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Dr Ana Bilbao Yarto




BA Universidad de las Américas Puebla

MA  and PhD University of Essex


Ana is a Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Art. Her research explores histories of exhibition-making and art institutions, as well as contemporary art from the Global South. Prior to joining the University of York, she was editor of Afterall Journal and research fellow at Afterall Research Centre at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. In 2017 she was Visiting Scholar in the Art History Department at KU Leuven, Belgium. Ana has taught undergraduate and postgraduate modules on the history of exhibition making, curatorial theory and practice, post impressionism, avant-garde, and contemporary art at the University of Essex. She was visiting lecturer on the BA and MA in Culture, Criticism and Curation and on the MRes in Exhibition Studies at Central Saint Martins (UAL). Ana has worked in various areas of the cultural sector, including arts education, curating, and art fairs.



Ana’s research is centred on the emergence and proliferation of Small Visual Arts Organisations (SVAOs) in various parts of the world from the 1990s-present. She approaches the transdisciplinary curatorial strategies developed by these small arts spaces as crucial to understanding the broader arts ecology of our time. More generally speaking, Ana is interested in the history of display from the cabinet of curiosities to the present, and in historical trajectories of modern and contemporary art in the Global South. In 2018, with support of the British Council Myanmar and Acción Cultural Española, she had the opportunity to undertake research in Yangon, Myanmar (with Anca Rujoiu) and held a research residency in lugar a dudas in Cali, Colombia.


  • Small Visual Arts Organisations in the Global South: Geographies of Display (book under contract with Routledge, forthcoming 2022).
  •  “The Closed Exhibition: When Form Needs a Break”, Revista da Historia da Arte, 14, 2019, pp.126-143
  • “From the Global to the Local (and Back): Curatorial Strategies in Biennials and Small Visual Arts Organisations”, Third Text, vol. 33, issue 2, 2019, pp. 179-194.
  • “Mining Colombian Contemporary Art: Histories, Scales and Techniques of Gold Extraction”, Burlington Contemporary, 1, 2019, available at:
  • “Micro-Curating: the role of SVAOs (Small Visual Arts Organisations) in the History of Exhibition-Making”, Notebook for Art, Theory and Related Zones, issue 25, 2018, pp. 118-138.
  • “Re-Thinking the Social Turn: The Social Function of Art as Functionless and Anti-Social” in Rhetoric, Social Value and the Arts: But How Does it Work (eds. Charlotte Bonham-Carter and Nicola Mann), Palgrave Macmillan: London, 2017, pp. 51-66.
  • Bilbao, Ana and Pavel Reichl, “Between Earth and the World: Heidegger on Turrell, Nature and Aesthetic Intelligibility”, kritische berichte, Heft 2, Jahrang 45, 2017, pp. 84-91.
  • “SIN (without): The Alienated Spectator,” re-bus 7, 2015, pp.105-112.







Approaches to Curatorial Practice

Journeys, Histories and Methods of Display






External activity

As editor of Afterall Journal, Ana was interested in the articulation of artistic cross-cultural narratives, as well as in decolonial methodologies in editing, writing and knowledge dissemination. Issues conceived alongside the journal’s editorial team include:

Contact details

Dr Ana Bilbao
History of Art
University of York

Tel: 01904 322943

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