Dr Bergit Arends

BA (Hons), MA

  • BS8 1TB

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Personal profile

Research interests

I am a curator of contemporary art and researcher. I create and study interdisciplinary curatorial and artistic processes, with a current focus on environment and visual art. In my curatorial practice I collaborate with artists to experiment with forms of representation, subject categories, methodological approaches and public formats. This includes projects to decolonise natural history museums and research on plants in artistic practices.

My current research project is entitled ‘Routes into the Anthropocene: an interpretative method for 50 years of art and environment artworks, 1970 to 2020’. This study applies the Anthropocene as an interpretative tool to visual and sound works. The research takes a transnational purview, framed by cultural and political events from the 1970s to the present, emphasising race, locations, and subjectivity. The focus are artists’ positions in dialogue with other disciplines and cultures, interrogating migration as productive principle for the co-existence of nature and humans.

My doctoral thesis is entitled Contemporary Art, Archives and Environmental Change in the Age of the Anthropocene (2017). The research and related fieldwork resulted among other in the publication Chrystel Lebas. Field studies: walking through landscapes and archives (Fw:Books, 2018). The publication was awarded the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation Best Photography Book 2018.

I curated many contemporary art projects for the Natural History Museum in London (2005–2013), exhibitions included Galápagos (2012–2013); After Darwin: Contemporary Expressions (2009); Lucy + Jorge Orta: Amazonia; Mark Dion: Systema Metropolis (2007); The Ship: The Art of Climate Change (2006); Tania Kovats TREE (2009). I also enabled artists’ residencies at the Museum, notably Tessa Farmer, Chinese artist Hu Yun, Australian artist Daniel Boyd, and Indian artist Sunoj D.

I was one of the curators of the Art/Nature programme at the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, where I curated Klara Hobza Animaloculomat (2017) and Elizabeth Price BERLINWAL (2018).

I have a keen interest in supporting, managing and experimenting with a range of research practices within museums. Most recently, I was Deputy Head of Collection Care Research in the Research department at Tate and, prior to that, Acting Head of Research at Science Museum Group.

I was doctoral Reid Scholar in the departments of Geography and Drama, Theatre & Dance at Royal Holloway, University of London. I hold a MA in Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art and studied Paper Conservation at Camberwell College of Arts, both in London.


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