2019 Research Fellow: Dr Susannah Haslam

Susannah is a research practitioner and lecturer working, writing and publishing in the expanded fields of art, design and education. She teaches across visual culture at University of the Arts London. Her research explores the possibility of news forms of infrastructuring and organising between education, policy and the cultural sector; (alternative) pedagogies and arts education models.

Together with Theatrum Mundi, and in the context of our Making Cultural Infrastructure project, Susannah proposes to ask what is meant by cultural infrastructure, specifically towards building up a collective concept of cultural infrastructure that draws explicitly on the infrastructural frameworks of the Tate Modern as an exemplary case study of urban cultural infrastructure, in the UK, in 2019.

You can explore all of Susannah’s activities with TM here and explore more about Susannah’s work here.

Project: On cultural infrastructure

“The current question of cultural infrastructure is wrought with the politics, materials and symbolism of the institutions to which it (arguably) serves, as well as being underpinned by a still ambivalent discourse where functionalism, cartography and organisation meet with the gestural, indeterminate and unknowable. The scope of this question is vast.

Theatrum Mundi’s Making Cultural Infrastructure project asks how to design the infrastructural conditions that support cultural production. Using the Tate Modern as an exemplary case study, and following Tania Bruguera’s Hyundai commission, 10,148,451 (2018-2019), this research asks how existing cultural infrastructure might be put to work in new ways, in the context of the UK’s cultural sector in 2019. Following a day of discussions at Tate Exchange, charting some of the critical terrain of cultural infrastructure as it might be understood at the point of the museum, in collaboration with Theatrum Mundi this fellowship will produce a series of dialogues and publication formats that attempt to put these discussions to work.

As such, if we can understand infrastructure, act of infrastructuring and infrastructures, as object, method and subject, trying to expose and attend to questions surrounding existing structures within museums and galleries, then how might such an object, method and subjects materialise?

These questions form part of ongoing research into the relationship between current discourse on infrastructure (ranging its practicalities and pragmatics, to its values, affects and critical capacities of modelling alternative systems, politics and cultures) and alternative arts education and organisational models.”