Kim is currently holds a ‘Next Generation Researcher’ fellowship at University of the Western Cape’s Centre for Humanities Research, following the life of a film set for a project called Green Screen. She is also affiliated since 2011 as a Research Associate at University of Cape Town’s African Centre for Cities, currently leading a research project on artist-led spaces in selected African cities, Platform. Kim’s general research curiosities concern contemporary art, public interest, the commons, city futures, interdisciplinary methods and new formats of writing.
Kim’s latest book, which grew out of academic research, is a text of creative nonfiction, August House is Dead; Long Live August House (Fourthwall, 2017). It tells the story of a Johannesburg atelier in transition by following the journeys of artworks created in its midst. This followed publication of an academic monograph, The Art of Public Space: Curating and Re-imagining the Ephemeral City (Palgrave, 2015). The book reflects upon a trilogy of art interventions ‘New Imaginaries’ that explored public space in Johannesburg and makes propositions around the commons.
Other past academic projects include a collaborative contribution to re-imagine ‘South African City Futures’ to 2030 from a neighbourhood level. An ACC team created the workshop methodology and co-authored the final report.
Kim holds an MA in International Journalism from City University London, with a mini dissertation on South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission; a B.Journ degree awarded with distinction and Economics Major from Rhodes University; and a BA Fine Art from UCT’s Michaelis School of Fine Art, degree awarded with distinction in Discourse of Art. Kim’s doctoral work explores notions of value and valuation of African contemporary art by following artwork journeys from the studio to the collection.
Photo: K. Gurney
Recent Papers/ Presentations
2 May 2018: Foundation Lecture. Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT. Title: ‘The Art of Public Space: Performing the Present.’
31 May 2017: Foundation Lecture. Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT. Title: ‘The Art of Public Space: Performing the Present’.
15 May 2017: Public Culture/ Cultural Policy & Leadership. Wits School of Art, Johannesburg. Posgraduate class lecture. Title: ‘Performing the Prsent’.
5 April 2017: Being (in) Public: Encounters - Outside Place / Inner Space. International Symposium. Belfast, Northern Ireland. Bbeyond in collaboration with Belfast School of Art at Ulster University. Keynote Speaker. Talk title: ‘Performing the Present’.
9-11 March 2017: ArtSearch Symposium. The Wits School of Arts, Johannesburg. Presentation Title: ‘Tracked Changes - New Geographies, Old Histories’.
18 May 2016: Lecture to PhD class module - ‘Concepts, Theories and Experimental Practices in Art, Technology and Design’. Exploring Research Writing. Konstfack: Stockholm, Sweden. Lecture title: ‘Warp & Woof: Life & Death of and Atelier’.
30 April 2016: Johannesburg Institute of Advanced Study. Melville, Johannesburg. Writing Fellow. Seminar presentation title: ‘Warp and Woof: The Life and Death of an Atelier’. Download Abstract
8-10 July 2015. ECAS 2015: 6th European Conference on African Studies. Centre Sorbonne: Paris, France. Panel member: ‘Dead Monuments’, convened by Prof. Gavin Younge. Paper title: ‘The Disappeared: Missing Artworks Task Force’. This paper is focused upon the Cecil John Rhodes statue as case study, engaging the performative afterlife of dead monuments.
12-13 August 2014: New Ethnographies of Johannesburg symposium, Wits Institute of Social and Economic Research (Wiser), Johannesburg. Presentation title: ‘From End to End: The Life and Death of an Atelier’. See Programme.
3 July 2013. Cities on the Move conference, University of the Western Cape, South Africa. Conference Paper title: ‘Nomadic Notions: Art & The Uncertainty Principle’.
15 March 2013. Presentation. Camo-Ammo: The Trickster Art of Refusal. At: Thinking the City, part of Infecting the City public art festival: Cape Town
21 February 2013. Presentation (keynote). Nomadic Notions: Footloose in a Fictive City. Symposium: ‘New Imaginaries/ New Publics’ symposium. ACC & Goethe-Institut: Johannesburg. See below for more information on symposium.
2-5 July 2018 [forthcoming]: Transversal writing workshop, Swedish House, Kavalla, Greece.
6-8 April 2017: ‘Being in Public’ - Public space and performance art international symposium, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Bbeyond & Ulster University.
19 & 20 May 2016: Transversal Writing Workshop, KTH, Stockholm, Sweden.
15 February-15 May 2016: Writing Fellowship awarded by Johannesburg Institute of Advanced Studies (JIAS), University of Johannesburg.
