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Michaela is Reader in Art and Conflict and is the UK artistic director of 4Cs, a four-year EU-funded programme.

Michaela initially worked as assistant curator at the Air Gallery, and from 1983 was curator at the pioneering agency Public Art Development Trust, for ten years commissioning work for a wide range of contexts. Subsequently at the RSA (Royal Society of Arts) she directed the £2m Art for Architecture award scheme. As Head of Arts at the RSA (1997–2010), activities included the commissioning the first three artworks on the Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square, and subsequently a member of the Greater London Assembly’s Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group. In 2007 she founded and directed the Arts & Ecology Centre for the RSA and Arts Council England, to support, promote and debate artists’ responses to environmental challenges. Activities included international events and artists’ residencies; and commissioning Land, Art: A Cultural Ecology Handbook,book edited by CCA alumnus Max Andrews.

Michaela co-founded Culture+Conflict in 2011, an ongoing, not-for-profit agency focusing on the role and value of art in the context of international conflict. Activities include artists residencies, scholarships and events.

In 2016 Michaela co-organised and curated ´Promised Land` for the Goethe-Institut in London, a programme bringing together artists, academics and experts to address European policies and challenges. This was followed by two one-day symposia for Frieze and the Goethe in 2017 and 2018 to debate cross-cultural exchange. 

Since June 2017, Michaela has been art director (UK) on 4Cs, a 1.8 million euro, four-year, Creative Europe project. Activities to date have included co-programming events with The Showroom and Tate in 2019, asking to what extent art can affect change when addressing issues of migration and access. An artist’s research residency by Palestinian artist Noor Abuarafeh at Delfina Foundation resulted in an artist’s book, co-produced with Jerusalem gallery Al Ma’mal. Forthcoming activities include the first UK solo exhibition by Adam Shingwak Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer at Gasworks in September 2020, touring to Spike Island in Bristol in 2021.

Michaela is also an associate lecturer at Central Saint Martins, UAL; and a doctoral supervisor in the War Studies department at King’s College London. She also works as an independent curator currently co-programming a 2-day symposium, Remaking Citizenship, on behalf of the Goethe Institute. She is a Trustee of Wysing Arts Centre; a member of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA); and the Higher Education Academy. A member of Eastside Projects’ commissioning panel for a major new commission for Birmingham, with Susan Philipsz selected. A regular speaker and chair of events for organisations that have included the Mosaic Rooms; King’s College London; the Whitechapel Gallery; MAAT Lisbon; the European Capital of Culture 2018, Malta; Ikon Gallery; Photographers Gallery; the British Council; Harvard University; and the University of New South Wales, Australia.

Key details

School, Centre or Area

Gallery

  • 5,000 Feet is the Best (film still)

    5,000 Feet is the Best (film still)

  • Ecce Homo

    Ecce Homo

  • Gustav Metzger, Historic Photographs: No. 1: Liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto, April 19 – 28 days, 1943 1995/ 2009, installation view from the exhibition Gustav Metzger: Decades 1959–2009, Serpentine Gallery, London (29.09 – 08.11.2014)

    Gustav Metzger, Historic Photographs: No. 1: Liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto, April 19 – 28 days, 1943 1995/ 2009, installation view from the exhibition Gustav Metzger: Decades 1959–2009, Serpentine Gallery, London (29.09 – 08.11.2014)

  • Larissa Sansour, A Space Exodus, 2009, still from video, 5’24’’

    Larissa Sansour, A Space Exodus, 2009, still from video, 5’24’’

More information

Arts and Humanities Research Council award 2015 for an RCA-based project culminating in commissioning, co-editing and writing for an online publication, Art and Conflict.

  • UK artistic director of the 4Cs programme in a partnership between the RCA and Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Lisbon; Tensta Konstall, Stockholm; SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin; Fundació Antoni Tápies, Barcelona; Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts, Lithuania; Museum of Contemporary Art, Denmark; and Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs, Paris.

Research students