Kate’s research interests lie at the intersection of museology, civic collections, material culture and material thinking. Her work has been shown extensively throughout Australia and is regularly exhibited overseas. With a creative practice that spans textiles, adaptable sculpture, installation and video, Kate’s work is driven by material investigation, and deeply invested in archival and collection focused research. Her current projects are working with cloth as a cartographic tool, and are exploring textiles as propositional instruments for navigation, transmission and communication.
Kate has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout Australia, New Zealand, the United States and the U.K. Her work has featured in Frieze, Australian Art Collector, Museum Magazine, Artlink, Das Platforms and Textile Fibre Forum. Recent projects include The lighter a thought the more it rises, Toi Moroki Centre of Contemporary Art, Christchurch, New Zealand (2019); Soft Topologies, UTS Gallery, Sydney (2018); Ley Lines, St Andrews Museum, Hawick Museum, and Calendar House, Scotland (2017); Microgravity, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS), Sydney (2017); System of Objects, National Art School, Sydney (2017); When moving through ruins, The Glasshouse, Port Macquarie Regional Gallery, NSW (2016).
At UTS, Kate is a Senior Lecturer and the Director of Undergraduate Design Studies, teaching in interdisciplinary focused subjects across design history, design thinking and design futures. In addition, Kate has lectured in the Fashion and Textiles program in second-year theory, and in Honours Dissertation and Studio.
Kate is a Freedman Scholar, previous recipient of the Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship, and has received multiple project grants from the Australian Council for the Arts. She has participated in international residency programs in New Delhi (2012), Paris (2012 and 2020), Oaxaca (2014) and Glasgow (2016). She currently serves on the Artist Advisory Group at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, and has been a Research Fellow at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. She is the 2019 recipient of the Eva Breuer Travelling Art Scholarship and Cité Internationale des Arts residency awarded by the Art Gallery of NSW.
Can supervise: YES
Museums, public collections and civic archives
Director, Undergraduate Design Studies
Scardifield, KA 2017, 'The Collection As Constellation: Cosmic Tapestries and Bodies of Knowledge', MAAS Magazine, vol. 120, no. Winter, pp. 38-41.
This article details my research of objects and ephemera linked to the former Governor of New South Wales and Scottish astronomer Thomas Brisbane (1773–1860). As a Research Fellow at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) in 2017, the Powerhouse Museum and Sydney Observatory opened its stores to me and unlocked its display cabinets containing 19th-century objects brought to Australia by Brisbane. This included a refracting telescope made by Banks of London, a Kater Azimuth compass and part of a Troughton mural circle, which had been transported from Brisbane’s private observatory in Largs, Scotland, to Australia’s first observatory on the grounds of Government House in Parramatta in the early 1800s. These astronomical objects used by Brisbane and his assistants Carl Rümker and James Dunlop to chart and map the southern sky have informed the development of a new body of work and exhibition, Ley Lines.
Scardifield, KA 2010, 'Making and Maintaining Space – Artist-Run Initiatives Negotiating Compliance', un Magazine, vol. 4, no. 2.
Scardifield, K 2019, 'Making and Maintaining Space: Artist-run Initiatives negotiating Compliance' in Goodwin, C (ed), Permanent Recession A Handbook on Art, Labour and Circumstance, Onomatopee, Netherlands, pp. 153-159.
Artist-run Initiatives (ARIs) in New South Wales are trying to exist in a climate where both state and loca; government are publicly pushing to increase the profile of their community and volunteer generated activity. Working in opposition to this, however, is pressure stemming from local government in the form of compliance legislation. For ARIs, a significant part of maintaining an artist-run space appears to be continually assessed through the organisation's ability to adapt in both creative and bureaucratic channels.
At the Artspace conference One Way or Another: Artist Self-Organisation in New South Wales, held in November 2009, Penelope Benton (co-founder of The Red Rattler, Marrickville) outlined ihe strenuous difficulties in achieving a best practice model for a compliant not-for-profit volunteer arts organisation. Essential dialogue continued to generate at the Sydney Arts Management Advisory Group (SAMAG) Making Space for Creative Communities seminar in February 2010, where Benton, Marcus Westbury (Renew Newcastle) and Tugi Balog (May Lane Ari Project) discussed different approaches used to reinvigorate urban areas through the provision of accessible and affordable spaces for artists and ARIs.
