Pernille Spence

+44 (0)1382 381021


Pernille Spence is an artist, lecturer & researcher at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design.  She studied at Leith School of Art in Edinburgh before completing a BA(Hons) Degree in Fine Art Sculpture and a Post Graduate Diploma in Electronic Imaging at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design.  From 1999, Pernille undertook a Research Residency at DJCAD until 2004 when she was appointed as a lecturer & researcher in Time Based Art & Digital Film. 

Pernille currently leads the 3rd year programme in Contemporary Art Practice and is Academic Co-ordinator for the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design Exchange Programmes.

Pernille’s research interests explore a visual dialogue between the human body, movement and space and the body’s physical/psychological limits and constraints with in these parameters. She has been creating installations, performances and moving image works since the mid 1990s, exhibiting internationally.

Her work has been shown at the National Review of Live Art, Glasgow, Beaconsfield, London, the European Performance Art Festival, Warsaw, the Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art, Germany and the Dean Gallery, Edinburgh.  In 2006 was a recipient of a prestigious Scottish Arts Council Creative Scotland Award.   

Research projects

1. Decision Time curated by Pernille Spence and Zoe Irvine

An exhibition, series of talks, screenings, dialogues and performances.

Decision Time was devised in response to an invitation to develop a project in relation to the Scottish Independence Referendum on 18 September 2014 by the University of Dundee's 5 Million Questions team. 5 Million Questions was an initiative at the University of Dundee to examine issues around Scotland’s constitutional debate.

The months and days leading up to Scotland’s Independence Referendum on 18th September 2014 were entwined with a myriad of emotions and tensions.  The people of Scotland engaged in this political decision-making process in a way not witnessed in Scotland for generations. Some had very clear beliefs during the Referendum campaign but there were also many ‘undecided’ people who felt significant pressure to make the ‘right’ decision. 

Spence & Irvine undertook a period of research, which culminated in ‘Decision Time’, an exhibition and series of talks, screenings, dialogues and performances that explored decision-making practices with in the context of the Scottish referendum on independence.

Decision Time took place in Centrespace, Dundee University Visual Research Centre, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee, Dalhousie Building, University of Dundee and various public spaces in Dundee City centre.

Friday 12 September – Thursday 18 September 2014


2.  The Mother Load (Dundee) – a collaborative project with Clare Brennan (University of Abertay), Natalie Macellaio (Brookhaven College, Texas), Lesli Robertson (University of North Texas), and Dr Simone O’Callaghan (Newcastle University, Australia).

An exhibition, symposium, series of talks, screenings, dialogues and performances.

The Mother Load (Dundee) was a collaborative project developed with Mother Load founders Natalie Macellaio (Brookhaven College, Texas) and Lesli Robertson (University of North Texas) who established the Mother Load project to actively encourage discourse that explores issues between career and mother/parenthood in the context of contemporary art. In an aim to bring the Mother Load to Dundee this project was further developed in collaboration with curator, Clare Brennan and Dr Simone O’Callaghan at the Hannah Maclure Centre (HMC) Abertay University, Dundee culminating in an exhibition with associated events that brought together local and international artists, academics, sociologists, research scientists, caregivers and teenage mothers who have participated in critical making and discourse through the exhibition, workshops, talks, screenings and an international symposium.  

The Mother Load (Dundee) took place at the Hannah Maclure Centre, Abertay University, Dundee, Scotland

29 February – 15 April 2016


3. House Arrest: Domestic Actions 1-11 – a collaborative project by Pernille Spence and Zoë Irvine

House Arrest: Domestic Actions 1-11 is a 6 screen installation work with multi-channel sound. House Arrest focuses on a series of small scale, resonant actions using ordinary and familiar items such as eggs, cream and tea cups, resulting in a sonorous choreography to camera where actions allow for subtle transgressions.  These slight contraventions of the norms of domestic behaviour aim to bring heightened consideration to common household acts. 

House Arrest was initially developed during a Magnetic North, Space/Time Residency at Cove Park in October 2015.  The first iteration House Arrest: Domestic Actions 1-5 was shown at The Mother Load (Dundee), Hannah Maclure Centre 29 February – 15 April 2016. House Arrest: Domestic Actions 1-11 was shown at Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, Hawick, Scottish Borders, 2 – 5 March 2017