Programme: History of Art - MPhil/PhD/MSc by Research

Start date: October 2017

Mode of study: Full time

Research title: Making art and making a living: the role of festivals in contemporary art careers

Nikki is a PhD candidate in History of Art and recipient of an AHRC Creative Economy Studentship led by Edinburgh College of Art in partnership with Queen Margaret University, Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, and Edinburgh Art Festival. Her research focuses on the role of festivals in contemporary art careers, examining issues of cultural labour, festival and biennial cultures, and curatorial practices.

In September - December 2019, Nikki undertook an AHRC-funded internship at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, USA. Here she researched and produced writing for the catalogue for an upcoming international touring exhibition of works from the museum’s collection of American art.

Prior to this, Nikki studied History of Art at the University of Glasgow and later completed the Masters of Research in Creative Practices at Glasgow School of Art in 2015. She has presented curatorial and artistic projects and undertaken residencies in the UK and internationally, and was one of eight participants in CuratorLab 2016-17, an international programme based at Konstfack, Stockholm. She was the Curator in Residence at House for an Art Lover, Glasgow in 2017, and was part of the committee at Market Gallery, Glasgow in 2014-16. She also has 10 years of experience working with arts and cultural organisations in project management, production and administrative roles, in particular in the development and delivery of large-scale public art projects. She is currently on the board of trustees of artist-run space Market Gallery, and Wasps who provide studio and workshop spaces across Scotland.

Since 2018, Nikki has been a Tutor for the undergraduate course History of Art 2 at the University of Edinburgh, and an Associate Lecturer for the New Media Art and Digital Art and Design courses at the University of the West of Scotland where she has taught on the Creative Project, Research in Creative Practices, and New Media Art History and Context modules, and supervised undergraduate dissertations.

My doctoral research is titled Making Art and Making a Living: The role of festivals in contemporary art careers and is undertaken as an AHRC Creative Economies Studentship based at Edinburgh College of Art in partnership with Queen Margaret University, Glasgow International, and Edinburgh Art Festival. My research concerns include working conditions and precarity; festival and biennial cultures; curatorial frameworks and how they might offer supportive models for practitioners; the impact of temporary and re-occurring events on both artists’ careers and artworks made; and the narrative of the artistic career itself.

My broader academic and curatorial research interests include:

  • Work and labour
  • Performance, choreography and the body
  • Public space
  • Artist-run spaces
  • Curatorial responsibility
  • Fashion and visual culture
  • Socially-engaged artistic practice