Nikki Kane undertook her PhD at the University of Edinburgh, where her thesis was titled ‘Making art and making a living: the role of festivals in contemporary art careers’. Her research was funded by the SGSAH-AHRC Creative Economies Studentship. She is now a Lecturer in Creative Industries at the University of Glasgow.
Host HEI: Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design, University of Bergen.
SFC Saltire Emerging Researcher project: Artist-run initiatives: practice and policy.
About Nikki’s Project
Nikki undertook a research exchange with the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design at the University of Bergen. Here, she developed research into artist-run initiatives and self-organised artistic activity, in relation to changing conceptions on cultural work, national and local cultural policy, and models of curatorial experimentation.
My interest in researching artist-run and self-organised projects and spaces developed from my own experiences working in and around those practices here in Scotland. Visiting Bergen offered a chance to extend this, and scope opportunities for ongoing research internationally, and during my visits, I was able to connect with researchers and practitioners, and to reflect on various models of programming and presenting artistic work.
My research trips were very generously hosted by Professor Anne Szefer Karlsen, and coincided with one of the meetings of the international MA Curatorial Practice programme that she convenes. This meant I was able to attend a public seminar they organised, titled Your Money Doesn’t Exist. Here I connected with curators and artists involved in independent and artist-run spaces in Bergen, and was able to learn and think about issues around cultural policy, funding, and arts education.
My visits coincided with Bergen Assembly, the city’s triennial of art projects and programmes that takes different forms for each edition. Visiting during this year’s edition, titled Yasmine and the Seven Faces of the Heptahedron, I was able to visit several art spaces across the city, and develop and understanding of Bergen’s cultural institutions and practices.
As part of the Bergen Assembly, artist Sol Calero presented La Cantina de la Touriste, a permanent interior environment for an existing café, Kafe Mat & Prat. During my visits, I was able to attend one of the meals held in the space, and a closing event where we ate freshly made arepas, prepared by the artist and team. At these events, I was able to connect with people working in Bergen, connected with the Bergen Assembly or other cultural work, and share experiences of culture in Norway and Scotland.
I was pleased to visit a range of cultural sites whilst visiting Bergen, and as well as the expansive Bergen Assembly programme, I also saw exhibitions at smaller, artist-run locations, in keeping with my research: Nye Bokboden and Isotop Fellesatelier.
These visits were wonderful scoping opportunities, and crucial in allowing for focused attention to the ideas and questions I will continue to research. Over the coming months, I hope to develop the connections I made and find opportunities to connect my experiences in Bergen with practices in Scotland.