Dr Nicky Sim

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  • Qualifications:PhD in Education, University of Nottingham; MA Contemporary Art Theory, Goldsmiths, University of London; BA Art History, University of Nottingham; Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, University of Gloucestershire
  • Position:Research Fellow - Art Partnerships
  • Department:ACE - Creative and Cultural Industries
  • Telephone:+44117 965 6261
  • Email:Nicky.Sim@uwe.ac.uk

About me

My role is focused on developing research and facilitating knowledge exchange and professional development activity across the UWE-Spike Island partnership.

I am a researcher and independent evaluator with a background in public programming. Much of my research work explores how artists and arts institutions can play a role in civic life and address social urgencies - particularly across education contexts, youth/play work, social care services and residential/high street spaces. I'm interested in the politics of partnership working across different fields of practice and how collaborative work can be more equitable, inclusive and critically engaged. I have worked with many organisations around these issues, including South London Gallery, Chisenhale Art Place, Battersea Arts Centre, Tate, Create and Oasis Adventure Playground.

For some external projects I work in collaboration with creative consultant Tara Brown. Our collective work is rooted in the principles of Disability Justice and in bringing together academic, professional and lived experience as a critical lens to explore creative projects. We are currently researchers/critical friends for Barmy Army (led by the vacuum cleaner, commissioned by Manchester International Festival) – looking at how youth-led art, activism and mutual care can be used to imagine a better mental health system. Organisations involved include HOME, 42nd Street, Contact and Fairfield Hospital. We have also worked on London-based projects that centre the experiences and agency of disabled artists and activists at Wellcome Collection, Bernie Grant Arts Centre and Chisenhale Gallery.

Creative and professional development is another core strand of my work and I have evaluated a number of programmes supporting emerging and mid-career practitioners, including UP Projects: Constellations, Somerset House's Creative Industry Placement schemes and Artisa Foundation's Curatorial Fellowships. I'm also currently leading a five-year evaluation of the Freelands Artist Programme - investigating the development of artists and arts ecosystems across the four home nations. Core partner organisations are PS² in Belfast, g39 in Cardiff, Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh, Site Gallery in Sheffield and Freelands Foundation, London.

In 2017 I completed an AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Partnership with Tate and The University of Nottingham. My PhD focused on investigating partnerships between visual arts organisations and the youth sector, using national programme Circuit as the context for a multi-sited ethnographic study. Galleries involved were Firstsite in Colchester, Kettle's Yard and Wysing Arts Centre in Cambridge, Mostyn in Llandudno, Nottingham Contemporary, The Whitworth in Manchester and all four Tate galleries across London, Liverpool and St Ives.

I was previously Curator of Public Programmes at Whitechapel Gallery where I ran an extensive programme of events, produced project exhibitions and managed the Writer in Residence programme. I have also worked as Schools Officer at Whitechapel Gallery and other temporary gallery education roles at various institutions.



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