Reader in Curatorial Practice and Place, Co-curator of In Certain Places
School of Arts and Media
Elaine Speight is Reader in Curatorial Practice and Place, and co-curator of In Certain Places – an art-led research project, which brokers connections between people and places. Elaine has written about place-based art and curatorial practice for various publications and presented her work at international events. She supervises post-graduate art practice-based research projects which examine aspects of place. Elaine is a trustee of the arts organisation Art Gene and a regional chair of the Contemporary Visual Arts Network (CVAN).
Elaine’s research interests surround the capacity of art to interrogate, mediate and critique the connections between people and place, and the relationship between art practice and research. Since joining the University in 2013, she has led a number of projects as co-curator of In Certain Places. These include The People’s Canopy (2015) – a two-storey high pedal-powered architectural structure, developed in collaboration with Beijing-based People’s Architecture Office; The Expanded City (2016 – 21) – a three-stage programme of art-led research, commissioned by Preston City Council to inform an extensive housing and infrastructure scheme; and Practising Place (2013-19) – a long-term interdisciplinary project, which has built collaborative partnerships between artists and academics from across the UK.
Individual outputs within such projects include temporary public artworks, community resources, exhibitions, essays, publications, online artworks, architectural products, workshops and conferences. Elaine has written about place-based art and curatorial practice for various books and journals, including Arts – Open Access Journal (2020), Public Art Dialogue (2017) and 'The Everyday Practice of Public Art' (2015, Routledge). She has also edited the books 'Practising Place: Creative and Critical Reflections on Place' (2019, Art Editions North) and 'Subplots to a City: Ten years of In Certain Places' (2014). Elaine has been invited to speak about her work at international events, such as 'On Sound and Space' (2016), organised by the British Art Network and Contemporary Art Society at Tate Britain; 'The Value of Artists: A National Conversation' (2016), organised by the Contemporary Visual Arts Network at Leeds Art Gallery; and 'Place listening, exploring material narratives' (2020), at Concordia University, Montreal. Her projects have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism / Architecture, Hong Kong; and the Venice Biennial of Architecture.
Elaine has over 15 years’ experience of commissioning and curating place-based art projects. She has co-curated In Certain Place since 2005, both within her role at The University of Central Lancashire and, previously, as a curator at The Harris Museum & Art Gallery. She has also undertaken projects for organisations including Liverpool Biennial and Creative Partnerships. Elaine has a particular interest in collaborative working and has formed partnerships with other cultural and academic organisations. In 2015, she devised a professional development programme for arts writers, in collaboration with Dr Rosemary Shirley at Manchester Metropolitan University, which was adopted by the Contemporary Visual Arts Network as one of their three priorities for capacity building within the visual arts in the North West. She has also worked with the national public art think tank, Ixia, to convene 'The Art of Dwelling' (2015) – a national conference, which brought 80 arts professionals together to discuss the challenges and value of long-term approaches to commissioning public art. Elaine has peer reviewed articles for art and interdisciplinary journals such as Cities: The International Journal of Public Policy and Planning, Public Art Dialogue, Literary Geographies and Landscape Research.
- MPhil Arts Management, Birkbeck, University of London, 2013
- MA Fine Art: Site and Place, University of Central Lancashire, 2007
- BA (Hons) Fine Art, Nottingham Trent University, 2003
- Public Art
- Urban Planning
- Motherhood and Public Space
- Regional Chair of the Contemporary Visual Arts Network
- Trustee for Art Gene
- Steering Group Member for Hannah Directory
Use the links below to view their profiles:
- View their unique and persistent identifier on the ORCiD registry
- Full list of publications and articles on CLoK
- In Certain Places
- 2020 March 4. ‘The Ontology and Embodiment of Place Listening’. Invited by Concordia Undergraduate Journal of Art History for Place listening, exploring material narratives: The annual Concordia Undergraduate Art History Conference. Concordia University, Montreal.
- 2020 Jan 31. ‘In Certain Places’. Invited by Same Skies Collective Regional Democracy Collective for The Future for West Yorkshire’s Regional Democracy. Huddersfield.
- 2019 July 10. ‘Making a Boob of it: Some thoughts about breastfeeding in public’. Comfortable and Uncomfortable Places symposium, the Sheffield Hallam University Space and Place Research Group, Sheffield.
- 2019 June 12. ‘The DNA of Place: Creative and collective place-making’. Invited by Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange. Newlyn Art Gallery, Penzance.
- 2018 Nov 23. ‘A Vision and a Voice for the North’. Invited by Royal Society of Arts for the Northern Power Futures conference. Manchester Central Conference Centre.
- 2018 Oct 12. Artists and Writers Unite! How to break into the world of art writing. Invited by Sheffield Creative Guild and Corridor8. Sheffield.
- 2016 Oct 27. On Sound and Space. Invited by the British Art Network and Contemporary Art Society. Tate Britain, London.
- 2016 21 Oct. ‘Blurring the Boundaries: Public Art as Spatial Praxis’. The International Colloquium in Geo-humanities, Closing Circles. Opening Horizons – VIII Colloquium of the History of Geographical Thought Group of the Association of Spanish Geographers. Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain.
- 2016 Sept 28. ‘Part of a Place’s DNA: the Value of Long-term Approaches to Place-based Art’. People, Place, Power. Increasing Arts Engagement: A National Conference, Arts Council England. Doncaster, UK.
- 2016 Sept 2. ‘Part of a City's DNA: Creative Approaches to Urban Change’. Royal Geographical Society conference. RGS-IBG, London, UK.
- 2016 Sept 1. ‘Between the Campus and the City: Public Arts as Critical Exchange’. Royal Geographical Society conference. RGS-IBG, London, UK.
- 2016 Sept 1. ‘Brokering Connections: Public Art as a Nexus of Knowledge Production’.Royal Geographical Society conference. RGS-IBG, London, UK.
- 2016 June 10. The Sense and Sensibility of Place: Sustainable Development in Sub-regions. Invited by the Samuel Lindow Foundation and UCLan’s Applied Policy Science Unit in collaboration with the Tourism Society. UCLan Westlakes Campus.
- 2016 April 1. ‘From Place-making to Place-listening – post-regeneration public art’. American Association of Geographers conference. San Francisco, USA.
- 2016 March 3. The Value of Artists: A National Conversation. Invited by the Contemporary Visual Art Network. Leeds Art Gallery.
- 2015 April 30. OPEN15: Discussion – What is a 21st century art centre? Invited by Lancaster Arts. Peter Scott Gallery, Lancaster University.
- 2013 June 13. ‘From Place-making to Place-listening: Post-regeneration Public Art’. NGM 2013, 5th Nordic Geographers' Meeting, 11- 14 June 2013, Reykjavík, Iceland.
Use the links below to view their profiles: