From Düsseldorf, Germany. MFA Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Additional study University of Cologne, University of Düsseldorf and University of Chicago. Associate Professor, Dept. Chair, Arts Administration and Policy, School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Lives in Chicago, IL, USA.
Adelheid Mers engages in conversations with lay and professional cultural producers about their aesthetic practices. She uses diagrams as tools for figuring, to make cultural ecologies accessible to reflection, with an emphasis on practitioner perspectives. As a tenured professor of arts administration and policy at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Mers appraises cultural processes across scales and manifold participant's interests. As a visual artist, she draws on the performative tools of studio critique to facilitate conversations. Formally, diagrams are defined by their operativity, engendering action and reflection. Mers' diagrams are deployed across media, ranging from quick sketches to freely distributed flyers to manipulable whiteboards; occasions are created for use and response.
Mers works independently, with artists, and with non-profits and their constituencies. She has explored artist's thinking about grant application processes for the 3Arts Foundation, and conducted research on cultural ecologies on Chicago's south and west sides, with the Foundation for Homan Square and the University of Chicago. As part of an ongoing project, Art Work (Visual Art/Music/Management) Mers is currently exploring the practices of sound artists, composers and experimental musicians, locally in Chicago, and internationally in collaboration with colleagues at the Institute of Cultural Management at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna. Her work is presented nationally and internationally, through conference contributions and exhibitions. She has curated thematic exhibitions, published essays on pedagogy, arts administration and art-based research and has edited and published a book, Useful Pictures.
Honors include grants from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the British Council, the NEA, Illinois Arts Council and DCASE. Mers serves on editorial boards, and has recently served as juror for the NEA and the Rauschenberg Foundation.