Catherine Bertola

Catherine Bertola


Personal profile

Academic Biography

Catherine Bertola is an artist, whose work involves creating site-specific installations, drawings and films that address the invisible histories of women, whose roles and contributions to society are overlooked and undervalued. The work gives voice to untold narratives, excavating the past to confront contemporary inequalities that women continue to face. Catherine is Senior Lecturer in Fine Art and Course Leader for BA Fine Art.

Her work is led by research, out of which ideas emerge as connections are made between unearthed narratives, imagery, site and materials, as well as drawing from her own personal experience. Past work has often been precarious, with installations made from materials such as dust, disappearing almost as quickly as they were made; this temporality is an integral part of the work.

Catherine has 25 years experience of working with internationally recognised commissioners and galleries such as; V&A, National Trust, Crafts Council, National Museum Wales, Government Art Collection, Leeds Museums and Galleries, Arts&Heritage and Museum of Arts & Design (New York).

Through working with numerous heritage sites, she has become increasingly interested in the relationship between contemporary art and heritage, and the role artists can play in challenging received histories. In 2017, as a Leverhulme Artist in Residence, she collaborated with historian Dr Rachel Rich, Leeds Becket University to explore the intersection between their approaches to examining historical archives, and the value of different ways of interpreting history. Together they co-authored a chapter about our research and experience for the publication Intersecting Practices: Contemporary Art in Heritage Spaces, (Routledge, 2020), and in 2019 Catherine presented a paper at the ‘Mapping Contemporary Art in the Heritage Experience’ conference, at Newcastle University based on the outcomes of this residency.

Other research projects include a collaboration in 2021 with Dr Lisa Taylor a media and cultural studies scholar At Leeds Beckett University on an Independent Social Research Fund (ISRF) funded project, ‘Landscapes of Loss’, that looked at the impact of deindustrialization on the landscape and community of ex-carpet factory workers in Halifax, West Yorkshire, and how the trauma of this loss might be healed. This culminated in an exhibition of photographs, Intertwining Lines, and written text for Taylor’s forthcoming publication, Spectres of Loss (MUP) about the wider research around the project, and the impact it had on the participants, and their sense of place.

For more information on these and other projects, see Catherine Bertola’s website.

Education/Academic qualification

Bachelor, BA (Hons) Fine Art, Newcastle University

Award Date: 1 Jun 1999