum sessions on “Race and Representation,” hosted since 2017, and coincided with EXHIBITION Weekend (September 25–27, 2020). Information for an April 2021 Curatorial Forum is forthcoming.  


Independent Curators International (ICI) supports the work of curators to help create stronger art communities through experimentation, collaboration, and international engagement. Curators are arts community leaders and organizers who champion artistic practice; build essential infrastructures and institutions; and generate public engagement with art. Our collaborative programs connect curators across generations, and across social, political and cultural borders. They form an international framework for sharing knowledge and resources — promoting cultural exchange, access to art, and public awareness for the curator’s role.