Writing, in different formats, is a common thread connecting Kim’s interdisciplinary practice. Her writing has shifted towards long-form narrative. She is the author of two books and is busy with new writing projects that approach publishing as artistic practice.

Kim is widely published with over two decades of writing and editing experience. She was formerly a fulltime news journalist and has held a number of News Editor positions in radio, online and print - most notably managing the newsroom of a weekly paper at Financial Times Business, London. Before that, she helped set up and then manage a bespoke online news service at the same media company. Her prior reporting experience was largely in radio news reporting and presenting and community radio.

Kim’s freelance journalism over the years has been published mostly in print by international media houses including Newsweek (Africa bureau stringer 2003-2007), Sunday Independent, Business Day, Salon.com, & News International. She has covered diverse topics that cut into current affairs in different ways spanning issues of arts and culture, business and the environment and covering topics ranging from xenophobic violence to the impact of the financial crisis on business ethics to urban design in townships and reportage on Johannesburg’s aspirations as a ‘world-class African city’.

Kim holds two journalism degrees: an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, where she wrote a dissertation on South Africa’s Truth and Reconcliation Commission and reflected upon the media’s coverage of the same, and a B.Journ four-year degree awarded with Distinction from Rhodes University, with an Economics Major. She also holds a Fine Art degree with Distinction and a PhD in Cultural Geography.

A selective range of writing samples:

*Gurney, K. September 2021. DIY institutions, artistic thinking and common space, Barcelona: CCCB.
*Gurney, K. January 2021. Kicking Dust: Communal pathways as works of art,In Review, Editor: Keely Shinners.
*Gurney, K. March 2020. Green Screen - A digital storymap of creative nonfiction that follows the life of a film set assembled for a commercial to tell a larger story about counterfactual imagination and city futures from the artisanal perspective of the workshop floor.
*Gurney, K. July 2020. The second lives of zombie monuments. In: Africasacountry.
*Gurney, K. June 2020. Artists help us leap into the unknown. In: Africasacountry.
*Gurney, K. November 2015. Re-imagining Africa’s Cities. In: 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. with photographer Sydelle Willow Smith. February 2015. The Doppelgangers: a narrative nonfiction piece on Hasan and Husain Essop, twin brothers who collaborate as a fine art photography duo. In: Cityscapes, Issue 6. Download printed article pdf or access the website version.
*Gurney, K. with photographer Sydelle Willow Smith. February 2015. The Conservationist: a narrative nonfiction journalism article that profiles Luzann Isaacs, who manages an urban wetland park in the Cape flats. In: Cityscapes, Issue 6. Download printed article pdf or access the website version.
*Gurney, K. with photographer David Harrison. 2014. Edge Design: Urban form and social change in Khayelitsha and Dunoon, reflected upon through the issue of sanitation.. In: Cityscapes. Issue No. 5, pp. 34-49.
*Gurney, K. Ethnography of a flame - Critical Arts: Under fire section, 2013. In: Critical Arts: South-North Cultural and Media Studies, 27(4), pp. 439-443.
*Gurney, K, with photographer Delwyn Verasamy. Winter 2012. A Visionary Statement, reportage on the contested notion of Johannesburg as a ‘world class city’. In: Cityscapes, Issue 2, pp. 56-71.
*Gurney, K. 15 January 2012. 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. Originally published as Life of a Piano in Sunday Independent.
Gurney, K. 2012. The Fractured Public Interest. In: Rhodes Journalism Review, Issue 32, p.8.
*Gurney, K. 2012. Visual Prospects. In: Lamprecht, A. & I. Powell (eds). Terra. Cape Town: SoSo Press, pp. 18-26
*Gurney, K. with Scott Johnson. Digging up the Dirt. Investigative news feature on the search for South Africa’s politically ‘disappeared’ - Newsweek International.
*Gurney, K. September 2011. The shifting private-public axis. In: Rhodes Journalism Review, No. 31.
*Gurney, K. Sep 2006. James Webb: Take nothing for granted. In: Business Day Art Supplement, p.14.
*Gurney, K. Sep 2006. Peter Clarke: The poetry and music of everyday. In: Business Day Art Supplement, p.13.


Gurney, K. 2017. August House is Dead, Long Live August House! The Story of a Johannesburg Atelier. Johannesburg: Fourthwall Books.

