Dace Demir is an interdisciplinary scholar, curator and writer. She received her Ph.D. in Cultural Policy Studies from the University of Warwick (UK), M.A. in Arts Administration and Policy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (USA), and her B.A. in Intercultural Relations from Latvian Academy of Culture (Latvia). As the boundaries across different disciplines have increasingly become fluid, the emphasis on interdisciplinary work is integral to both her teaching and research.
Dace Demir’s commitment to interdisciplinary scholarship is reflected in her current work as she teaches across three colleges at the University of Oklahoma — College of International Studies, College of Fine Arts, and College of Professional and Continuing Studies, respectively. Main areas of her research interests include comparative cultural policy and institutional development of contemporary visual arts as a distinct field of cultural production and distribution. She is particularly interested in the influence that changing cultural policy trends exert on current developments in cultural infrastructure, particularly in the field of contemporary visual arts, exhibition processes and curatorial practices. In terms of regional specialization, she focuses on transition economies of the former Soviet Union and Eastern bloc countries from a comparative perspective.
Her most recent research explores the emergence, development and maturation of Latvian contemporary visual arts as a distinct institutional field during and after the post-Soviet transition of the 1990s. She examines the role that the various internal and external social and political environments and infrastructures play in the institutionalization patterns of a new art field. In the context of post-Soviet cultural transition of the 1990s, the term “emergence” represents a qualitative break from the relationships the actors of the new field shared with the past. She particularly focuses on the growing influence of the non-governmental sector and the changing behavior of state actors in the formation of cultural policy trends in Latvia in the aftermath of the rapid disintegration of the Soviet Union. Application of social network analysis (SNA), an innovative, novel and growing research strategy in cultural policy studies, is imperative to her research as it is essential in determining the visual characterization of the structure of inter-actor relations and illustrating the complex political, economic and social processes that are involved in the emergence, development and maturation stages of a specific field of study.