CATHERINE MASON was born in Australia, raised in the United States and trained in Britain, gaining a degree in History of Art from Birkbeck College, University of London (1993) and a Masters in Museums & Gallery Management from City University. For nearly twenty years she has worked variously as an educator, researcher and writer (with forays into curating), based in London and Norfolk.
A special interest in the history of Computer and Digital Art was fostered in 2002 when she was awarded an AHRC research position at Birkbeck College, University of London, investigating the history of digital art. During this time she interviewed over 60 British pioneers of early digital art, and their artwork, experiences, collaborations and stories are told in her book A Computer in the Art Room (2008), as well as in a further co-edited collection of essays White Heat, Cold Logic (2009), published by MIT Press.
As part of this project she assisted in the re-formation of the UK-based Computer Arts Society and negotiated with the Victoria & Albert Museum the donation of the Patric Prince archive, an important American collection of international computer art, which formed the basis for the creation of the National Centre for Computer Art, a first for a British publically-funded museum. Subsequently the archives of the Computer Arts Society were acquired by the V&A, which is now recognised internationally as an important centre for computer and early digital works on paper.
Art from this collection was shown alongside the critically-acclaimed Decode exhibition at the V&A in 2010. Catherine also produced Bits in Motion, a screening and panel discussion of early British computer animation at the National Film Theatre in 2006 (for catalogue see Past Projects).
Catherine has wide-ranging teaching experience spanning the adult education sector. In the 1990s she taught art appreciation courses with Birkbeck’s Faculty for Continuing Education, the Workers Educational Association and NADFAS (The National Association of Decorative and Fine Art Societies, now re-named The Arts Society) and continues to lecture to art societies, clubs and groups around the British Isles on an occasional basis. (For a list of lecture subjects please email). Previously she worked as a consultant, organising exhibitions, running public relations campaigns and promoting artists. This led to the foundation, with Alexandra Billam, of The Art Partnership, a visual art and PR consultancy which worked with many of the major commercial London art dealers and galleries in the 1990s.
Now she acts in an advisory capacity, particularly in digital arts, for organisations such as SIGGRAPH, The Art Fund, Leonardo, The British Computer Society and various museums and galleries in both the not-for-profit and commercial sectors.
In 2015 Catherine was made an Ambassador of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich. She also serves on the Art Fund’s Volunteer Fundraising Committee for Norfolk, organising events for members in East Anglia.
SPIRIT OF PLACE is her on-going research and book project on the contemporary landscape art of North Norfolk.
In 2012 she appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Arts Programme Front Row, discussing Computer Arts with John Wilson. Listen again here.
In November 2017, she appeared on Showcase, the arts programme of TRT World television, speaking about painting in the digital age.
Currently, Catherine is curating CONNECTION : OPEN 2018 for the Wells Maltings Trust, in Norfolk, running 27 June to 30 September 2018.