a collaborative research project that interrogates how artists and researchers use dialogue in practice

Guest Speakers


Grant Kester

Bio: Grant Kester is professor of art history in the Visual Arts department at the University of California, San Diego who is the leading scholar in this field having written numerous seminal texts, which are a staple for anyone studying ‘dialogic or participatory’ art projects:The One and the Many: Contemporary Collaborative Art in a Global Context (2011); Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art (2004). Collectively they critique and making visible participatory practices that fall outside traditional ‘visual aesthetics’.


Steve Swindells


Bio: Professor Swindells (University of Huddersfield) research focuses on cultural leadership and public engagement in the arts, and includes on-going research to contest the place for art and the positive role of the artist in society. He is interested in cross-disciplinary practices that embrace co-creation processes, and partnership working, to explore new models, methods and tools to support more sustainable and inclusive towns and cities. Of particular interest is how art and design education can learn from, and adopt with relevance, ethnographic fieldwork as practiced within contemporary social anthropology – to extend our understandings of how human beings live in the world.

Swindells current research falls within three key areas: i) talent development: through ROTOR creating the conditions for colleagues and PGR who are also artists and designers to thrive, ii) working with communities: providing the opportunities for communities to access high quality academic research and creative activities in their locality, iii) infrastructure support: through exhibitions and related artist activities transform lives and urban settings, from grassroots links to policy development. Crucially this work involves building relationships with a number of organisations; including Arts Council England, Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP), ICA London, Kirklees Local Authority, Creative Scene, Dewsbury, Culture Forum North, as well as artist-led organisations, such as East Street Arts and the Tetley in Leeds.

Swindells believes that long-term commitment to places, working in a creative, responsive fashion brings about stronger communities that are more connected and mobile and, consequentially produces socially engaged practitioners.

Guest Speakers:

Elena Cologni


Bio: Elena Cologni is an artist working with live, site specific installation and performance art practices. She has a PhD in Fine Art from University of the Arts London, Central Saint Martins, where she was also Post-Doctorate Fellow (Arts and Humanities Research Council 2004/06), a Research Fellowship at York Saint John’s University (2007/09), and is now associated to the Commonwealth Intercultural Arts Network (University of Cambridge) (2013/), and Lecturer at Lincoln University. She won residencies at CCA (Glasgow), Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Q21, MuseumsQuartier (Vienna, Austria), and has been supported by European, Unesco Funding, and Arts Council England funding. Her ongoing  in(ter)disciplinary rockfluid created when in residence at the Faculty of Experimental Psychology, Cambridge University, is an umbrella project, a research method, a test ground underpinned by dialogic approaches, and to looking into memory, presentness and place.

Abstract: Elena will focus on the topic of ‘disruption’ both in processes of memorisation and in the function of participatory approaches, drawing on recent projects exploring social dynamics among participants. Her active account will include a series of practical and physical exercises to experiment with (and subvert) underpinning psychological, sociological and cognitive aspects.


Luigi Galimberti


Bio: Luigi Galimberti has served as director of Transnational Dialogues from 2012 until September 2016. He has been collaborating with the NGO European Alternatives since its foundation and was associate editor of Naked Punch Review. His research interests span from cultural dialogue to the exploration of new fields of knowledge and expression in visual arts. He has degrees in Sociology (BSc, LSE), International Relations (Master, ISPI, Milan) and Management for the arts and culture (Master, IULM, Rome).

Title: ‘Tra(n)slating Art. Language, politics and performance’

Abstract: My presentation will draw on my experience as director of Transnational Dialogues, an exchange and research programme for artists, curators, designers and architects from Brazil, China and Europe, which was started in 2011 by the NGO European Alternatives. I will focus my presentation on two performances by artists Jota Mombaça and Ma Yongfeng, which took place in Belgrade in October 2015, as part of the European Nomadic Residency of Transnational Dialogues 2015-16. In particular, the textual and linguistic elements of the two artists’ performances – and the challenges involved in their translations into an antipodal context – will serve as the basis for a reflection on the creation of and loss of meaning in cross-border artistic exchanges. On this occasion, I will also present the Transnational Dialogues Journal 2016, which was published in September this year.

