Skip to content | Accessibility Information

Dr Gulsen Bal

Senior Lecturer
Programme Leader in MA/MFA Contemporary Curating

Dr Gulsen Bal

Gulsen Bal, Assc. Prof, Dr., recently took on a new role as Course Leader of MA/MFA Contemporary Curating Programme and joined Manchester School of Art as Senior Lecturer in Curating for UG Programmes in Art Theory & Practice in 2020. She previously held the position of Visiting Research Fellow at Manchester School of Art working in Contextual Practice, in curating with her main focus on the Department of Art & Performance, Art Theory and Practice programmes (Curating, Art History, Fine Art, BA Degree & Department of Contemporary Curating, MA/MFA Degree) between 2019 to 2020. At the same time, she was lecturer in the Faculty of Arts at ARUCAD - Arkin University of Creative Arts and Design in Cyprus from 2018 to 2020. Bal was appointed as Departmental Advisory Consultant at Istanbul Bilgi University during 2017-18, where she was Head of Department as well as holding the position of Course & Program Coordinator, NABA and Domus Academy liaison and Erasmus+ co-ordinator for the period of 2013-17. Additionally, she lectured as a Visiting Professor at Istanbul Yeditepe University for the MA degree program in Curatorial Studies between 2013 and 2017. She taught at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien) in the Department of Visual Culture from 2008 to 2013.

She also initiated an international residency co-operation between MA Contemporary Curating programme at Manchester School of Art and MuseumsQuartier Wien under “Curators of Tomorrow” program within a scope of inter and trans-disciplinary approaches in 2019.

Bal completed her undergraduate degree in time-based media art specialising in multi-media installation and video art in London and her MA in Critical Fine Art at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, where she also undertook her Doctorate studies with a compilation of a thesis titled Negation of Complicated Mirrors – An Examination of Differential Structures within the “Production of Subject” Realised through Creative Practice. Her research has involved exploring the temporal and strategic conjunctions of differential structures. Bal sought to understand the implications and complexity of the “production of the subject” exploring methods for practice-based research in fine art and in curatorial practices.

Her research addressed a number of inter-related fields of creative practice and situated them in a critical inquiry in methodologies that structure how the ‘subject’ is manifested. She developed a “philosophy of practice” through which a mirror reflection of a world “yet-to-come” would become visible in art. A “philosophy of practice”, linking artistic works and curatorial activities was developed through a series of philosophical reflections; artworks; curatorial practices and dialogues with variety of artists and theorists.

Bal is a curator and an art and visual culture theorist and the founder and inaugural Director of Open Space, the influential art forum based in Vienna since 2007. Its primary focus is to bring different critical perspectives on art and visual culture to the surface in search of new outlines of contemporary arts by exploring new models of curatorial positions in which criticality becomes crucial. She has received several awards for the ‘distinguished’ delivery of programs recognised as amongst the best accomplishments in the field of international contemporary art.

She has curated and contributed to Art Fairs and Biennials and participated in talks and conferences internationally. She has published wide range of articles in peer reviewed journals and magazines and, to date, has edited fifteen books.

Also, her recent curatorial practice includes: “BALKAN(S) NOW” – Status seminar and artistic survey” at Vienna Art Fair - ‘VIENNA Live’ (Vienna, 2013), Mestna galerija (Ljubljana, 2013) and Remont (Belgrade, 2013); “It’s in the ‘can’” at Open Systems (Vienna, 2012); the 12th edition of the renowned festival “PIXXELPOINT: Let’s Get Ready” at Metropolitana Gallery (Nova Gorica, 2011), Nova Gorica City Gallery (Nova Gorica, 2011), Tir Gallery (Gorizia, 2011) and the Mostovna Cultural Centre (Gorizia, 2011); “Ist dies alles?” at Open Space (Vienna, 2011); “No Ifs, No Buts” at DEPO (Istanbul, 2010) and she is also one of the co-curators of the 28th Biennial of Graphic Art: “The Matrix: An Unstable Reality” at Gallery Škuc (Ljubljana, 2009).

Amongst others, she was selected by London’s Saatchi Gallery as one of a hundred curators from all over the world to participate in “100 CURATORS 100 DAYS” for the largest exhibit of its kind on a global platform in 2012.

° Qualifications:

Ph.D. in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, London

MA Degree in Critical Fine Art at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, London

BA Degree in Fine Art at London Metropolitan University, London

° Professional activities:

Membership of Professional Institutional Associations (active):
ACIA – International Association of Art Critics (UK branch), London 2008

Editorial Advisory Board (active):
Third Text - Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Art and Culture Magazine (Routledge Publication), London 2008

Janus Unbound: Journal of Critical Studies produced by Memorial University (Pluto publication), Newfoundland and Labrador 2020

Also, she has been called upon as a juror and critic on several boards including, AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) - Research Network, Lincoln University (Cambridge); Cultural Critique Journal (The University of Minnesota Press, Minnesota); The Global Board of Contemporary Art (Brussels); Museum of Contemporary Art - GfZK (Leipzig); Akademie der Bildenden Künste Wien - a[ (Vienna); Fellowship Program for Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen (Innsbruck) and Siemens Art (Istanbul).

Bal welcomes PhD students, particularly in the subject areas of production of subjects; spaces of productions; contemporary curatorial practices and positions; political art and critical practices; socially engaged art; art and activism; geopolitics and bio-politics; ethico-aesthetic paradigm; situational representation; territories and borders; migration and mobilities.