  • Mbongeni Buthelezi in his August House studio
    Mbongeni Buthelezi in his August House studio

    Photo: Anthea Pokroy

  • Gordon Froud in his August House studio
    Gordon Froud in his August House studio

    Photo: Anthea Pokroy

  • Gibson Khumalo at his August House office
    Gibson Khumalo at his August House office

    Photo: Anthea Pokroy

  • Power Mazibuko at August House
    Power Mazibuko at August House

    Photo: Anthea Pokroy

  • Jacki McInnes in her August House studio
    Jacki McInnes in her August House studio

    Photo: Anthea Pokroy

  • Bie Venter in her August House loft
    Bie Venter in her August House loft

    Photo: Anthea Pokroy

This creative nonfiction book about Johannesburg tells the story of an innercity building during a time of transition. August House, a former textiles factory (b. 1946), functioned for a decade as an atelier but at time of writing had just been put up for sale and all its tenants had to relocate. The narrative is woven by following various artworks made in the building’s midst during this time of uncertainty and change, and their imbrication with a host of the building’s residents. It is a narrative of beginnings, endings and never-endings - a series of micro stories that tell a macro tale about what was ‘august’ about August House - or why art matters, and the seismographic role it plays in an ever-changing city like Johannesburg. Artists’ photographic profiles: by Anthea Pokroy. Launch flier pdf

A digital storymap, ‘From end to end’, visualises this book through geolocation, images and text. The storymap closely follows one of the book’s storylines: the journey of a series of artworks created by Gordon Froud, Cone Virus, travelling from place to place as vectors of artistic thinking. It also elaborates upon the book’s formal and conceptual architecture. It’s best viewed on a laptop instead of a smartphone.

The book is available from The Book Lounge and Clarke’s Books. You can also contact African Centre for Cities or email the author directly on kimjgurney[at]gmail.com

The Johannesburg launch took place on Wednesday 27 September 2017 @ 18h00, Point of Order project space, Jan Smuts Avenue, Braamfontein. Audio recording of all speeches: Play or download here. Speakers: Terry Kurgan (Fourthwall), Prof. Edgar Pieterse (Director: ACC), Graeme Gotz (Research Director: Gauteng City-Region Observatory) and key respondent Dr Caroline Wanjiku-Kihato (academic and writer). The Cape Town launch took place on Friday 6 October 2017 @ 18h00, A4 Arts Foundation, Buitenkant Street, CBD. Audio recording of all speeches at Cape Town launch: Play or download here. Speakers: Terry Kurgan (Fourthwall), Prof. Premesh Lalu (UWC), Prof. Edgar Pieterse (ACC).

Gurney, K. 2015. ‘The Art of Public Space: Curating and Re-imagining the Ephemeral City’. London: Palgrave Macmillan

This academic monograph follows the manifestation of a trilogy of performative interventions in Johannesburg during 2012 that variously explored public space. Shoe Shop engaged public space through walking and ambulatory thinking, Amaze.Interact through gaming and ideas around playing the city, and Spines leveraged the city’s transport lines with two parallel performance art projects: United African Utopias took participants on a fantastical walk through the city with a narrative script that among other things employed pirate radio and costumed guides to re-imagine reality; and In House activated domestic and hybrid spaces of enclosure as common grounds of potential encounter. The book reflects upon this Goethe Institut project, New Imaginaries, relative to a broader public sphere and puts forward ideas relating to the commons.

*The book is available from Palgrave, Amazon, and Nook. It is available from Palgrave as a physical book or an e-book, and in separate digital chapters. For educational or research purposes, email the author directly.
*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)
YouTube link to a short documentary commissioned by Goethe Institut on New Imaginaries

*The Johannesburg launch took place on 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.
*Audio file of Edgar Pieterse, introduction - download here
*Audio file of Achille Mbembe, respondent - download here
*Audio file of Tanya Zack, respondent - download here

A symposium was held as part of the research leading to the above book. ‘New Imaginaries, New Publics’ was organised by Kim Gurney and ACC hosted at Goethe-Institut Johannesburg, 21 February 2013.
-Download programme of speakers
-Download event Rationale.
Video recordings of the presentations are available upon request: kimjgurney[at]gmail.com