Saskia Holmkvist


Bio: Professor of Contemporary Art at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts
Lives and works in Oslo and Stockholm. Holmkvist holds an MFA from the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design (Konstfack), Stockholm and a BA in Art History, History of Ideas, Anthropology from the University of Stockholm.

Saskia Holmkvist work reflects professionalization of language and concerns of translatability within identity politics. In the process she explores the negotiation of undertaking roles and how present language structures affect the politics of these positions.

Saskia Holmkvist selects protagonists, unchains a situation, or situates us in a scenario giving the directors position away. The work involves, performative strategies, site-specific projects and film and video. She often draws on participation and performance in creating encounters and narratives between protagonists inspired from journalism, improvisational theatre and psychology to reflect the boundaries between language, representation and reality.

Boseda Olawoye

Bio: Boseda Olawoye is an Engagement Curator who has initiated and managed creative learning programmes and projects within roles at contemporary art venues and as a freelancer since 2001. Her projects have a strong focus on social issues, politics and activism. Prior to her current role as part-time Community Engagement Producer at New Art Exchange (2016- present) she worked for The Bonington Gallery at Nottingham University (2001-2004), Angel Row Gallery (2005 -2008), Nottingham Contemporary and Tate Modern London (2008-2012) and Backlit Gallery/Artist Studios (2013 -2015).

Recent freelance projects include the Morley Learning (Jan-Dec 2015) for Backlit: a community led initiative inspired by the Nottinghamshire victorian textile manufacturer and social reformer Samuel Morley. Get Up Stand Up! (2014-2015) – exploring the notion of international human rights with young people (Partners: New Art Exchange, The Galleries of Justice and The Centre for Research in Race and Rights/C3R, University of Nottingham).  In 2016 she was commissioned by C3R and New Art Exchange to project manage “Pathways” – Nottingham’s first black history mural designed by young adults from NG7 Voices at Hyson Green Youth Club and local muralists.

She is currently freelancing for Threshold Studio’s (2016/17) a UK based media-arts producers and educators who work nationally and internationally.

Title: “Learning on the edge” – social engagement now

Abstract: Bo Olawoye Community Engagement Producer for NAE and Freelance Engagement Curator & Consultant will discuss her practice and approach to social engagement.  She will discuss specific examples of bespoke engagement projects for Nottingham and how she has collaborated with communities and groups within the city.

Helen Varley Jamieson

Bio: Varley Jamieson is a writer, theatre practitioner and digital artist from New Zealand, currently based in Munich, Germany. She is one of the founders of UpStage, an artist-led open source online platform for cyberformance begun in 2003, and she has collaborated in the organisation of six online festivals of cyberformance using UpStage (2007-12). In 2012 she was one of the organisers of the CyPosium, a one-day online symposium about cyberformance and networked performance, after which she co-edited with Annie Abrahams CyPosium – the book, published in 2014 by Link Editions. She is an active participant in open source and feminist networks and events, and since 1999 has been the “web queen” for the Magdalena Project, an international network of women in contemporary theatre and performance.

Dom Breadmore

Media artist and Creative Director at Ludic Rooms, Coventry.
Lecturer in Media Production, School of Media and Performance, Coventry University.

Katherine Wimpenny

Katherine WimpennyPhD, MSc, DipCOT, Cert Ed, is a Reader and Co-Lead for Research in the Disruptive Media Learning Lab (DMLL) at Coventry University where she researches pedagogic development in new and disruptive spaces using methodologies including arts-related research, interactive documentary, qualitative research synthesis and evaluation research. Katherine works on a range of (inter)national projects enhancing the research capacity of the lab and its funding base, focusing on methodological and pedagogical creativity, open education practices, and visual and experiential learning.