I am an artist, researcher and teacher, and my work includes performance, installation, documentation and writing, and it engages with memory and contemporary performance, remembering/mis-remembering as a form of creative spectatorship; constraint as artistic stimulus, and site-responsive performance. My performance and installation work has been presented in London and around the UK and Europe, in sites such as the Rag Factory and Resistance Gallery in London, Northbrook in Guernsey, and at venues such as the Camden People’s Theatre, Drill Hall, BAC, ICA and the Shunt Lounge, also in London; as well as Manchester Green Room, Edinburgh Traverse and Studio T in Utrecht. Further details and images of my work can be found on www.katjahilevaara.com.
My recent practice research focuses on memory response, a method of critiquing performance which foregrounds creativity in memory, and I have published a chapter on memory response in Experiencing Liveness in Contemporary Performance, ed. by Matthew Reason and Anja Lindelöf (2016). With my long-term artistic collaborator, I co-edited The Creative Critic: Writing as/about Practice (Routledge 2018), which is a collection bringing together a range of examples of interdisciplinary methods to engage creatively yet critically with one’s own and others’ practices, introducing ways to discuss artistic work without compromising the creative drive that inspired the work in the first place.
I have degrees from Queen Mary University of London (PhD and MA) and Goldsmiths (BA).
I have taught at Goldsmiths since 2000, and have convened and taught on most of the undergraduate modules as well as contributed to MA and PhD teaching. I have also taught at Queen Mary, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of Roehampton and Kingston University, as well as run professional workshops and courses.
My teaching interests range from Live Art and installation to devising, directing, dramaturgy and performing, and from performance analysis and contemporary European performance to 20th and 21st century theatre and criticism and postdramatic practices in performance. My recent practice-led research contributes to a range of modules I teach (Theatre Making 3, Theatre Making 2, Questions of Performance).
I often work in collaboration with other artists and professionals, and my most recent work, together with healthcare professionals, explores ideas surrounding domestic labour and motherhood. We have begun to think about performative ways to re-imagine the relationship between mothers and other carers and the cared for, while also bearing in mind the importance of the shared and public space of carers.
For the last ten years I have also been involved in an ongoing collaboration with Emily Orley, which has involved maintenance performances, a range of performance installations (Brief Encounters (or The Breaking of Images)) and performative papers (which have come under the heading Making Making Matter). We are interested in exploring ideas surrounding the ethics of delight, image-making, and the ephemerality of performance, but also promoting the value of practice research in the Academy.
I am a collaborative artist, researcher and teacher working in performance, installation and art-writing. My research is concerned with (mis-) remembering, creative constraint and ideas surrounding maintenance, care and enchantment.
Performance, live art and installation work
2018: Where Once There Was. A performance installation with Emily Orley. Sound by Diane Le Prevost, Maryjane Orley and Martin Purvis. We paid homage to Guernsey’s dwindling growing industry at the Northbrook Nursery, where once there stood a greenhouse, and now only shards of shattered glass remain. For our performance, we marked out where the central aisle of one of the vinery greenhouses was with metal objects found on the site, and wove string around them to suggest a corridor of activity. Part of Hors dé Saisaon| Out of Season, a group show at the Old Northbrook Nursery, St Sampsons, Guernsey (1-16 September 2018). Funded by the Guernsey Arts Commission.
2017: The Bridge Project: A performance with Sibylle Erdmann, Tara Fatehi Irani, Chris Heighes, Johanna Linsley and Emily Orley about building a bridge. A bridge heedless of border controls, territorial disputes, oceans, mountains, walls, maps and distances involved. Out of Britain. A team of committed and inspired engineers, construction workers and poets assemble a walkway of facts, fictions and wooden planks. The Pleasance Theatre, London.
2016: The Little Prince: performer in a series of R&D performances, directed by Cass Fleming, April, July and September, 2016. This performance was part of a research initiative, New Pathways Network, also led by Fleming, investigating Michael Chekhov’s technique in a devising context. Queen Mary and Goldsmiths University of London.
2015: Maintain, Manu Tenere, To Hold In The Hand: A performance with Emily Orley in homage to Mierle Laderman Ukeles and her 1969 Manifesto for Maintenance Art. For one hour we sorted, folded and stacked a mountain of clean laundry while listening to and reading the testimonies of 30 people about the housework that they (don't always) do. Congruence and Contestation: Contemporary Feminism and Performance conference at Roehampton University.
Ivory Towers 2015: a durational performance, together with Emily Orley, which paid homage to the feminist artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles and her 1969 Maintenance Art Manifesto with a mountain of tea towels. Peopling the Palace/s at Queen Mary University of London.
Making Making Matter: a dialogue about performance and scholarship. Performance lecture/experiment with Emily Orley about the pressures of practice-as-research at the Performing Dialectics symposium, Queen Mary University of London.
Conference contributions, workshops, talks, podcasts
2018: ‘The Archangel Gabriel’s Flight Training, or some notes on a dramaturgy of remembering’. A paper at the 27th Dis-Play, Practice Research Forum (PRF) at Goldsmiths University of London (20 November).
‘Folding Outwards: Creative Critical Writing in Practice’. A talk with Emily Orley reflecting on some of the challenges facing practitioner-researchers today drawing on our recent co-edited book, The Creative Critic: Writing As/About Practice. Syracuse University, London (17 October) and Research Works at Guildhall School of Music and Drama (19 November).
‘Creating you Critical’. A workshop for PhD students on creative-critical writing with Emily Orley. Guildhall School of Speech and Drama, London (19 November).
‘A question of performance: Responding to site/resisting space’. A workshop with Emily Orley drawing on our site-specific performance practice delivered alongside the Hors de Saisaon / Out of Season group exhibition. Funded by Guernsey Arts Commission. Elizabeth College Art Studios, Guernsey (31 August).
‘Site, Care, Maintenance and Enchantment’. A talk with Emily Orley reflecting on our joint practice, delivered alongside the Hors de Saisaon / Out of Season group exhibition. Funded by Guernsey Arts Commission. Digital Greenhouse, Guernsey (30 August).
Podcast talk about The Creative Critic: Writing As/About Practice with Emily Orley and host Chris Goode. Thompson’s Live: Series 5, episode 10 (25 July). Available online https://chrisgoodeandco.podbean.com/e/thompson%E2%80%99s-live-s5-ep10-25th-july-2018-katja-hilevaara-emily-orley/
2017 ‘Rigorous Folding: act remember write act remember again’. A talk with Emily Orley framing the act of folding as a way to reflect on one’s own artistic practice at the international Society for Artistic Research (SAR) conference at The Hague, The Netherlands.
2016 ‘Drawing on motherhood and maintenance’. A paper discussing our performance work which draws on the work we do as mothers with Emily Orley at Maternal Meets the Performance research event at Edge Hill University.