Curatorial Research Bureau at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is the hub of learning for California College of the Arts Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice. The situation provides a unique environment for training curators. The graduate seminars are held at YBCA inside the CRB, a combined bookshop, exhibition, and public program where students intersect with continually evolving book inventories, participate in programs, and meet visiting practitioners from the Bay Area and beyond. Students are also integrated into the institutional infrastructure at YBCA by sitting in on planning meetings, bearing witness to conversations among curators and administrators about upcoming exhibitions, programs, and marketing. This move to YBCA is representative of an effort to reposition the Curatorial Practice program by projecting the pedagogy outside the traditional walls of the academy, taking advantage of the rich cultural context of the Bay Area and recognizing it as an essential part of graduate studies at CCA.
In addition to the immersive learning site of YBCA, the program focuses on the intellectual, creative, and analytic qualities needed to participate in and contribute to the discourse of contemporary art. Drawing in part from the history of art and design, the program provides students the academic resources and direction needed to engage critically with contemporary culture. Therefore, through the combination of pedagogical experiences inside a contemporary arts institution and the graduate seminar classroom, students gain a broad perspective of the curator as a productive agent and mediator who sees context as a primary asset, building bridges among artists, ideas, institutions, public space, online technologies, and their audiences.
Overall, the multiplicity of activity at CRB amounts to research, or the gathering of data and experiences for analysis, providing students a vast perspective on the range of cultural production in the contemporary arts, allowing them to imagine a future in many kinds of cultural and institutional scenarios, while creatively and intellectually applying the knowledge and skills of curatorial thinking and practice to each context.