Kerstin Mey

Research Strand ‘Art and its Locations’ 

Interface: Research in Art, Technologies and Design 2004 to date

Kerstin Mey
Research Area Leader Fine Art in Interface
Director Research Institute Art and Design,
University of Ulster

Interface is an interdisciplinary and practice based research centre situated in the School of Art and Design, University of Ulster, Belfast campus. It explores two key processes that underlie innovative research practice in art and design. It involves new partnerships and forms of collaborations and the development of new ways of thinking and working at local, national and transnational levels and also with cross-border dimensions in the Irish context.
The research Strand ‘Art and Its Locations’ investigates the changing nature of contemporary art. It reconsiders issues of situated and engaged creative practice, location and contexts for art in relation to categories and hierarchies of value, the debates about the role of the artist and the status of the artwork in public space(s).
Building on distinct strengths of art practices in the School of Art and Design, its inquiries emphasise the trans/formative role that art can play in the re/generation of civil society. They take full account of the specific political, social and cultural situation of Northern Ireland.

‘Art and its Locations’ brings together two research areas: ‘Art in Contested Spaces’ and ‘Art and Documentation’. The former investigates the aesthetic, social and political dimensions of contested spaces, i.e. spaces in which different perspectives, interests and identities ‘meet. grapple and clash’, and artists’ responses to geography, architecture, power relations and social fabric, history and politics of place. It explores ways in which art practices interfaces with civil space and diverse constituencies and experience. The temporary nature of much of this practice expands the field of production and ‘consumption’, beyond material outcomes, to include forms of documentation, dissemination and evaluation. So the latter research focus advances the understanding of conventional and emergent ways in which art processes, events and their outcomes are recorded, documented and disseminated in relation to the construction of publics and of histories of time-based, place-specific and marginalised art practices. It addresses the nature and status of documentation in view of emergent digital information and communication technologies and infrastructures, and their developing role as principle strategies for particular art practices.

Development of a Public Art Strategy for West Belfast and the Greater Shankill area

The Department of Social Development NI has commissioned Interface to develop a strategy for Public Art in West Belfast and the Greater Shankill area. By June 2007 we will have developed a ‘user friendly’ and sustainable development plan for public art activities that aims for an extended participation of local communities and connects this locale with Belfast City Centre and Laganside. It will contribute to the long-term cultural, social and economic regeneration of this area.

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