Marsha Bradfield rides the hyphen as an artist-curator-educator-fundraiser-researcher-writer and company director. She has co-directed Pangaea Sculptors' Centre with Lucy Tomlins since 2013, and in 2015 she founded Artfield Projects as an international platform for practice-based art, design and curatorial research (website coming early January 2018).
Marsha creates events, artworks, exhibitions, curricula, websites, publications and other projects that variously consider the subject of interdependence by exploring forms, materials, methods, relations, structures, systems and other dynamics pertaining to authorship and/as cultural production. She works with groups including Critical Practice Research Cluster, Precarious Workers Brigade and the Incidental Unit (formerly the Artist Placement Group and O+I). These experiments often result in understanding that Marsha later re-presents in publications, performative lectures and other remixes. Her accounts combine fact and fiction as she works with contexts, ideas, images, objects, processes, sites, structures and more.
Marsha has been part of projects connected to 16 Beaver (New York), Wyspa (Gdansk), Berlin Biennial 7 (Berlin), Centre A (Vancouver), ICA (London), The Knot (Berlin), Labor (Budapest), Peckham Platform (London), steirischer herbst (Graz) and Taipei Biennial 2000 (Taipei), Tate Modern (London) and more. Marsha has also authored numerous publications, including ones for The Art of Research II, ArtLeaks Gazette (with Kuba Szreder) and the Journal of Visual Arts Practice (JVAP). Her practice has been presented in Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Marsha is presently based at Chelsea College of Arts as an associate researcher and lecturer and a PhD supervisor. She teaches on BA Fine Arts (Hons) and BA (Hons) Interior and Spatial Design (Studio: Chelsea Local with teaching and research partner, Shibboleth Shechter). Marsha supervises an extraordinary bunch of PhD students: Sally Hilal, Marianne Guarino-Huet, Greer Mac Keogh, Vanessa Saraceno, Scott Schwager, Lynton Talbot and Josh Y'Barbo, all at Camberwell, Chelsea, Wimbledon Graduate School. She is also a special advisor to Charlotte Andrew at the University of Auckland.
Marsha's post-doctoral fellowship (2013 - 2015) investigated economies and ecologies of collaborative cultural production and was anchored in #TransActing: A Market of Values and the preceding season of research exploring value(s), valorisation and evaluation. This tracked with Marsha's ongoing collaboration with Critical Practice, which also informed her practice-based PhD (completed in 2013. Marsha’s thesis proposes dialogic art as an approach to authoring collaborative cultural production, with this dispersed across the artworks, cultures and subjectivities that emerge when artists and others work together (see below for more info).
Marsha holds a PhD and PG Cert from University of the Arts London, a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Vancouver, Canada and a BA Honours in History and Art History from the University of Victoria, Canada. Between degrees, she lived in Taipei, Taiwan, where she worked as a docent at The National Palace Museum while studying Mandarin at National Taiwan Normal University (國立台灣師範大學國語教學中心).
Marsha was born in South Africa, grew up in Canada and has been based in the UK since 2006.
visit: marshabradfield.com - coming soon
skype n twitter: marshabradfield
Research Interests: authorship, art, design and curatorial research, economies and ecologies of collaborative cultural production, value, the 'work of art' in relation to 'the art of work' and, more immediately, the civic university and locally-engaged practice
Key Terms: the dialogic, dirty practice, reciprocal relations, methodological mess, hybrid authorship, politicised not knowing, the post-collaborative condition and self-portraiture of a process.
My interdisciplinary research connects my practice as an artist, writer, curator and educator. The red thread running through this is my desire to understand the expanse and holism of cultural production through the lived experience of cultural producers. I explore this authorship via events, artworks, exhibitions, curricula, publications and other projects.
Completed in 2013, my practice-based PhD concerned the authorship of collaborative cultural production. It examined outcomes (artworks, publications, etc.) in connection with the cultures/processes that produced them (i.e. self-organisation). This body of research also considered the authors' subjectivities as both relatively autonomous and relatively shared, forged through the micro/macro politics and other conditions that organised their interactions.
I also recently undertook a post-doctoral fellowship rooted in Critical Practice Research Cluster. There are three aspects of this research. On the one hand, my embedded investigation examines the Cluster's self-authorship through its economy and ecology of cultural production. On the other hand, I am engaged in CP's practice-based research. We are currently working with local, national and international collaborators on a five-year enterprise that investigates ‘valorisation’ as the process through which value is brokered.
Developing in tandem with this research, my post-doc project will coalesce as a kind of manual for brokering value. This publication is critically and creatively indebted to The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook: The First Guide to What Really Matters in Life (Ann Barr and Peter York, 1982). This collection brings together disparate understandings related to value, subjectivity and cultural production.
More Info on Previous Research - Dialogic Art
Completed in 2013 and titled Utterance and Authorship in Dialogic Art: or An Account of a Barcamp in Response to the Question, 'What is Dialogic Art?, my PhD project was a big dot on a long line in my ongoing enquiry into authorship as praxis-process-portrait-politics-potential.
The praxis of dialogic art proposed by this research seeks to destabilise familiar structures of cultural co-production (collaboration, participation, etc.) by exploring the complex interactions through which...stuff n things take shape. I define dialogic art as art brought into being through exchanges between people as they interact with information, objects, and/or each other. Key terms (currently) include: relational relations, the dialogic, methodological mess, hybrid authorship, the post-collaborative condition and self-portraiture of a process.
Dialogic art draws on Mikhail Bakhtin's philosophy of dialogue, John Law's and Bruno Latour's work 'after' Actor Network Theory (ANT) and ideas around compound-complex subjectivities, viz. experience of self where individualization and collectivization get all messed up. The UK student protest movement was a source of inspiration for my embodied research on group practice, as was reality TV-style 'gamedocs' and Web 2.0 platforms (blogs, wikis, social networking sites, etc.).
Background: This research concerns a problem that I see characterising socially-engaged art in general and relational aesthetics in particular: participation is typically understood as limited to making in the art. It does not extend to the making of the art. In Rikrit Tiravanija’s Untitled (Tomorrow is Another Day) (1996), for example, participants were invited to 'make the work' by cooking, eating and so on. They were not, however, encouraged to interact with the artwork’s form—to change its structure. Participation was thus limited to making Tiravanija’s work in accordance with the parameters determined by the artist in advance.
Question: What are the possibilities of using the dialogue embodied in participatory and collaborative art making to create more co-authored works of art and how might an expanded notion of 'the artwork' as well as a distributed sense of 'the artist's identity/subjectivity' support this cultural production?
Support: This research was supported by my supervisors Prof Neil Cummings, Dr Mary Anne Francis and Prof Stephen Scrivener. It was also financially and institutionally supported by Chelsea College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London. Though attributed to yours truly, this PhD is the shared utterance of many interlocutors.
Please visit this link for further info on my post-doc.