AIR: Nick Shepherd

From 9 March 2017 Professor Nick Shepherd started – as Artist in Residence (AIR) – with the project The Walking Residency at the Reinwardt Academy.

By walking he enables students and lecturers to connect places, identities, stories, climate, nature, people and animals with each other in new ways. Shepherd: “I’m interested in notions of body as archive, landscape as archive and performance as archive.” Together with staff and students, he will explore the following issues:

  • Artistic research: how do we draw on the resources of imagination, desire, creativity and the embodied and affective self, in the process of conventional academic work?
  • Using walking as a methodology to engage landscapes and histories: how do we bring the body into play? How do we think through the body? What would it mean to break down conventional binaries between body and mind, reason and emotion, head and heart, subject and object, work and play?
  • Rethinking time, materiality and memory: trapped in linear, modern conceptions of time, we have difficulty in thinking about the simultaneity of the past in the present, and the weight of our responsibilities towards future unborn generations.


Nick Shepherd is Associate Professor of Archaeology and Heritage Studies at Aarhus University in Denmark. Until recently, he was Associate Professor of African Studies and Archaeology at the University of Cape Town, where he convened the graduate programme in Heritage and Public Culture in Africa. Besides that he was founding editor of the journal Archaeologies: Journal of the World Archaeological Congress and in 2004-2005 he was based at Harvard University as a Mandela Fell

He has published widely on questions of archaeology and society in Africa, and on questions of public history, memory and heritage. His most recent book is called Arqueología y decolonialidad (Archaeology and Decoloniality, 2016). Shepherd was also the supervisor of Christian Ernsten, lecturer heritage theory at the Reinwardt Academy, who recently obtained his doctorate at the University of Cape Town.