b. 1968, Ireland
Between 2002-2005, Sandra Johnston was awarded an Arts Humanities and Research Council Research Fellowship. During this research the art works were focused around core issues of trauma, in particular the concept of “Trauma of Place” – exploring how artists can make creative interventions within spaces associated in public memory with violent events. This research was instigated initially in response to the post Cease-Fire situation within Northern Ireland, subsequently evolved outwards into many different international contexts, developing the core concept of investigating relationships between processes of art, and issues of territory, trauma and commemoration. Johnston also produces video/audio installations,and durational drawing installations which are made directly onto architectural features. She has produced work at an international level since the early nineties and recently represented Northern Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 2005.
Permanent post: appointed in 2005 Lecturer in Time-Based Art, University of Ulster, Belfast. Currently on a 3-year Leave Of Absence (March 2009/2012) to undertake a PhD project, titled “Beyond Reasonable Doubt”, a cross-disciplinary investigation into concepts of doubt, explored through consideration of improvisational art processes and systems of legal justice.
Additional teaching experience: Guest Professor at the Bauhaus University, Weimar, “Public Art and New Artistic Strategies” programme, Semester based on issues of “ART & COMMEMORATION”.
Professional Activities have included involvement as a co-director with various Artist-run collectives located in Belfast, including Founding & Co-director of CATALYST ARTS (1993-1995) and Committee Member of BBEYOND (2002-2007). Currently she is developing projects with AGENCY, a collective initiated in January 2007.
Sandra Johnston’s Ephemeral Monuments
Essay by Emma Doran on Johnston’s 2009 performance at Toronto Free Gallery:
“[Her] performances become like ephemeral monuments; the memory of the performance persists as both a way to recall the trauma and as a new conceptualization of the site, altering the individual and collective memory of it.”