Scardifield, K 2019, 'The lighter a thought the more it rises', The lighter a thought the more it rises, Toi Moroki Centre of Contemporary Art, Toi Moroki Centre of Contemporary Art Christchurch.
A large scale immersive installation comprising of adaptable sculpture, textiles and a site responsive wall diagram.
Scardifield, KA 2018, 'Soft Topologies', Soft Topologies, UTS ART, UTS Gallery, UTS ART; SCA Galleries, University of Sydney.
Soft Topologies is a creative research project that encompasses adaptable textiles, interactive sculpture, video installation and loaned objects from the collection of The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences Australia (MAAS). This research is in the field of material culture, examining the intersection between relational aesthetics and archival object ecologies.
Soft Topologies was funded by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. Two iterations of the creative work were publicly exhibited, at UTS Gallery for the 2018 Sydney Design Festival, and at SCA Gallery, University of Sydney were it was nominated for the 2018 Fauvette Loureiro Award.
Scardifield, KA 2017, 'Ley Lines', Ley Lines, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) (as part of the exhibition 'Microgravity'); St Andrews Museum; Hawick Museum; Alchemy Film & Moving Image Festival; Callendar House, Falkirk (touring).
Ley Lines is a body of work spanning textiles, video and sculpture, including a series of digital prints on velvet and silk produced in collaboration with the School of Textiles and Design, Heriot Watt University (U.K.). This research is in the field of material culture, museums and civic collections.
By employing a celestial metaphor to examine and reimagine collection material, the research uncovered significant artefacts including union banners and maritime signal flags held across six distinct museum collections, and a number of astronomical instruments brought to Australia from Scotland in the 19th Century by the astronomer and former Governor of NSW, Thomas Brisbane (1773-1860). The resulting body of work explores connections and traces previously unseen thread lines between Scotland and Australia through textiles, film and sculpture.
This project was funded by Creative Scotland (U.K) and awarded a Research Fellowship with the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences (MAAS) and Sydney Observatory. Exhibition outcomes were curated by Dr Andrew Jacob as part of Microgravity at the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences in 2017. The video work ‘High Noon’ was selected for exhibition and screened as part of the Alchemy Film & Moving Image Festival (U.K. 2018). A solo exhibition curated by Catriona Duffy and Lucy McEachen (Panel, U.K) was presented at St Andrews Museum, Hawick Museum and Callendar House, touring over 2017/18.
Scardifield, KA 2016, 'When moving through ruins', When moving through ruins, Glasshouse Regional Gallery, UNSW Galleries, University of New South Wales (2014); ALASKA Projects (solo, 2015); Anna Pappas Gallery (2016); Spring 1883 (2016); The Glasshouse, Port Macquarie Regional Gallery (solo, 2016).
When moving through ruins is a collection of new work by Kate Scardifield.
This exhibition attempts to create a space for speculation and slow breathing across a series of interconnected and relational forms than span sculpture, installation, textiles and video.
Exploring perceptions of time, cross cultural mythologies and the body’s relationship to cloth, When moving through ruins traces the soft folds and shifting states of being that can materialise between convergence and collapse.
Scardifield, KA 2015, 'Base Matter', Base Matter, ALASKA Projects.
Scardifield, KA, 'Locating the pulse', Locating the pulse, The Cube, Mosman Art Gallery.
Tsai, J, 'System of Objects', Rayner Hoff Project Space, National Art School, National Art School.
Curated by Dr Jaime Tsai, System of Objects is an exhibition that explores the logic of collection and display. How might consuming from a hierarchy of commodities determine our sense of individuality and our social position? What roles do carefully arranged artefacts in museum taxonomies, or the repetition of certain art objects in collections, exhibitions, and media coverage, play in the acquisition and justification of knowledge? These object ‘systems’ invisibly structure everyday life, perpetuating inequalities, and concealing prejudice and desire. In this exhibition, the vibrant and diverse collections of eight artists are shown alongside artefacts from the National Art School archives, and ‘objective’ categorisations and wall texts are abandoned in favour of new modes of looking, interpreting, and knowing.
Scardifield, KA 2014, 'Into theatre, under the knife: cultures of dissection and contemporary art practice'.