19 August 2015: Book launch and discussion - ‘The Art of Public Space’ by Kim Gurney. Respondents: Achille Mbembe with Molemo Moiloa, Tanya Zack & the author, chaired by Edgar Pieterse. WiSER, University of Witwatersrand. Details online at WiSER
8-10 July 2015. ECAS 2015: 6th European Conference on African Studies. Centre Sorbonne: Paris, France. Panel member: ‘Dead Monuments’, convened by Prof. Gavin Younge. Paper delivered: “The Disappeared: Missing Artworks Task Force”. Key case study: Cecil John Rhodes statue.
April 2015. Academy of Urban Super-diversity. Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Invited participant.
8-12 March 2015. Remaking Place. Hiddingh Hall, Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT. Symposium attendee.
4-6 December 2014. Conspicuous Consumption in Africa. HUMA: UCT. Attendee.
November 2014. Vernaculars of Multiplicity: Cape Town. African Centre for Cities, UCT. Symposium. Artistic Respondent - visit this link
12-13 August 2014: New Ethnographies of Johannesburg symposium, Wits Institute of Social and Economic Research, Johannesburg. Presentation: ‘From End to End: The Life and Death of an Atelier’. See Programme.
28 March 2014: Themed panel at CUBES, University of the Witwatersrand: panel hosted with ACC colleagues Dr Jenny Fatou-Mbaye and Rike Sitas, with Mpho Matsipa, Thiresh Govender and Nontobeko Ntombela: ‘Hustling Scholarship for African urban public cultures’, part of a three-day SA Cities conference
22 November 2013: Panel participation for LAND, Gordon Institute of Performing and Creative Arts, Michaelis, District Six Museum.
3-5 July 2013: Cities on the Move: Mobilities and Sensibilities Conference, UWC. Paper: ‘Nomadic Notions: Art & The Uncertainty Principle — A Johannesburg Case Study’
23 June - 2 July 2013: Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism: 10-day International Workshop at Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, Johannesburg. Participant.
21 February 2013: ‘New Imaginaries, New Publics’ Symposium. Goethe-Institut Johannesburg. Organised on behalf of ACC & Goethe-Institut Johannesburg. Download programme here; Symposium Rationale pdf here
April 2008: Mobile A2K, Switzerland: Culture and Safety in Africa: Developing a Methodology Guide, a workshop to analyses and evaluates the impact of cultural events and public art on urban safety in Africa focusing on Douala, Luanda and Johannesburg. Participant (Johannesburg).
Johannesburg launch: Wednesday 27 September, 18h00, Point of Order project space, Jan Smuts Avenue, Braamfontein.
Speakers: Terry Kurgan (Fourthwall), Caroline Wanjiku-Kihato (academic and writer), Edgar Pieterse (Director: ACC) and Graeme Gotz (Research director: GCRO]. Audio recording available upon request.
Cape Town launch: Friday 6 October, 18h00, The A4 Arts Foundation, Buitenkant Street, CBD.
Speakers: Terry Kurgan (Fourthwall), Premesh Lalu (UWC), Edgar Pieterse (ACC).
Gurney, K. 2015. ‘The Art of Public Space: Curating and Re-imagining the Ephemeral City’. London: Palgrave Macmillan
*Available at Palgrave, Amazon, ebook.com and Nook.
*Chapters in Abstract form: Download.
*Preview feature by Michael Morris about ‘The Art of Public Space’ published in the Weekend Argus (21 June 2015)
*Review published by London School of Economics’ Kate Dawson (May 2016)
Johannesburg launch: Wednesday 19 August 2015 at WiSER, Wits University, 18h00 with key respondent Prof. Achille Mbembe, writer, researcher and urbanist Tanya Zack, VANSA director Molemo Moiloa, moderated and introduced by Prof. Edgar Pieterse. Details online at WiSER.
*Book launch audio file of Achille Mbembe, respondent - download here
*Book launch audio file of Tanya Zack, respondent - download here
Van Graan, M. (ed). 2015. Stimie, M. and Gurney, K. (contributing eds.). South African Handbook on Arts and Culture. Cape Town: African Arts Institute
Gurney, K. 2017. Public Art Prospects in ‘Mzansi’s Golden Economy’. In: Public Art in Africa: Art and Urban Transformations in Douala - ebook. Edited by Iolanda Pensa with Marta Pucciarelli, Fiona Siegenthaler, Marilyn Douala Bell, Kamiel Verschuren, Xandra Nibbeling, Lucas Grandin, Asta Adukaite and Maud De La Chapelle. MetisPresses: Geneve.
