Dr Nina Pearlman

Nina Pearlman


UCL Art Museum

South Cloisters
University College London
Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT

+44 (0)20 7679 2821



Nina Pearlman heads UCL Art Museum and is responsible for the sustainable development of the museum and its collections, ensuring their continued use in research and teaching and in public engagement projects. She recently secured the prestigious Museums and Galleries Improvement award from the Wolfson Fund and the Department of Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) for the refurbishment of UCL Art Museum. She led this redevelopment project in a listed building setting and relaunched the Museum in April 2015.

She is a writer and curator specialising in contemporary art with particular focus on issues related to public space and access and as such leads on the development of UCL's first public art strategy. Nina gained her MA in Fine Art from the Slade School of Fine Art and her BA in Fine Art from University of Haifa, before completing her PhD at the London Consortium. Supported by an Arts and Humanities Research Council award, Nina's interdisciplinary doctoral research at the Consortium centred on art and the public sphere, introducing Kantian arguments to the debates concerning the administration of art and the regulation of its visibility.

From 2005 Nina developed her independent consultancy, specialising in strategic planning in artistic practice, bridging curatorial and artistic practices with research and development and entrepreneurial initiatives. At this time she was also curator with Breda Beban's imagine art after - a multi-stage international contemporary art project, working on the inaugural edition that culminated in exhibition at Tate Britain (2008).

Alongside her fine art training, Nina draws on ten years experience in IT and online publishing, a professional route that supported her art education and research. She left that sector to take up her PhD. She worked for companies such as Cap Gemini and Mondaq.com, in a range of roles in IT, marketing, business development and partnerships.

Most recently Nina co-produced and contributed to Collecting the Emerging, a two day symposium with Zabludowicz Collection interrogating issues surrounding the use of the term emerging with respect to artistic practice, markets and collections.

While at UCL Nina co-curated Looking Back at the Life Room - a project by Naomi Salaman (Jan-Jun 2010, funded by ACE) and co-convened the accompanying conference Art Schools: Invention, Invective and Radical Possibilities at UCL (June 2010). In 2011 she launched the Pop-Up exhibition programme at UCL Art Museum, one hour lunchtime exhibitions curated by UCL academics that open up the process of interdisciplinary research. In 2012 Nina collaborated on the capital project of the refurbishment of the UCL Flaxman Gallery and commissioned Drawing After Flaxman by artist Nelly Dimtranova. She co-produced John Flaxman: Line to Contour exhibition and catalogue at Ikon Gallery Birmingham (2013) in collaboration with Andrea Fredericksen (UCL Art Museum) and Jonathan Watkins (Ikon), and curated the inaugural artist commission for the Flaxman Gallery with artist Marcia Farquhar. Titled, Flaxman Exchange, this commission is funded by ACE and falls under Nina's umbrella curatorial project Souvenir (see Research Interests).

Nina is a trustee of Materials Museum, The Slade School of Fine Art.

Teaching summary:

  • 2009-2013 | Lecturer, Cultural Heritage Pathway, MA Arts Policy & Management, Birkbeck College
  • 2004-present | Guest Lecturer – art schools UK and international
  • 2002-2003 | Lecturer, Research Methods, Mres, The London Consortium
  • 2002-2003 | Co-curator, The London Consortium Summer School at Tate Modern

Teaching interests include: contemporary art, cultural heritage - theory & practice, art policy, Festival of Britain, art and the nation state, public art, Kantian aesthetic theory, marketing and the visual arts, university museums & collections, archives and contemporary art


  • Awarded 2007 | PhD | The London Consortium, supported by AHRC
  • Awarded 1996 | MA in Fine Art | The Slade School of Fine Art, UCL
  • Awarded 1992 | BA in Fine Art (distinction) | University of Haifa, Israel
  • 1988  | Architecture & Urban Planning | The Technion Institute of Technology, Israel (credits transferred to BA)

Professional training:

