Just a short post to advertise our Project Continuity day where we’re providing updates on progress with the project. The morning session 10.30-13.00 is open to all comers while the afternoon will comprise a discussion with our steering group. Details of the morning’s talks can be found here, please drop me a line if you’d like to attend.
In a good week for announcements, we’re delighted to give details of the appointment to the second of our two 3 year Research Fellow posts, this one based at the University of Salford’s SURF Centre.
Dr Karen Smith has worked over the last twenty two years as a freelancer and in various salaried posts with arts organisations, artists and agencies. She has focused particularly on the challenges of participation, artist-led leadership, vision and professional artistic development within the arts ecology. She has worked as a director, an arts practitioner, researcher, evaluator, facilitator and mentor, in numerous Arts Council officer posts and as an artist. Karen has diverse knowledge of working in collaboration with people and organisations in government and public policy, museums and galleries, cultural organisations and industries and with communities and voluntary bodies. She is excited about the opportunity to translate her experience into the Research Fellow post based in SURF.
As a freelancer Karen has undertaken a diverse range of work including sector-specific research: for example, for Arts Council England, mapping the needs of participatory arts workers in the North West; for Dartington College of Arts and Falmouth College of Arts on Widening Participation and has researched and written publications including Reflective Practitioner (2005) following up work with artists in On Reflection (2003) in the South West of England. As a consultant she has developed artists’ open studios and festivals and undertaken organisational reviews and facilitated strategy development with cultural organisations commissioned by or in partnership with other stakeholders. She was temporary Head of Arts at Bristol City Council (2005-6) and has worked with, for example: Arts Council (National, Yorkshire, London, and North West Offices), London Literature Directors Forum, NALD (National Association for Literature Development), nalgao, FABRIC, Bristol CC, Derby CC, Manchester CC, Manchester Jazz Festival, CHOL Theatre, Dartington College of Arts, Wilson+Wilson, Third Angel and Circ Elation. In the early 1990s Karen worked in participatory arts as Director of Cartwheel Community Arts (1992-95) and with mind the…gap theatre company and DARTS (Doncaster Arts Project).
Karen successfully completed an AHRC funded collaborative doctorate in January 2011. A partnership with University of Plymouth and ArtsMatrix, the research focused on the needs of mid-career artists in the south west of England. The Thesis title was: In Momentum: The Navigation, Narration, and Negotiation of Continuing Professional Development by Mid-Career Artists in South West England. Karen’s approach included methods developed via her facilitation practice; of walking and talking. Since August 2010 Karen has been working as Relationship Manager, Visual Arts, in the Yorkshire regional office at Arts Council England.
The accumulation of industry experiences and broad spectrum of research and arts activity has given Karen grounding in both an objective assessment of the cultural sector and a subjective knowledge of working in it. This experience is transferable to working at SURF and exploiting Karen’s evolving knowledge of both the university sector and her existing strong network of arts and humanities contacts in a broad range of settings.
We’re delighted to be able to announce the appointment of Dr Saskia Warren as the Research Fellow on the Birmingham end of the project. This is a three year appointment, with Saskia taking the lead on data collection within workpackages 3-5, looking at the governance of the creative economy within Birmingham, how these governance structures intersect with different communities and in facilitating the delivery of new co-designed creative interventions to improve practice in this area.
Saskia recently completed an AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award with the Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, and Audiences Yorkshire, the cultural marketing house, entitled Audiencing Artscapes: encounters between art and audience at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Tailoring a mixture of qualitative methods (archival, visual and ethnographic) to different typologies of audiences (with a focus on workers, local residents, visitors, volunteers), her doctoral research explored the meaning of art in different people’s lives.
Since completing her PhD she has been commissioned by Bradford College as a consultant on representation and democracy in their Student Union, and worked as a Research Assistant for Kingston University, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture. Past projects include exhibitions for the Henry Moore Institute and Yorkshire Sculpture Park, alongside consultancy for Heritage Lottery Fund/Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Collection’s Trust. She has published on the intersections of geography, museum studies and contemporary art, with an article forthcoming in Cultural Geographies.