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Karen MacKinnon – Professor of Practice School of Fine and Media Arts

Karen Mackinnon

Karen MacKinnon - Director of Artes Mundi International Visual Arts Exhibition and Prize.

MacKinnon, made an MBE in the 2019 Queen's Birthday honours, has been working as an international curator based in Wales for the past sixteen years, including roles at Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea and Chapter, Cardiff.  During that time she has organised and curated contemporary and historical exhibitions and has developed a specific interest in the relationships between local and global, place and locality. More recently, she has been working in a number of different contexts both on and off site, working with socially engaged practitioners as well as those whose work is gallery based.

In 2005 she curated the exhibition Somewhere Else Wales at the Venice Biennale which included the work of Peter Finnemore, Laura Ford, Paul Granjon and a residency with Bedwyr Williams. In 2008 she co-curated with Maria Clara Bernal the exhibition Displaced: contemporary art from Colombia which showed the work of 15 artists including artists such as Oscar Munoz, Jose Alejandro Restrepo and Maria Elvira Escalon. She is currently working on let's see what happens… an international exchange between seven artists Tim Davies, Yingmei Duan, Paul Emmanuel, Owen Griffiths, Zeng Huanguang, Maleonn Ma, Fern Thomas. MacKinnon will return to curate this exhibition for Glynn Vivian Art Gallery which takes place over 8 venues and public places in Swansea in October 2013. 

Artes Mundi brings together some of the world’s leading artists in one powerful biennial exhibition that speaks of the human condition in so many different ways. Established in 2002, Artes Mundi is committed to supporting groundbreaking contemporary visual artists from around the world whose work engages with social reality, lived experience and the human condition. Artes Mundi is best known for its biennial international Exhibition and Prize which takes place in Cardiff. The exhibition is Wales’ biggest and most exciting contemporary visual art show. One of the shortlisted artists is awarded the prize of £40,000, the largest art prize in the UK and one of the most significant in the world.