Performer, writer, director and dramaturg Nicola Gunn undertook postgraduate study to critique socially engaged practice and perceptions of art in the community.
"As a professional theatre practitioner and performance artist, I was keen to take my work out of traditional theatres and into public spaces, with the aim of researching site-specific and participatory practices in contemporary performance. I feel that in order to sustain the social relevance of theatre, we need to take audiences out of their comfort zones and really challenge them.
"The Master of Arts (Art in Public Space) at RMIT urged me into a self-reflexive dialogue with my work.
I am now more critically engaged with my practice and both the environmental and historical contexts in which it’s produced, and I am more articulate when I speak about it. The course provided the space for me to think deeply about how and why I make work and search for the shared necessity between artist and community.”
Nicola’s work has been shown at Arts House, MTC, Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne Festival and Dublin Theatre Festival as well as in public streets as part of the City of Greater Dandenong’s Nocturnal project.
She is a recipient of the Australia Council for the Arts Creative Australia Fellowship and was selected by renowned artist Marina Abramovic for a residency with Kaldor Public Art Projects in 2015 (read the article 'Artists in residence with innovator Abramovic'). In 2016, Nicola received the Gilbert Spottiswood Churchill Fellowship to research socially engaged and site-specific practices in contemporary performance.