Gurney, K. 2016. ‘Remembering the Map: Prestwich Memorial’. In: Dobraszczyk, P. Garrett, B.L. & Galviz, C.L.(eds). Undergrounds: Exploring Cities Within. London: Reaktion Books, pp. 97-99.
Gurney, K. 2016. ‘Remaking the Map: Golden Acre, Cape Town’. In: Dobraszczyk, P. Garrett, B.L. & Galviz, C.L.(eds). Undergrounds: Exploring Cities Within. London: Reaktion Books, pp. 186-189.
Gurney, K. 2016. ‘Off the Map: Cape Town Tunnels’. In: Dobraszczyk, P. Garrett, B.L. & Galviz, C.L.(eds). Undergrounds: Exploring Cities Within. London: Reaktion Books, pp. 227-230.
Gurney, K. 2013. Abracadabra. In: E. Pieterse & A. Simone (eds). Rogue Urbanism: Emergent African Cities. Auckland Park: Jacana, pp. 421-425
Pieterse, E. & Gurney, K. 2012. Johannesburg: Investing in Cultural Economies or Publics?. In Anheier, H.K. & Y.R. Isar (eds) & guest editor M. Hoelscher, M. Cultural Policy and Governance in a New Metropolitan Age: The Cultures and Globalization Series (Vol. 5). London: Sage Publications. Chapter 17, pp. 195-203
Gurney, K. July 2018. Zombie monument: Public art and performing the present. In: Cities. Special issue - Urban Geography of the Arts. Guinard, P. & Molina, G. (Eds). Vol. 7, pp. 33-38. DOI
Gurney, K. 07 Sep 2016. Warp and Woof: Stalking Art from End to End. Vol. 30 Issue 3. In: Critical Arts: South-North Cultural and Media Studies. Issue 3: Art, ethnography and practice-led research, p. 411-427
Gurney, K. 2013. Sounding the City: Urban Performance in Johannesburg. In: Kunstforum International, Issue 223: 10/13—12/13, pp. 94-107
Gurney, K. September 2013 (online); 05 November (print). Ethnography of a Flame. In: Critical Arts: South-North Cultural and Media Studies, 27(4), pp. 439-443
Gurney, K. 2012. The Fractured Public Interest In: Rhodes Journalism Review, Issue 32, p.8
Gurney, K. 2012. Mzansi’s Golden Economy and performance art. In: The Johannesburg Salon, Volume 5, pp. 98-101
Gurney, K. 2011. Doing Journalism: The shifting private-public axis and the rejuvenation of journalism ethics. In: Rhodes Journalism Review, Issue 31, pp. 33-34
Other Selected Publications
Gurney, K. November 2015. Re-imagining Africa’s Cities, Ogojiii, Issue 03, Nairobi and Johannesburg: Ogojiii, pp. 43-49.
Gurney, K. December 2015. Performing the Present: The Second Life of Zombie Monuments. In: Art Africa, Issue 02, Cape Town: Bell-Roberts, pp. 14-17.
Gurney, K., Pieterse, E & T. Govender. [2015, In Press]. Futurehood: A Synthesis Report. SA City Futures Project. ACC: Cape Town.
Gurney, K. February 2015. The Doppelgangers: a narrative essay on Hasan and Husain Essop, twin brothers who collaborate as a fine art photography duo, Cityscapes, Issue No. 6.
Gurney, K. February 2015. The Conservationist: a narrative essay that profiles Luzann Isaacs, who manages an urban wetland park in Cape Town. In: Cityscapes, Issue No. 6.
Gurney, K. 2014. Edge Design: Urban Form and Social Change in Khayelitsha and Dunoon). In: Cityscapes. Issue No. 5, pp. 34-49.
Gurney, K. 2013. Performing Theory. In: Cityscapes, Issue No. 4
Gurney, K. Winter 2012. Inside the World-Class City. In: Cityscapes, Issue No. 02.
Gurney, K. 2012. Art and the Public Interest. November 23, 2012. Urbanafrica.net: ACC, Cape Town
Gurney, K. 15 January 2012. Life of a Piano. Originally published in Sunday Independent. Muted Tones: the evolving life of distressed musical instruments_ in CCTV, a zine for local ideas in global practice. Vol 1. no. 1 Launch Issue, August 2012. Rangoato Hlasane (curator): Johannesburg. Download here
Gurney, K. 2012. Visual Prospects. In: Lamprecht, A. & I. Powell (eds). Terra. Cape Town: SoSo Press, pp. 18-26