Open Space – Verein für ein neues Forum von Kunst und visueller Kultur

Open Space – Verein für ein neues Forum von Kunst und visueller Kultur aims to bring diverse creative practices together to encourage exchange and joint projects with its visual arts programme within its long established history in Vienna. The programme of Open Space intends to explore the future, generating new ideas to improve cross-border as well as critical dialogues to facilitate new kinds of creative connections that are concerned with interconnected routes within the European space in which a certain creative agenda offers new potentials in the field of contemporary art. Details…


Gulsen Bal is a member of the Art and Performance Research Hub.


Bal, G., 2023. Curatorial: Power as the Basis of Right, MuseumsQuartier Wien, 12/11/2023.

Bal, G., 2020. Curatorial: Borrowed Time (Geliehene Zeit), Fluc, 8/7/2020 - 9/8/2020.

GULSEN, BAL., 2019. Curatorial: "Art Initiative: Open Space", Contemporary Istanbul (Istanbul), 11/9/2019 - 15/9/2015.

GULSEN, BAL., 2019. Curatorial: "Independent Spaces: OPEN SPACE", Parallel Vienna (Vienna), 23/9/2019 - 29/9/2019.

GULSEN, BAL., 2019. Curatorial: "It never is!", Q21/ MuseumsQuartier Wien (Vienna), 19/11/2019 - 19/11/2019.

GULSEN, BAL., 2019. Curatorial: "Voyage through a Country: 1 day to 5", Art Rooms Gallery (Kyrenia), 5/9/2019 - 6/10/2019.

GULSEN, BAL., 2018. Curatorial: "Lost in Europe: in the wake of Britain's inner emigration", Mekan 68 (Vienna), 18/10/2018 - 9/11/2018.

GULSEN, BAL., 2018. Curatorial: "OPEN SPACE is 10!", Open Sapce (Vienna), 9/1/2018.

GULSEN, BAL., 2018. Curatorial: "too much, too little!", Mekan 68 (Vienna), 15/12/2018 - 19/1/2019.

GULSEN, BAL., 2017. Curatorial: "Demanding the Impossible at Unexpected Turns", philomena+ (Vienna), 4/10/2017 - 17/12/2017.

GULSEN, BAL., 2016. Curatorial: "What is Left?", freiraum/ Q21 /MuseumsQuartier (Vienna), 22/9/2016 - 11/11/2016.

GULSEN, BAL., 2015. Curatorial: "Say what?", Zilberman Gallery (Istanbul), 14/1/2015 - 7/3/2015.

GULSEN, BAL., 2015. Curatorial: "To what end?", Camera Austria (Graz), 27/9/2015 - 22/11/2015.

GULSEN, BAL., 2014. Curatorial: "Places of Transition", freiraum/ Q21 /MuseumsQuartier (Vienna), 23/1/2014 - 21/3/2014.


GULSEN, BAL., 2017. 'Open Systems: READER: Tomorrow is not Promised!'.

GULSEN, BAL., 2016. 'Negation of Complicated Mirrors: An Examination of Differential Structures within the "Production of Subject" Realised through Creative Practice', LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing.

GULSEN, BAL., 2011. 'Open Space - what is possible in the political potentiality...', Divus.

GULSEN, BAL., 2010. 'Open Space - what is possible in creative practice', Divus.

GULSEN, BAL., 2009. 'Open Space - Mapping contemporary creative practice', Divus.

Book Chapters

GULSEN, BAL., 2017. 'A Critical Perspective: Curating Video Reading'. In Short Films and Video in Contemporary Arts.

GULSEN, BAL., 2011. 'Focus: Resistant Feminist Operating Levels'. In Hundert Jahre VBKO Festschrift, Rudolfine Lackner.

GULSEN, BAL., 2010. 'Connection Zones'. In Tactics of Invisibility, Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König.

GULSEN, BAL., 2010. 'Nowhere to turn to?'. In Connection Zones, MGML Ljubljana.

GULSEN, BAL., 2008. 'Mapping the Shifting Borders: Beyond Point Zero'. In New Media Technology, Science and Politics, Loecker Verlag.

Scholarly Editions

McDowall, A., 2020. 'all of it', Bloomsbury Publishing.

Bal, G., 2008. 'Turkey: The Space of Min(d)field', Third Text - Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Art and Culture Magazine, Routledge Publication, London.

Internet Publications

GULSEN, BAL., 2014. 'Reader: BALKAN(S) NOW',

GULSEN, BAL., 2013. 'Of Many Worlds!',

GULSEN, BAL., 2006. 'Subjects in Space',

Journal Articles

GULSEN, BAL., 2019. 'Delirium and resistance - Activist art and the crisis of capitalism', Visual Studies, 33 (4), pp. 404-406.

Bal, G., 2012. 'Guest Editorial Note: Is this all there is?', Journal of Visual Art Practice, 10 (2), pp. 109-112.

GULSEN, BAL., 2010. 'Production of Spaces', Sanat Dünyamiz, Istanbul.

Bal, G., 2008. 'Insight', Third Text, 22 (1), pp. 1-4.

GULSEN, BAL., 2007. 'Settled in Mobility?', Toplumbilim, Istanbul.

GULSEN, BAL., 2007. 'When Unavoidable Knocks on the Door', ARTMargins, NY.

Bal, G., 2006. 'Strangers with angelic faces', Third Text, 20 (5), pp. 619-621.

GULSEN, BAL., 2006. 'Uncompromising Hostility', AfterImage Magazine, NY.