Annie Jael Kwan is an independent curator and researcher based in London, and who works between Europe and Asia. As an experienced producer and curator, she has delivered numerous art projects in the UK and internationally since 2005, working with major arts and cultural institutions including the South Bank Centre, Geffrye Museum, Barbican Centre, Manchester Art Gallery, and the Live Art Development Agency.
She founded the curatorial partnership, Something Human, in 2012, to focus on the critical ideas surrounding movement across borders. Something Human has delivered projects in the UK, Rome, Venice, Belgrade, Skopje, Lisbon and in Singapore. As co-director of Something Human, she has co-curated Something Human at the Terminal (2013), the travelling exhibition MOVE W I T H (OUT) 2013-2016, From East to the Barbican (2015), CCLAP (Cross-Cultural Live Art Project 2014-2016) and Krísis in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, Bonington Gallery, and Nottingham Contemporary.
In 2017 Something Human launched the pioneering Southeast Asia Performance Collection (SAPC), with over 27000 digital items that represent 50 artists from the region, at the Live Art Development Agency in London during Something Human’s 2017 M.A.P. (Movement x Archive x Performance) project. M.A.P. extended across multiple sites with a programme of live performance in collaboration with Diaspora Pavilion and the International Curators Forum in Venice, an artist residency with artist Sung Tieu exploring Vietnamese diaspora in Deptford, and a symposium of performances and presentations that responded to and challenged the notions of ‘archive’ that marked the inauguration of the SAPC.
In 2018, she curated the exhibition and public programme, UnAuthorised Medium in 2018 at Framer Framed, Netherlands, which featured 12 artists working with ‘alternative archives’ in relation to Southeast Asia, including Ho Rui An, Vandy Rattana, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Boedi Widjaja and Sung Tieu. In 2019, she co-curated the Archive-in-Residence Southeast Asia Performance Collection archive exhibition and the Pathways of Performativity conference exploring performance in Southeast Asia at Haus der Kunst, Munich.
She is co-founder of Asia-Art-Activism (AAA) an interdisciplinary and intergenerational network of artists, curators and academics investigating ‘Asia’, ‘art’ and ‘activism’ in the UK – currently in residence at Raven Row till August 2021. In 2019, she curated Being Present, a live art programme in response to the exhibition, Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination-Repetition at the Manchester Art Gallery, that was then adapted as a digital pprogramme for the Paul Mellon Centre’s British Art Studies 13 on London, Asia, Exhibitions, Histories. AAA also leads Tools to Transform, an online resource for Asian and diaspora organising that received the European Cultural Foundation’s Culture of Solidarity grant in 2020.
She was selected for the International Curators Forum’s curatorial programme, “Beyond the Frame” (2016-2018); and in 2017, for Outset and Arts Council England’s development programme for emerging curators. For the latter, she curated the colloquium “Curating Radical Futures” which took place at the Tate Modern. In 2019 she was awarded Live Art UK’s Diverse Actions Leadership Award.
She was the co-editor of Southeast of Now: Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art in Asia’s guest issue: Archives, and contributes to various publications as a writer. She currently teaches “Producing the Body: Place, Politics & Practice” at Central St Martins, University of the Arts, London, and co-lectures on “Writing and Curating” at KASK, School of Art, in Gent, Belgium.