Curators selected for the Helsinki International Curatorial Programme 2020

Curators Kate Brehme, Mary Conlon, Syaheedah Iskandar and Kathy-Ann Tan have been selected for one-month curatorial residencies in Helsinki. The application round was held in October 2019, with a total of 108 applications received.

The jury consisted of Curator Anna Jensen, Head of Programme at Frame Contemporary Finland Jussi Koitela and Director at HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme Juha Huuskonen.

“I was glad to be involved in the process of reading so many good applications bringing forward current urgent questions from ecological crisis to different forms of empathy. As a member of the jury I felt I was able to impact on issues important to me, such as accessibility, equality and inclusivity,” says jury member Anna Jensen.

The Helsinki International Curatorial Programme HICP provides curators with an opportunity to carry out research and work on international curatorial projects while building contacts with art practitioners and cultural organisations in Finland and internationally. The curatorial residencies are co-organised by Frame Contemporary Art Finland and the HIAP Helsinki International Artist Programme.

HIAP and Frame will both offer practical assistance, networking support and a critical context for the resident curators to carry out their research and projects. The curators will additionally be offered the opportunity to contribute to Frame’s Rehearsing Hospitalities public programme during September 2020.


Kate Brehme is an Australian independent curator and arts educator based in Berlin. She has worked internationally on a variety of projects, exhibitions and events. Since 2008 she has run Contemporary Art Exchange, a curatorial platform providing professional development opportunities for emerging and young artists. 

Kate began her curatorial career in 2002 while undertaking a Diploma of Visual Arts and BA in Contemporary Art in Melbourne, Australia. After completing her MA in Cultural Heritage Studies (also in Melbourne) in 2008, Kate lived and worked in Scotland, where she became involved in arts education working for organisations such as The Fruitmarket Gallery, The National Galleries of Scotland and Strathclyde University. 

In 2009 Kate founded Contemporary Art Exchange, a nomadic curatorial platform fostering professional development, accessibility and inclusion of young artists through international projects. In 2012 Kate curated Through the Looking Glass Dimly, an international collaboration project with two visually impaired artists which featured as part of the Edinburgh Art Festival. 

After relocating to Berlin in 2013 Kate organised the British Council-funded follow-up project Common Bond. Both projects explored the nature of accessibility in visual art and featured accessible exhibitions, events and workshops. 

Kate recently completed a DFG-funded Doctoral Fellowship at the Center for Metropolitan Studies at Berlin Technical University where she explored the relationship between contemporary art production and urban development through the case study of the Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art. Kate is currently a lecturer in the Master in Arts Education programme at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam and at the NODE Center for Curatorial Studies in Berlin. She is also the co-founder of Berlinklusion – Berlin’s Network for Accessibility in Arts and Culture – an organisation established in 2017 to make the arts in Berlin more accessible for artists and audiences with disabilities.

HICP residency in April 2020


Mary Conlon is a curator based in Limerick, Ireland. She is a Shinnors Scholar and her PhD in Curatorial Studies at Limerick School of Art and Design focuses on Italo Calvino’s Harvard lectures. She is the Founder and Co-Director of Ormston House (est. 2011), a cultural resource centre in the heart of the city where she has produced 65 exhibitions and multidisciplinary projects, working with over 300 artists from 26 countries. 

She is currently Artistic Director of the Creative Europe Project Memory of Water in six post-industrial cities, and co-curator of the Feminist Supermarket, developing the Useful Curating method. Recent projects include The Lore of Water (2019) in partnership with the Municipality of Levadia in Greece, Shipyard (2019) in partnership with the Baltic Sea Cultural Centre in Poland, and The Museum of Mythological Water Beasts (2017, 2018) co-curated with Niamh Brown at Ormston House.

HICP residency in September 2020


Syaheedah Iskandar is an independent curator and researcher based in Singapore. She is currently researching modes of visuality within the paradigm of Southeast Asia by intersecting relations between contemporary art practices with vernacular histories. 

She was the inaugural Emerging Writers’ Fellow for the academic journal Southeast of Now:

Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art in Asia, publishing a paper on contemporary art  practices embodying notions of ghaib (unseen) within the vernacular Malay world. 

Since completing her MA in History of Art and Archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, she has been working on collaborative projects that explore ways of presenting artistic knowledge outside the exhibitionary model. She was previously Curatorial Assistant at the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (2014–18) where she worked on numerous exhibitions and developed outreach strategies for art education.

HICP residency in April 2020


Kathy-Ann Tan is a Berlin-based curator, writer and independent scholar of the visual arts and performance, postcolonial and decolonial theory, critical diversity and gender/queer studies. She is interested in alternative models of art dissemination, exhibition-making and institution-building that are attuned to issues of social justice in the contemporary moment. 

Her ongoing project on decolonial aesthetics aims to collaboratively build a forum for artists and curators to develop ways of interrogating and challenging colonial narratives. As a former full-time academic, she has extensive experience in teaching, research, publishing and public speaking. Kathy-Ann also teaches at the Node Center for Curatorial Studies, and is currently pursuing an MA in Curatorial Practice at KMD, University of Bergen, Norway (2019–2021).

HICP residency in September 2020


Curators Kate Brehme, Mary Conlon, Syaheedah Iskandar and Kathy-Ann Tan.