Curating Ideas in #Art and #Ancient History with The Collector’s Julia Lu

Mia Quagliarello / October 26, 2021

“I want to democratize the idea of collecting so that it’s not only for people who have a lot of money who collect ancient artifacts or shoes or expensive watches. You can collect ideas, artists, and favorite things…” — Julia Lu, The Collector

If you spend any time on Flipboard, you’ll likely see The Collector’s Storyboards pass through your feeds. And if they don’t catch your eye visually, they’ll for sure pique your intellectual curiosity. With over 700 of these collections, curated around themes ranging from Banksy’s political art to Greek myths you probably don’t know, The Collector presents fascinating angles on ancient history, art, artists and philosophy.  

I’ve always wondered who was behind TheCollector.com and in this interview I get to find out. Editor in Chief Julia Lu takes me behind the scenes on the site’s editorial operations, where I learn how a collective of experts works together to curate information that has become a trusted resource for scholars, classrooms and enthusiasts.

Highlights, inspiration and key learnings:

  • How Julia got involved with The Collector
  • Her relationship to collecting
  • How collecting differs from curating
  • Gaining consensus when a collective is curating
  • What makes for an ideal contributor to The Collector
  • How you might take a collective of experts and form a big picture for a brand
  • How The Collector thinks about sourcing
  • Things to consider when curating an artist’s life
  • What to consider when curating historical artefacts for a modern digital audience
  • Curating against — or revising — the historical record
  • What’s hard about running The Collector
  • Pitfalls of Wikipedia as a source
  • How Flipboard fits into The Collector’s content strategy

Browse the companion Storyboard to get the episode itself, plus Julia’s own picks in the arts.

And don’t forget to rate and subscribe to our podcast if you like what you hear. You can find “The Art of Curation” on Flipboard and wherever you listen to your podcasts: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Amazon Podcasts. A new episode drops every Tuesday!

Mia Quagliarello, head of creator community and newsletters, is curating the curators for “The Art of Curation” podcast