Curatorial Thinking

Curatorial Thinking (logo)

Can curatorial thinking help to make sense of information, more effectively create a meaningful story, and build a stronger sense of social responsibility and awareness?  

Faced with a deluge of information in their daily life, it is essential that students become masters of their own knowledge building both inside and outside the classroom. Curatorial thinking empowers students not only to demonstrate their learning, but to discover new connections allowing them to contribute to our understanding of the past and to positively influence the future. 

Learn more about our development of new tools and resources for digital and physical classrooms that support students in the development of the skills and tools they need to think curatorially. 

To learn more about Curatorial Thinking, view a webinar co-hosted by OHASSTA and Defining Moments Canada, titled Curatorial Thinking: Sense-Making and Storytelling in the (Digital) Classroom.

Explore Curatorial Thinking Resources

Read Curatorial Thinking about health histories: An Educational Framework, written by Dr. Madeleine Mant (UTM). Dr. Mant is the Chair of our Academic Advisory Board, a group of scholars brought together to  develop additional resources for educators which explore two key concepts at the intersection of public health and public education: syndemics and curatorial thinking. Both are vital in today’s context: students are living in the midst of a global pandemic and faced with ever-increased sources of (mis)information.  

Insulin and the Unessay

An unessay project can be an effective activation of curatorial thinking your classroom. Explore the projects created by social science students in Dr. Mant’s medical anthropology class which explore key themes in the discovery of insulin.

Lesson Plan: An Introduction to Curatorial Thinking

This lesson is built around a belief that schools have a moral imperative to help students become agents in their own knowledge building by giving them the tools to think curatorially so that they a) do not get lost in the morass of information; b) can contribute to our understanding of the past; c) can contribute to positively influencing the future.

In this lesson, students are introduced to the concepts of curation and curatorial thinking. Students uncover how thoughtful curation deepens the thinking involved when learning through the study of artifacts. 

Download the lesson.

Download the appendices.

Ten Digital Curation Tips from the Archives of Ontario

The Archives of Ontario (AO) is one of the largest provincial archives in Canada, with collections documenting the decisions and activities of the Government of Ontario, and the individuals, businesses, and organizations with enduring provincial significance that illustrate Ontario’s history and development. The AO makes these records available through over 40 online exhibits, curated by its staff and (as needed) by external partner organizations. These exhibits cover a huge range of subjects, from widely-known topics to niche interests—each created by a project team with a curator guiding content development. 

Curation in a digital space requires specific considerations unique to an online environment. This includes building and maintaining narrative flow, using an appropriate form and structure, and taking your audience’s experience into account. In this article, the AO’s exhibit team outlines some of the key components, considerations and questions we use in digital curation—our best tips to help you in your own work and when practicing curatorial thinking in your classroom.

Read about The Fatal Five to see curatorial thinking by students in action.