As a curator practising within institutions and independently Zara Stanhope focuses on engagement with contemporary art across the south.

Currently Curatorial Manager, Asian and Pacific Art at Queensland Art Gallery|Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), Stanhope is the lead curator on the 10th Asia Pacific Triennial (APT) for 2021 and led the 9th Asia Pacific Triennial in 2018. She was the Lead Curator for Dane Mitchell’s Post hoc, New Zealand at Venice at the 57th La Biennale di Venezia. Other recently curated exhibitions and collaborations include Dane Mitchell: Iris, Iris, Iris (Mori Art Museum, Tokyo and Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, New Zealand, 2017–18, co-curator Mami Kataoka) Ann Shelton: Dark Matter (Auckland Art Gallery 2016–17); Out of Office, Public Share collective, RMIT Project Space, Melbourne 2017); Space to Dream: Recent Art from South America (Auckland Art Gallery, 2016, co-curator Beatriz Bustos); and Yang Fudong: Filmscapes (Centre for the Moving Image and Auckland Art Gallery, 2014–15, co-curator Ulanda Blair). She co-curated the project TransVersa: Artists from Australia and New Zealand in Santiago, Chile, 2006, with co-curator Danae Mossman.

Stanhope was commissioning editor of and a contributor to: Dane Mitchell: Post hoc, Mousse Publishing (2019); The 9th Asia Pacific Triennial, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (2018); Ann Shelton: Dark Matter, Auckland Art Gallery (2016); and The Māori Portraits: Gottfried Lindauer’s New Zealand, co-edited with Ngahiraka Mason, Auckland University Press and Auckland Art Gallery (2016). She was the editor of the peer-reviewed symposium papers Artmatter 01: Engaging Publics/Public Engagement, Auckland Art Gallery and AUT University (2014); and Artmatter 2: Agency and Aesthetics, co-edited with Ann Shelton, Auckland Art Gallery and Massey University (2018). Her other recent publications include: ‘Music in the sky’, Lindy Lee: Moon in a Dew Drop, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2020); ‘Beyond knowledge. Karyn Taylor’ in Australian Catholic University Art Collection: A New Perspective, Australian Catholic University (2020); ‘Areta Wilkinson’ in Areta Wilkinson, Moa-Hunter Fashions, Christchurch (2019); ‘Living in These Times’ in Gregor Kregar, Gow Langsford Gallery and Gregor Kregar, Auckland (2018); ‘Everything Now’ in Us V Them: Tony de Lautour, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū (2018); Found in Translation (for Richard Maloy: Things I Have Seen) Youkobo Art Space, Tokyo (2017). She is a regular contributor to art magazines and journals including Art Monthly Australasia and Art New Zealand.

Institutional roles held by Stanhope include Deputy Director and Senior Curator, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, Australia (2002−08); inaugural Director, Adam Art Gallery, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand (1999–2002); and Assistant Director, Monash University Gallery, Melbourne, Australia (1993–99). She is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Art and Design at AUT University, Auckland and at RMIT University, Melbourne.