Justine Shih Pearson is an interdisciplinary designer whose work explores the textures of place, global culture, social reliance, the embodiment of national and cultural belonging, travel, public space, and city planning.
Over a career spanning more than 20 years, she has collaborated on projects for new media, print and online publishing, live performance, museums, hospitals, and film in cities in Australia, Europe, the UK, North America, and SE Asia.
Inmidflight is Justine’s studio. Across experience and performance design, non-fiction, arts journalism, editing and book production, her work highlights sensory experience and the creative labour involved in even the most ordinary of everyday things.
Trained originally in theatre design at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and with background training in dance, Justine holds an MA (New York University) and PhD (University of Sydney) in performance studies, and is currently an Honorary Associate in the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, the School of Literature, Art and Media, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the University of Sydney.
“The key elements of my practice are space and movement; my methods utilise these knowledges from dance and performance but turn them to understanding and engaging with social life more broadly, be it how fabric interfaces with a contemporary dancer or how a city organises its people. And I often work closely with contemporary artists innovating traditional cultural practices, because underpinning all my work is a drive to capture today’s persistent tension between globalising forces and attachments to local practice/place.”
Justine has also worked in leadership positions within the arts, curating programs for arts organisations, public talks, development opportunities for artists, residency programs, and developing organisational strategy and national and international partnerships. She works closely with independent artists in particular, supporting critical discourse around practice. She was acting director of choreographic research centre Critical Path (2012-2013; 2015); producer of interdisciplinary festival ReelDance (2007-2009); and is currently chair of artist-run organisation Readymade Works. She is a peer on the register of the Australia Council.