Kim Gurney works in an interdisciplinary way between writing, art practice and academic research. Her research curiosities include contemporary art, urbanism, the public sphere, journalism and media studies which she engages through arts-based methods and new forms of writing. She is a long-standing affiliation as Research Associate at the African Centre for Cities and her current work for ACC explores artist-led spaces in selected African cities and their relationship to the urban fabric. She also holds an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Next Generation Researcher fellowship in the Centre for Humanities Research at University of the Western Cape.

Kim is widely published including two recently authored books anchored to Johannesburg. The Art of Public Space: Curating and Re-imagining the Ephemeral City (2015) traces performative art interventions to propose ideas around the commons, and August House is Dead; Long Live August House! The story of a Johannesburg atelier (2017) is a book of creative nonfiction. Her own art practice deals with disappearances of different sorts and makes restorative gestures, while engaging other practitioners through curatorial platforms. Kim’s former occupation as a journalist and managing various newsrooms informs her interdisciplinary work through an abiding interest in current affairs and South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Kim lives in Cape Town, South Africa.

Recent academic work: Visit


Selected recent publications:


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.


Gurney, K. [forthcoming 2016] inDobraszczyk, 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?”inAnheier, 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. (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