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Henry Gonnet, Serendipity [detail], in Better than Strangers, Another Trip Around the Sun, October 2020. Photo: BALTIC.

BxNU Institute

The BxNU Institute supports experimental artistic and curatorial research and practice. It is a collaboration between Northumbria University and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art.

The BxNU Institute is a centre for international artistic and curatorial research and practice instigated by Northumbria University and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. We develop exhibitions, public projects, discussions and events that are ambitious and interdisciplinary in nature, focusing on critical themes of priority at both institutions. Projects, experiments, performances, discussions, collaborations are developed at BxNU by Northumbria cross-Faculty staff, students, BALTIC staff and invited artists, members of the local cultural community and international guests.

BxNU is principally affiliated with Northumbria University’s BxNU MFA Fine Art, as well as Northumbria’s MA Creative and Cultural Industries Management, and the practice-based postgraduate research community of Northumbria University. Since December 2017 the Director of the BXNU Institute has been BALTIC Professor Andrea Phillips. Previous to this Christine Borland held the post of BALTIC Professor. Both professors have worked collaboratively with staff and students to develop shared interests and practices. Whilst Christine’s artistic focus as BALTIC Professor was to investigate the social, historical and aesthetic limits of scientific knowledge and the human body, Andrea’s focus is to develop new theories and practices of collective curatorial and pedagogic institutional organisation, setting up the Experimental Studio  in 2018. The BxNU Institute has an Academic Working Group comprising experts from BALTIC and cross-disciplinary academics from Northumbria University which informs its programme.

From 2012 to 2021 the BxNU studios and the Experimental Studio were located at BALTIC 39, a publicly accessible hub for contemporary art and postgraduate teaching housed in the former Ward’s printing house on High Bridge in the city centre of Newcastle. BALTIC 39 also housed galleries programmed by BALTIC in collaboration with BxNU.

Andrea Phillips in conversation with BALTIC Director Sarah Munro, ’In Need of Education’ symposium, BALTIC, November 2018.

BxNU Ethos

The BxNU Institute advances practice-based research in the arts and collaborations between artists, curators and students and professionals from different disciplines. Its aim is to make Northumbria University and the BALTIC’s research and practice public. The partnership exemplifies the ways in which universities and public arts institutions can work together to produce exciting and ground-breaking projects.

The BxNU Institute takes the term ‘experimentation’ as the locus of transdisciplinary public work. Experiments take many forms – conversational debates and inquiries, artistic tests and trials, scientific proposals, architectural and design blueprints, performative rehearsals and social gatherings. The aim is to develop pragmatic and conceptual thinking and action in the public sphere and amongst different constituencies. Anyone can propose an experiment and BxNU will try and make it possible.

Christine Borland, BALTIC (BxNU) Professor 2012 – 2016
Forum Theatre workshop led by Francis Rifkin, ‘Reorganising Cultural Institutions’ symposium, BALTIC39, June 2019.
Performance by Sister Shrill. I Remember Most What Never Happened 2017.