Professor Katarzyna Kosmala – Invited Expert in Memory of Water Project, Chair in Media, Culture and Visual Practice in the School of Media, Culture & Society at the University of the West of Scotland, an art writer and curator. Prof Kosmala’s main research specialisms include heritage and participation, art production and enterprise, as well as gender and politics of representation. She has written on an uneasy fit between a tradition of arts participation (evolved out of more radical, autonomous practice in the context of social justice and societal change) and the more instrumental uses of arts participation in the context of regeneration as well as linking with poverty in a global scale. She chaired conference sessions and spoke at invited panels on these subjects at international conferences such as the Association of Critical Heritage Studies Biennial Conference; Gender Work and Organization, Arts in Society; and Habitat III the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development. She curated international exhibitions and written for art catalogues.
Since 2012, Prof Kosmala has led Interdisciplinary Research and Knowledge Exchange Network: Regeneration and Waterfront Heritage Zones in Northern Europe examining participatory approaches to waterfront regeneration in urban spaces in transition. The main case studies of regeneration has focused on Govan, Glasgow (Scotland) and Gdansk, former Gdansk shipyard (Poland), each of which are dealing with the consequences of the post-industrial demise of the shipbuilding industry, trying to find a transition into a new economy and community, seeking alternative and better futures. Over the last 7 years, the initiative delivered exhibitions, art interventions, conferences, public consultations, roundtables and symposia on a local, national and international level (Regeneration and Waterfront Heritage Zones in Northern Europe Research Network https://waterfrontheritagenetwork.wordpress. com). This work is underpinned by academic research programmes in Scotland and Poland and connecting to wider European context with the participation of artists, architects and community groups – having grassroots initiatives at the centre of collaboration. For the Memory of Water project Prof Kosmala’s invaluable experience and expertise linking with her research, curation and knowledge exchange supports the Urban Labs programme.