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Teesside University Appoints Professors to Join Innovative MIMA School of Art & Design

Following a move earlier in the year which saw Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA) lead Teesside University’s Fine Art provision, with Design courses joining the portfolio over the summer, MIMA School of Art & Design has appointed two professorial roles to add new expertise to the courses.

Curator Sarah Perks and artist Mikhail Karikis will take up two new professorial roles this December. Karikis whose practice has received international acclaim, brings expertise in art and architecture, social justice and politics with a track-record in socially engaged arts.  Karikis studied for a doctorate at Slade School of Art, taught at University College London, Central Saint Martins, Royal College of Art and Universities of Middlesex and Brighton. Karikis’ work has been presented in major art galleries across the UK such as Nottingham Contemporary, South London Gallery and Tate (Modern, Britain and St. Ives) as well as in international museums and festivals such as The 54thVenice Biennial, 3rdThessaloniki Biennial, Manifesta 9 and The 19th Sydney Biennial. Karikis’ survey exhibition currently on show at MIMA, ‘For Many Voices’, includes work made across ten years and amplifies the voices of those who may be unheard, unseen and structurally neglected.  

Perks, a curator working globally in visual art, film and performance and leader in the field of contemporary arts. Exhibiting internationally and within the UK, Perks’ specialisms lie in participation, performance and moving image. Interests are embedded in the relationship between artists, education and the art gallery as a collaborative, cross-disciplinary space, with a focus on the intersection between participation, film and performance. Perks’ experience includes the role of Artistic Director at HOME Manchester, a joint Professorial post with Manchester School of Art and Programme and Engagement Director at Greater Manchester Arts Centre (Cornerhouse). Perks has curated over 30 exhibitions and commissions with artists including Sophia Al-Maria, Rosa Barba, Judith Barry, Phil Collins, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Stanya Kahn, Lauren Halsey, Louis Henderson, Moon Kyungwon & Jeon Joonho, Rachel Maclean, Noor Afshan Mirza and Brad Butler, Clifford Owens, James Richards, Rashid Rana, Yoshua Okon, and David Shrigley. Recent group exhibitions include The Return of Memory exploring post-Soviet ‘New East’ (with Subkultura publication), La Movida responding to 40 years since the first elections in Spain (with new fiction publication Dark Habits), Imitation of Life: Race and Melodrama in the 21st Century (including new publication Fear Eats the Soul) and The heart is deceitful above all things (including new publication Transactions of Desire), the last two with regular collaborator Dr Omar Kholeif (Sharjah Biennial 2019). Co-edited with Erika Balsom and Lucy Reynolds, Perks’ ‘Artists’ Moving Image in Britain Since 1989’ was supported by Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and published by Yale University Press in September this year.

MIMA Director and Dean of MIMA School of Art & Design, Laura Sillars comments: “Mikhail Karikis and Sarah Perks emerged from an exceptionally strong field of academics. Individually, their work exemplifies the vision of the MIMA School of Art & Design to be a place which has a foothold in the world of art and academia. Both of their research and practice centre around issues such as participation which supports MIMA School of Art & Design’s commitment to a civic mission. Their contribution to our institutional community will be significant. I am looking forward to collaborating with Mikhail and Sarah and with them creatively and intellectually growing the MIMA School of Art & Design.

As MIMA School of Art & Design establishes itself as one of the country’s leading art and design schools, the model of being led by a gallery with a civic agenda to put art into action, is nationally unique and provides a rich research environment for support staff and students alike.

Mikhail Karikis commented: 

“Having worked for nearly two decades as an artist and an academic across the country and beyond, I am delighted for my professorial appointment at MIMA School of Art & Design at Teesside University. This is the perfect moment to be joining an organisation which, more than any other in the country at present, is challenging the role of the art institution. It is presenting us with a vision where the museum is at the centre of the local community as well as the heart of art education, while being a site of artistic excellence and experimentation, and a beacon of knowledge nationally and internationally. I look forward to partaking in shaping and sharing this vision with my colleagues, students at the university and the wider artistic community, and to reaching and serving communities beyond the institution.” 

Sarah Perks added: 

“I am honoured to be joining as Professor of MIMA School of Art & Design at this critical and exciting point in its development. MIMA is an internationally respected, experimental and ambitious museum, and forward-thinking Teesside University is pioneering new models of fine art education with this ground-breaking school. I am looking forward to contributing, sharing and extending my interdisciplinary curatorial practice – creating dialogue and activity that makes a difference across communities – from the heart of Middlesbrough and the Tees Valley to making a significant impact nationally and globally.”

MIMA School of Art & Design offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Fine Art, Fashion, Graphic Design, Interior Design, Photography and Product Design.

A member of the national Tate Plus network and the international network of museums L’Internationale, MIMA contributes to a global conversation about art and design, museums and community building. This professional context enables students to have early engagement with the wider landscape of the field.

Teesside University’s Professor Simon Hodgson, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation said: “We are delighted to confirm these two exciting appointments as part of our recent professorial recruitment round. The talents and experience brought to the MIMA School of Art and Design by such globally recognised leaders in their fields will benefit our students immensely and further enhance their future prospects”.

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