Curators selected for the Frame Curatorial Research Fellowship Programme

The Frame Curatorial Research Fellowship is a four-year programme for contemporary art curators. The programme explores new forms of research that renew curatorial and institutional working habits. 

The programme’s host, Frame Contemporary Art Finland and its partners Casco Art Institute and EVA International are now happy to present the two fellows selected for 2021 and 2022. They are Ama Josephine Budge and Nikolay Smirnov.


A freckled, brown-skinned woman looks intently into the camera, her arms crossed to present her left side. Her black curly Afro hair is glinting in the light and she wears a pleated red dress and red lipstick. She has tortoiseshell, cat-eye glasses on, a gold nose ring and mottled white cowbone earrings.In her work, Ama Josephine Budge (of England and Ghana, and lives and works in London) navigates intimate explorations of race, art, ecology and feminism. 

Budge’s research Pleasurable Ecologies – Formations of Care: Curation as Future-building is an in-depth exploration of decolonial and intersectional curatorial care practices.The research acknowledges the entire ecosystem of socio-historical politics involved in curating contemporary art and cultural production.  


Nikolay Smirnov is a man of about thirty+. He looks Eurasian - something between slav, finno-ugrian and tartarian, dark-haired, with a little gray hair on his temples and six-day stubble. He wears a grey plaid coat and sits in the parkNikolay Smirnov (lives and works in Moscow) studies spatial practices and representations of space and place in art, science, museum practices and everyday life. 

Smirnov’s research Eurasian Alchemy proposes alchemy as both the process and result of the transmutation of ideas, methods, concepts, practices and materials.

Eurasia is understood here as a gigantic geopolitical, geoeconomic and geocultural alchemical retort in which all these processes take place.


“The open call attracted a large number of exciting proposals that challenged predominant curatorial work and research with an experimental and critical approach. Both of the chosen curators blur geocultural realities and disciplinary boundaries, and lay the ground for the speculative role of curatorial research in an unique way,” says Frame’s Head of Programme Jussi Koitela

“Budge’s inquiry into the ethics of curatorial care puts forward new pleasurable curatorial practices that are crucial for emancipatory futures within contemporary art and culture. Smirnov’s research allows us to re-imagine Eurasian geocultural scope through curatorial experimentation and essay-exhibition.”


Over 200 proposals

The deadline for the first open call was in June 2020. By the deadline, Frame received 232 proposals addressing the given research contexts “Mapping and Unmapping Geographies” and “Local, International and Planetary Fictions”. 

The first two fellows will begin their work in 2021. During the fellowship, they will present their research at discursive events. They will also provide a written contribution for a publication to be produced at the end of the fellowship programme. 

The next open call for fellowships will be organised in 2022. 

The Frame Curatorial Research Fellowship programme is supported by the Kone Foundation.


Read more about the fellows and their research


Image: Image: Nikolay Smirnov: Religious Libertarians, 2020. Hedi Jaansoo. © Riga Biennale 2020.