Adelheid Mers

United States (residence), Germany (citizenship) °1960
affiliation: School of the Art Institute of Chicago

My work, which I summarize as Performative Diagrammatics, functions as a mobile laboratory: a place to work things out. Audiences are invited to participate in facilitated workshops, using and altering pre-made, diagrammatic instruments to model own ways of making sense, including critique and feedback processes, making connections between civic and cultural concepts and drawing on embodied values.

Instruments range from verbal prompts to pre-printed diagrams on whiteboards, fabricated objects, and live streaming, custom-coded 360° video. This work develops by carefully observing how lay and professional cultural producers animate the systems through which they operate; and by creating instruments collaboratively, with volunteers and other contributors, who share experiences and ways of knowing.


Educated at the University of Cologne, University Düsseldorf, Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (Meisterschüler) and the University of Chicago, I am Associate Professor and chair of the department of Arts Administration and Policy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Research partnerships include the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna, Austria; the Bauhaus University, Weimar, Germany, and Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, BC, Canada.