Kim Gurney (Ph.D) is a writer, researcher and visual artist engaged in a multiplicity of projects that bridge contemporary art, urban life and ideas around the commons. She often uses arts-based investigative methods and experiments with narrative form. Kim is affiliated as a Research Associate in the African Centre for Cities at University of Cape Town where she has worked for a decade on various projects largely relating to art in public space and city futures. The latest, called Platform/ Plotform, explores the working principles of independent art spaces in selected African cities. Following on-site fieldwork, a workshop with key participants and a public discussion were held in Cape Town in 2019. Project findings are articulated in a forthcoming book, Panya Routes, and a teaching module.



PHOTO | Daleen Nel Hall


Selected recent publications:


Gurney, K. (forthcoming) Panya Routes: Independent art spaces in Africa. Motto Books: Berlin.

Gurney, K. (2017) August House is Dead, Long Live August House! The Story of a Johannesburg Atelier. FouthWall Books: Johannesburg.

Gurney, K. (2015) The Art of Public Space: Curating and Re-imagining the Ephemeral City. Palgrave Macmillan: London.

Digital storymaps

Gurney, K. 2020. Green Screen. Cape Town: Centre for Humanities Research. Available:

Gurney, K. 2019. From End to End. A Storymap of Viral Sculptures. Available:


Gurney, K. [forthcoming 2016] in Dobraszczyk, P., Galviz, C.L. & Garrett, B. L. (eds) Undergrounds: Exploring Cities Within (working title). Reaktion Books: London.

Pieterse, E. & Gurney, K. (2012) “Johannesburg: Investing in Cultural Economies or Publics?” in Anheier, H.K. & Y.R. Isar (eds) & guest editor M. Hoelscher, M. (eds) Cultural Policy and Governance in a New Metropolitan Age: The Cultures and Globalization Series (Vol. 5). Sage Publications Ltd: London, Chapter 17, pp. 195-203.


Gurney, K. 2021. The mogul, his meerkat and the meerkat’s second life. In: eflux Architecture: Workplace – a collaboration between e-flux Architecture and the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Edited by Nick Axel, Albert Ferré, Nikolaus Hirsch, Megan Marin. Available:

Gurney, K. 2020. Offscreen: Making it and faking it. In: Writingplace. Reading(s) and Writing(s). Unfolding Processes of Transversal Writing, Vol. 3, pp. 110-130. Available:

Gurney, K. July 2018. Zombie monument: Public art and performing the present. In: Cities. Special issue – Urban Geography of the Arts. Guinard, P. & Molina, G. (Eds). Vol. 7, pp. 33-38. DOI:

Gurney, K. September 2016. Warp and Woof: Stalking Art from End to End. In: Critical Arts: South-North Cultural and Media Studies, Special Issue edited by Kris Rutten. Vol. 30 Issue 3, pp. 411-427.

Gurney, K. (January 2015) “The Conservationist”, A narrative essay that profiles Luzann Isaacs, who manages an urban wetland park in Cape Town, published in association with the exhibition City Desired, which offers the story of a South African city through the lives of 11 Capetonians, Cityscapes, Vol. 6: 152-165.

Gurney, K. (2014), “Edge Design”,Urban Form and Social Change in Khayelitsha and Dunoon, Cityscapes, Issue No. 5: 34-49.

Gurney, K. (2013), “Sounding the City: Urban Performance in Johannesburg”, Kunstforum International, Issue 223: 10/13-12/13: pp. 94-107.

Gurney, K. (September 2013, online; 05 November print), “Ethnography of a Flame”, Critical Arts: South-North Cultural and Media Studies, 27(4): 439-443.

Gurney, K. (2012), “The Fractured Public Interest”, Rhodes Journalism Review, Issue 32: 8.

Gurney, K. (2012), “Mzansi’s Golden Economy and performance art”, The Johannesburg Salon, Volume 5: 98-101

Other writing examples

Gurney, K. 2001. DIY institutions, artistic thinking and common space. In: Public Space. Barcelona: CCCB. Available:

Gurney, K. 2021. Kicking Dust: Communal pathways as works of art. In: Review. Edited by Keely Shinners. Available:

Gurney, K. July 2020. The Second Lives of Zombie Monuments. In: Africasacountry. Available:

Gurney, K. June 2020. Artists help us leap into the unknown. In: Africasacountry. Available:

Gurney, K. December 2015. Performing the Present. In: ArtAfrica, Issue 2: 14-17. Available:

Gurney, K., Pieterse, E. and Govender, T. 2015. Futurehood: A Synthesis Report. African Centre for Cities, UCT. Visit:

Gurney, K. November 2015. Re-imagining Africa’s Cities. In: Ogojiii, Issue 03, pp. 43-49.

Gurney, K. & photographer Sydelle Willow Smith. January 2015. The Conservationist. In: Cityscapes, Vol. 6: 152-165. Published as part of City Desired, an ACC exhibition on Cape Town. Available:

Gurney, K. & photographer Sydelle Willow Smith. January 2015. The Doppelgangers: Hasan and Husain Essop. In: Cityscapes, Issue 06: 64-77. Available:

Gurney, K. 2014. Edge Design.Urban Form and Social Change in Khayelitsha and Dunoon. In: Cityscapes, Issue 5: 34-49. Available: