Producer of artist in residence and public programs

Having supportive doctoral supervisors paved the way for Katherine Higgins to develop and facilitate collaborative projects with visiting artists at MIT.

Image by Karim Ben Khelifa.

Key facts

Career: Producer of artist in residence and public programs, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Center for Art, Science and Technology (CAST).
Programme: PhD
Specialisation: Art History

"In my current role, I develop and facilitate collaborative projects between MIT faculty and visiting artists, as well as producing performances, exhibitions, workshops, symposia, and courses for the Center for Art, Science and Technology.

"I am constantly learning from researchers and students at MIT. My projects have ranged from investigating new ultra-lightweight materials and artificial intelligence-based models for virtual reality to a hybrid opera performed in Anglo-Saxon, and a puppet play using comedy to address political discourse and the dilemmas of artificial intelligence and late capitalism.

"After my undergraduate degree in Art History, I spent a year as a volunteer teacher in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. This experience led me to unexpected opportunities – learning from and collaborating with Indigenous artists in Oceania.

"I was drawn to the distinguished and vibrant Indigenous arts community in Aotearoa as well as the impressive academics. Dr Caroline Vercoe graciously welcomed me to the University of Auckland where I found a supportive academic home with other doctoral candidates in Art History.

University study is about discovery.

Katherine Higgins Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"The University offered unmatched expertise in Indigenous arts and Pacific studies. The library's collections and Judy McFall-McCaffery's in-depth knowledge of the Pacific resources helped me describe important, yet minimally documented, artist residencies in Papua New Guinea in the 1960s.

"Having supportive supervisors, Dr Caroline Vercoe and Emeritus Professor Elizabeth Rankin, paved the way to my current position. I was able to meet with founders and participants of residencies and researched infrastructures, mechanisms, and perceived achievements and deficiencies of artist residency programmes. Having these opportunities exposed me to their nuances and possibilities.

"I'd advise students and graduates interested in arts management to take advantage of internships and volunteer or part-time positions while studying, whenever possible. Explore subjects that you are interested in even if you're unsure of how to apply the knowledge to your degree.

"University study is about discovery."