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Niamh Schmidtke

In this episode we welcome our first guest presenter, Ariane Koek, to discuss Niamh Schmidtke’s work-in-progress, The diamond’s less sexy sister. Somewhere between a radio essay and a voicenote, the 5 minute piece explores human relations to minerals, specifically with graphite. Combining scripted and organic conversation, prose and academic information, the audio slips in and out of speculation; is that a mineral speaking, or a person speaking about a mineral? Together we untangle Niamh’s current research as part of their artist in residence program at TU Berlin, with the Science Gallery Network and fully funded by Fondation Didier et Martine Primat. We collectively question the ways minerals could speak for themselves through technology, materiality and the act of holding hands.



Niamh Schmidtke (b. 1997, Dublin) is an artist based in London with Irish/ Swedish heritage. Their work playfully sits between installation, sculpture and writing, exploring the political implications of ‘being green’. They completed their MFA at Goldsmiths, London with a First Class Honours in 2021 and hold a Fine Art Honours BA from Limerick School of Art and Design (2019). Their work has been exhibited and collected internationally, including a solo exhibition at Limerick City Gallery (2019). In 2020 they were a recipient of the European Investment Bank’s Artist Development Fund award and in 2022 they were shortlisted for the Gilchrist Fisher Award. In 2023 they will be artist in residence at TU Berlin, as part of the Earth Wind Sky residency, culminating in a new commissioned work with the Science Gallery Network and fully funded by Fondation Dider et Martine Primat. They currently co-produce Future Artefacts FM with Nina Davies, a radio show supported by the British Arts Council Lottery Fund and the Elephant Trust.

Ariane Koek is anglo-american-dutch, internationally recognised for initiating in 2009 the Arts at CERN programme  – based at the world’s largest particle physics laboratory outside Geneva, Switzerland. She designed and directed the Collide, Accelerate and Guest artists programmes for the first five years until 2015.

Koek now works independently, specialising in advising on and/or designing new transdisciplinary programmes and residencies for foundations, cultural institutions, science laboratories, museums and universities around the world, including the Endowment fund of the International Red Cross Committee (FICRC), The Exploratorium, San Francisco, USA; Cavendish Physics Laboratories, Cambridge University, UK; and Science Gallery International Network.

In  2018 she initiated the Earth Water Sky environmental science and arts research, production and exhibition programme,  which is fully  funded by Fondation Didier et Martine Primat. It was the first artists residency programme done by the Science Gallery International network, and  began at Ca' Foscari University of Venice and  for its final edition is at TU Berlin where Ariane is working with Niamh in 2023.

You can read the full transcript of this episode here.

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