Curating the East Midlands: Sophia Kyprianou

Sophia Kyprianou is a Curator-Educator whose practice focuses on educational ideologies, audience engagement and participation practices across the Midlands. She is dedicated to developing artistic opportunities that are accessible, inclusive, diverse and that open up a vast range of possibilities that make art engaging for everyone on a range of levels. Sophia has been able to interrogate her specific interests in developing creative, curatorial and educational practice through a number of exhibitions, projects and festivals across the Midlands and beyond.
Digitalis, a partnership between Threshold Studios, Milton Keynes Libraries and Milton Keynes Council
Digitalis, a partnership between Threshold Studios, Milton Keynes Libraries and Milton Keynes Council

How did you come to curating?

In 2014, after several years working in education, I decided I wanted to combine my passion for art and education with the desire to work in the curatorial industry. I applied for the Contemporary Curatorial Practice Masters degree at the University of Lincoln and my journey began. Over the year I threw myself into every opportunity and used my educational background and pedagogical knowledge to influence the way in which I approached my practice to explore new avenues of curatorial practice.

Since completing my Masters, I have been able to interrogate and explore my specific interests in developing creative, curatorial and educational practice as well as spread my wings into new creative territories; delving into a variety of projects and exhibitions that have challenged me to continuously consider how I see my professional development growing.

How do you typically begin a project?

When beginning a project whether it is for a client or a self driven project, I have a process which I follow which always begins with one question, who is the audience? From there I can explore, collaborate and have conversations that develop the project. I am also a stickler for research, I like to feel that I have a clear understanding of the different aspects of the project I am developing; as it allows me to then translate this into something that is accessible for people to view and navigate in their own way.

Frequency Festival

Who are the artists and/or partners that you’re working with at the moment?

I am collaborating with a number of artists, illustrators and writers at present on several projects with both a local and national focus; this is something I thoroughly enjoying doing as it gives me a chance to look at things from different perspectives, make new connections and consider how projects will engage people as they develop.

Frequency Festival

Tell us about the current or upcoming projects that you’re involved with.

At the moment I am in the early stages of developing a couple of projects: one is focused on re-imagining and regenerating Northampton town centre through a creative lens and community focused collaboration. The other is focused on perceptions of mental health, working with illustrators from around the country to visualise people’s experiences of mental health.

They are very different projects, but both focus on challenging issues, breaking boundaries and providing opportunities for people in very different ways, which is what my practice is all about as a Curator-Educator.

How do you select the artists you work with?

It really depends on the project, I wouldn’t say I have a particular way of approaching these things. Sometimes, it’s through networking and connections I’ve made from current or past events, projects and exhibitions. Other times it could be through research and exhibitions or projects I’ve visited and then there are occasions where artists seek me out through various platforms, like social media and things develop from there.

National Art & Design Saturday Club
National Art & Design Saturday Club

What dates should we put in our calendars?

I’d say keep an eye out in early 2019 for the project developing at the moment. I regularly post updates on social media to spread the word!

What or who are you really excited about?

Now, this a little way off, but I’m hoping in November to attend my first Engage conference, which will focus on collaborations within art, health and wellbeing. It’s an organisation that I have followed for many years and I have written for their journal in the past. I’m very excited to be able to attend a conference that is very relevant in today’s society and also great research for myself in a professional capacity. I am a great believer that the arts have great power in they way they can positively impact on people’s lives.

Whose work or what space would you most like to curate?

I would absolutely love to curate an exhibition or installation at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, whether in the long gallery or in the Park itself. It is one of my favourite spaces. For me there is something so beautiful and intriguing about a space that is so vast and changes continuously with the weather, seasons and natural change of the landscape.

Freemasonry, What’s it all About?

What do we need to see more of in the East Midlands?

I think we need more collaboration between curators, artists and creatives across the East Midlands. There are so many great things happening in different towns and cities across the East Midlands, imagine what the possibilities could be if the people behind these projects were brought together! Having more inter-city/town projects that brought together people from different areas of the region to develop new perspectives and create opportunities for engagement with the creative sector, would be very valuable.

Where can we find out more about your projects?

I’m active on social media. My website’s currently under construction, so more will be coming soon to that too.


Sophia was interviewed in September 2018.

All images are courtesy of Sophia Kyprianou. Frequency and Digitalis images taken in collaboration with Threshold Studios.