Karen Forbes profile picture

Job title:

Professor of Art


Research Leader, School of Art


Karen Forbes is fascinated by the interface of art and architecture. Her work involves examining the creative possibilities which arise from this dialogue. Recent projects include proposals for a new type of public space for the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh (2013) and commissions such as 'The Solar Pavilion' - a meeting point for the visual arts(Expo Festivals Commission 2011) funded by the Scottish Government, Creative Scotland and the British Council.

Reacting particularly to site specific characteristics she has previously developed work for different projects in Moscow, Kyoto, Melbourne and Chicago. Publications include 'Fold-Out Futures RMIT Press 2007-8 2 volumes, 'Moscow City Palace' 2007 and 'Locus of the City' 2007. In collaboration with Luma 3Di she has developed augmented architectural models by architects Harry Gugger, Heneghan Peng, SeArch and Snohetta for the Autumn edition of Blueprint magazine 2013. Her collaboration with the Kettle Collective, the 45-storey Moscow City Evolution Tower, was an International Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats (CTBUH) Finalist for Best Tall Building in Europe 2015.

She has held numerous international awards to develop her work such as Christoph Merian Stichtung Basel, DAAD Award Dusseldorf, Arts Council Residency in Amsterdam and additional projects in Italy, Japan, Catalonia and Australia.

Interested in developing small scale collaborations which manifest themselves as pavilions or other public spaces

She was Head of the School for Painting for nine years at ECA and has taught as a guest in many different art colleges including Lucerne Kunst Akademie, Delft Technical University, RMIT Melbourne and Boston Museum School of the Arts. She has a strong background in painting, drawing and contemporary architecture.

Born in Glasgow in 1962 she studied in Edinburgh for five years before travelling for a year on a scholarship in Italy which stretched from Milan to Sicily.

She is currently Professor of Art and focused on new developments in art, image-making and architecture.


As well as teaching on the Fine Art - BA (Hons) programme, Karen teaches on the Painting - BA (Hons) programme.

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