  • 2013 |UCL Leadership and Management Programme
  • 2011 | Negotiation and Bargaining (part of the MBA) certificate | London Business School (supported by UCL Advances and UCL Museums & Public Engagement)
  • 2010 | Finance and Value Creation, certificate, London Business School (Supported by UCL Advances and UCL Museums & Public Engagement)


  • 2011 | Research trip to University of Padua, Museums | Erasmus
  • 2003 | Fellowship, Film & Media, MoMA, New York (project fellowship to devise standards for cataloguing media collection)
  • 2002 | PhD | Arts and Humanities Research Council 


  • Gareth Harris, 'The Line: east London's new art trail', June 16, 2015, Financial Times (print & online)
  • Cited in, book review, Art Review, April 2011: The Sound of Uploading Makes me want to Download, The Institute of Social Hypocrisy, Atenna Books, Paris, 2011. 


  • UNIVERSEUM - European Network for Academic Heritage
  • ICOM - International Council of Museums

Research interests

My early career research focused on introducing key principles in Kant’s Critique of Aesthetic Judgement to the debates surrounding the administration of art and the regulation of its visibility, namely, census communis and subjective universality (‘Rethinking public art: a Kantian Critique’, Public?, Public no.37, 2008; ‘Downloading and uploading: the foundations of public space’, ed. Victor Boullet, The Sound of Downloading Makes Me Want to Upload, 2011). This approach enabled a reworking of the public art debate beyond the limited parameters of public vs private and shapes my contribution to the current development of a public art strategy for UCL. The project was part of a broader undertaking to explore how philosophical and artistic principles and methodologies can inform and shape art policy and management.

This undertaking was mirrored in my consultancy work that engaged with the question of how management, strategic planning and sustainability principles function in creative methodologies employed in contemporary art practice.

Within the context of the university art museum I explore how artistic, art historical and curatorial approaches can operate as an integral part of management and public engagement strategies. The collaboration with artist Naomi Salaman, funded by Arts Council England, on the exhibition Looking Back at the Life Room (2010) used art historian Aby Warburg’s 'visual essay' research model as the curatorial principle for the show. The one-hour exhibition format of the museum’s current Pop-Up displays programme is inspired by Duchamp’s ‘museum in a box’ – his portable miniature monographs. This format permits to overcome the issue of limited display space by the overlay of one exhibition over another and the creative use of surfaces in the museum space. Working with guest curators from across the disciplines at UCL, the format supports the museum’s collaborative and experimental approach to exhibitions as well as enhancing the use of the art collections in teaching. The next stage of this project is titled Souvenir and involves the introduction of Surrealist principles into the Pop-Up structure, working with contemporary artists and UCL scholars.

Under the rubric of Souvenir is the inaugural Flaxman Gallery artist commission with artist Marcia Farquhar (2012-2013). Funded by Arts Council England and titled Flaxman Exchange, this collaboration is a site-specific performance in UCL Flaxman Gallery and adjacent sites. It takes the form of a guided tour developed as a surrealist composition. The Flaxman Exchange film is a recent addition to the museum collection and the limited edition print Ledger is available for purchase.

Conference presentations

  • 2014 | Collecting the Emerging. UCL & Zabludowicz Collection. 'Collecting Emerging: The Slade Student Prizes from the 1890s to the present'
  • 2011 | Art in Times of Crises: British and French Perspectives. Université de Cergy-Pontoise, France & Centre for Cultural Policy Studies, University of Warwick, UK. ‘The Pop-Up Exhibition: Sustainable approaches to public engagement’
  • 2011| UNIVERSEUM – The European Network for Academic Heritage. University of Padua, Italy. ‘Increasing Access: Revisiting Curating in University Art Collections’
  • 2010 | Art Schools: Invention, Invective and Radical Possibilities, UCL. Co-convener and Chair
  • 2010 | UNIVERSEUM. Uppsala University, Sweden. ‘On Location with Warner Brothers’


Citations & videos