Jess Mathews


Lecturer in Fine Art Practice

Art & Design Communication

Contact Details

tel: 01905 542336

Jess Mathews is a curator / producer based in Cardiff, Wales. Her practice-based research often necessitates a complex dialogue between the roles of writer, researcher, explorer, curator and maker. Key to this process, is that the thing that is produced (be that an object, a text, a book, an event, an exhibition, a symposium), remains open to intervention and moments of between.

Between 2017-18 Jess initiated and directed The Rejoinders, a British Council and Arts Council Wales / Wales Arts International funded project as part of the UK / India Year of Culture 2017-18. Critical to this investigative curatorial project were questions around: collaboration; curation as verb; the archive and its live-ness; and the possibility of a new constellation of knowledge (between India & Wales) realised and presented in real-time. Partners included CONA Foundation, Mumbai, What About Art?, Mumbai, g39, Cardiff and the Fabrication Research Group, University of Worcester.

Previous projects include: When Then is Now by AJ Stockwell & Benjamin A. Owen, The Lantern, University of Worcester in collaboration with Worcester City Museum & Art Gallery, (2017). Wales Arts International Go & See Visit Bursary, Manifesta11 & the 9th Berlin Biennale, (2016).

Review ‘Aria Fritta’ published in CCQ11, (2016). British Council & Wales Arts International Scoping Visit to India (New Delhi & Mumbai), (2016). Unit(e) Curatorial Residency, g39, (2016). Wales Arts International Travel Bursary, 56th Venice Biennale, (2015). Do what you can: exercise x, collaborative project with Curator Louise Hobson, (2015). Previous roles include: Outcasting; Fourth Wall Artists Moving Image Festival; LightsGoingOn; Artes Mundi 5 & 6; Amgueddfa Cymru, National Museum Wales; Wales in Venice 2013; Oriel Davies Gallery; Wales Artist Resource Programme; and Fine Art Lecturer on the Foundation Diploma in Art & Design at University of South Wales.

Teaching & Research

Teaching interests

Module leader for FAPR1100 Visual Enquiry. This module introduces students to ways of looking. Visual language comes from subjective experience (encounters with art and life), mark-making (translating experience through drawing), and understanding processes of making through verbal or written communication. Questions asked include; how do we look? How many different ways can we look? What is drawing? What influences the way we make art, and how can we begin to understand and translate this for audiences? What does research look like?

Research interests

Having studied Curatorial Practice my research has considered; the multiplicity of the artist - curator position; the politics of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ the frame and how meaning is transformed from creation to curation; contemporary welsh identity as collected, rendered and experienced by the National Museum of Art Wales; and a practice-based thesis titled ‘Mapping the borders – curating Venice. A study in three parts: curatorial document; critical text; and experiential encounter with nation, Biennale and city.’ My research interests continue to lay very much with notions of the border or crossing-zone; perceptions and value of place; language; and processes of translation.



Mapping the borders Curating Venice. A study in three parts: curatorial document; critical text; and an experiential encounter with nation, Biennale and city.


Do what you can: exercise x, Bute Park, Cardiff, August 2015. The first public outing of the do what you can project in collaboration with Louise Hobson. The event / temporary exhibition brought together a small group of artists and creative practitioners to activate unfinished gallery footings in a public park at the centre of the city.

Mocha encounters, Artes Mundi Encounters project with June Campbell-Davies, Flow Maugran & Adeola Dewis, Feb 2015.

Choir for Visitors, Artes Mundi Encounters project with Sing! Choir and artist Heloise Godfrey, Jan 2015.

Pedestrian choreography, Artes Mundi Encounters project with ValleysKids and artist Claire Prosser, Dec 2014.

Learning Resource Pack, Artes Mundi 6, 2014.

The Wall, Artes Mundi Encounters project with artist Louise Hobson, Sept 2014.

LightsGoingOns e-learning project three part film/lecture series, April June 2014.

Everyday backdrop, Artes Mundi Encounters project with artist Ben Owen, Oct 2013.

Interplay, artist-led event at Z-shed Bristol with WARP, 2013.

Critical Mass, Artes Mundi 5 artist-led symposium, National Museum Wales, Dec 2012.


Conspicuity, TestBed at Oriel Davies Gallery, April June 2014.

The married life of atoms, TestBed at Oriel Davies Gallery, Feb April 2014.

Fluent Aphasia, TestBed at Oriel Davies Gallery, Nov - Jan 2013.

The Crossing Place of Road and River, TestBed at Oriel Davies Gallery, Sept Nov 2013.

Greetings from Bala Lake, TestBed at Oriel Davies Gallery, June Sept 2013.

Nebulous, group show, 11 Broad Street Bath. 4 - 11 June 2012.

Mercurius, Cardiff collective group show, Fringe Arts Bath Festival. 25 May -10 June 2012.

Wunderland ll in association with the Women's Art Association & TactileBOSCH Gallery, group show by open call of 18 artists practices, 10 -31 March 2012.

Strange Things Happen, Cardiff collective group show, TactileBOSCH Gallery, 25 Nov - 8 Dec 2011.

External Responsibilities

Freelance Curator / Producer