Catalyst Conference


Date: Friday 10th and Saturday 11th February 2017, 10am – 5pm
Venue: The Anatomy Rooms , MC5 on the Festival Map

As part of SPECTRA 2017, Curated Place are inviting artists, designers, academics, architects, business leaders and social entrepreneurs to come together for a two day conference with our international partners, to identify ways to develop the cultural economy in Aberdeen.

An action focused conference about cities, light, events and economy.

Taking place over two days the conference will invite experts to the SPECTRA festival to experience Aberdeen at its most vibrant then ask – how do we maintain this and grow the cultural economy? Led by action, not the reading of papers, and interspersed with entertainment the event is intended to be a catalyst for action at home and internationally.

This conference will explore key arts and cultural catalysts through panel discussions, workshops, tours and discussion groups, as well as feature performances from SPECTRA festival artists, networking events and evening entertainment.

Crucially  the event will be about actions not just talk, with a follow up series of pilots projects shaped from the best of the conference ideas to take shape ready for SPECTRA 2018.


Confirmed Speakers

Stefán Magnússon, Founder of Eistnaflug festival, Iceland’s biggest metal festival

Ingi Thor Busk, Founder of Nordic Intercultural Creative Events

Chris Carney, Founder of grassroots festival Threshold, Liverpool

Elin Melberg, Founder of artist working space, Erfjordgt 8, Stavanger

Garth Gratrix, Founder of Abingdon Studios, Blackpool

Jorgen Callesen, Artistic Director of Warehouse 9, Copenhagen

Tony Trehey, Head of Arts and Museums, Bury Bury Art Museum



Booking Information

To book your place at the conference please follow the link below.

For more information contact

SPECTRA Catalyst Conference Brochure



Conference Panels

Further speaker and schedule information to follow.

PANEL: The Artist Community: How to run artist working spaces and the importance of artistic community

Elin Melberg and Margrethe Aanestad are the founders of Elefant and Prosjektrom Normanns studio in Stavanger. Elefant is an independent non-profit studio and office space for around 30 creative professionals within architecture, photography, art, writing, design, publishing, film, journalism and invention.

Garth Gratrix is the founder of Abingdon Studios in Blackpool, a contemporary visual art studios and project space.

Jørgen Callesen is a Performance Artist and the Artistic Director of Warehouse 9, a performance space in the Brown Meat district in Copenhagen with an international profile. Since 2007, Warehouse9 has presented new trends in film, performance art, burlesque, dance, literature, art, activism and music.

 Jim Ewen is the Manager of The Anatomy Rooms, a new art and design studio facility based in Aberdeen city centre. Housing 20 resident practitioners in a mix of private, shared and open-plan spaces The Anatomy Rooms is a centre for creative engagement, critical discourse, knowledge and skill transfer.


PANEL: The Artist’s Perspective – How artists are currently supported in Aberdeen and how we can build on this infrastructure

Lead by Aberdeen Performing Arts

 Sara Stroud is a moving image practitioner and lecturer based in Aberdeen, whose work Forget Me Not is being shown at SPECTRA 2017.

Rebecca Collins and Johanna Lindsay are sound and cultural performance artists and academics.

Sarah Hymas and Maya Chowdhry are writers who have been working with Aberdeen Performing Arts to create an immersive walk through Aberdeen.


PANEL: The Collaboration – How to establish artistic exchanges and cultivate international collaborations

Lead by European Light Expression Network (ENLIGHT), a SPECTRA Festival partner

 Valentino Catricala, is the Project Manager at Fondazione Mondo Digitale’ to ‘Valentino Catricalà, artistic director Media Art Festival (Rome) and Media Art Project coordinator at Fondazione Mondo Digitale.

Dr Toby Heys is a lecturer at Manchester School of Art and part of MIRIAD Research Centre, which carries forward Manchester’s proud 175 year tradition in art and design education, whilst offering an innovative and modern approach to research and study.

 Hege Tapio is the Artistic Director of i/o/lab, an artist-run organization with expertise within the field of art, technology and science, based in Stavanger, which produces a biennial media arts festival.


PANEL: The Platform – How venues and festivals support artistic development and broaden the artist’s audience nationally and further afield

 Tony Trehey, is the Director of Bury Art Museum in Greater Manchester. Uniquely for a local authority gallery, Trehy has created a 21st Century vision of public culture developed in the context of the opportunities of globalisation which redefines the Local and culture as economy. He is an international multi-artform curator, and also the director of the international Text Festival – the world’s only language art festival.

Chris Carney is the founder of grassroots festival Threshold Festival of Music & Arts which has its roots in the creative industries of Liverpool and the North West. For 5 successive years, the event has brought together a diverse wealth of artists, musicians, promoters, academics and enthusiasts to The Baltic Triangle district of the city.

 Stefán Magnússon, is the Artistic Director of Eistnaflug festival, the largest heavy metal festival in Iceland, which despite its stunning but isolated location in the far east of the country, still attracts huge names each year.

Angela Michael, is Festivals and Cultural Director at VisitAberdeenshire, who works with ten of the region’s top festivals to increase the profile of each event through a collaborative approach, maintain and develop audiences locally, nationally and internationally and as a result increase the artistic profile and visibility of Aberdeen.


PANEL: The Catalyst – How to access funding, audiences and markets

 Andy Brydon is the Director of Curated Place, the international arts production company behind SPECTRA, Aberdeen’s Festival of Light.

Ingi Thor Busk is responsible for creating a major international Nordic Festival in the North West of England delivering a diverse programme of film, digital media, literature, theatre, visual art, design, food, music and dance. Working in close partnership with all the Nordic Embassies and all major arts organisations in Scandinavia to create relationships with all the major cultural venues in the North West.