Kuljit S Chuhan ::
creative producer : video : digital art : cultural projects
:about + general: :video: :digital art: :other projects:

biographical statement

Kuljit 'Kooj' Chuhan

Kooj crosses a range of disciplines including video and digital media practice and teaching; cultural development; as a creative producer and project manager; a collaborative audio-visual project consultant for museums; and in education, curriculum and learning development.  In addition to his significant professional standing including work with international artists such as Keith Piper, Kooj was a co-founder of the Black Arts Alliance in the mid-eighties.  Over the years he has extensively worked with various communities, managed the BICA arts unit in Tameside for 10 years until 1998 and was recently a senior manager at Community Arts North West.

He lectures in contemporary film (directing, music, theory) at Manchester Metropolitan University and has been exhibited and published across the UK and internationally, featuring at festivals such as VIDEO POSITIVE, ISEA and SIGGRAPH. He served on the board for FACT (Foundation for Arts & Creative Technology) from 1998-2003.  Apart from his personal work and work with Virtual Migrants, he operates as Metaceptive Media productions (www.metaceptive.net) which includes work for museums, national charities, the NHS, theatrical groups, and so on.

Kooj has founded and run a number of groups and organisations such as the Virtual Migrants artists collective formed in 1998, exploring issues of race, migration and globalisation www.virtualmigrants.com They have become one of the few arts groups to successfully tour work produced using collaborative participatory methods to art galleries across the UK including London, Bristol, Glasgow, Derby, Manchester and Plymouth, involving further collaboration and participation while on tour.  Virtual Migrants’ recent arts, media and cultural work on climate, race and refuge was selected as one of a key 15 out of 200 projects to be profiled as good community engagement practice by the British Science Association, and subsequently won a Beacon Recognition award.

For a number of years Kooj has worked with museums either as an artist, producer or cultural consultant.  He pioneered the “Collective Conversations” methodology at the Manchester Museum which facilitates dialogues and co-production with communities of interest; and developed educational resources for a partnership of eight museums and galleries on a major educational project about Manchester and transatlantic slavery. 

He believes in education in its broadest sense and has worked as a teacher in a range of settings, formal and informal.  Other previous work has been as a scientist (with a first degree in biology), a community worker for voluntary organisations as well as local authorities, and as a professional musician. He also maintains an active involvement in various movements for positive social change.

"evocative, metaphorical and at times quite poetic"   
        Robert Clark, The Guardian

"Kuljit 'Kooj' Chuhan successfully grapples with some mighty issues … a powerful declaration of identity and faith amidst the pressures of globalisation."
        Tim Birch, City Life

"this memorable and passionate show in which art practice, education and politics are inseparable"
Nicky Bird, Art Monthly

"…brings to life the many stories of migration … with a level of intimacy unusual in multimedia works - a significant intervention in the struggle to tell our histories and experiences."
        Arun Kundnani, Institute of Race Relations, UK

“… leaves the audience reverberating with a magical tapestry of the moving image!”
        Alnoor Mitha,  SHISHA (South Asian Crafts and Visual Arts Network, UK)

"The best Museum images I've seen for a long time ... very dramatic and really quite beautiful."
        Bernadette Lynch, The Manchester Museum, UK



(This section is currently in development)


·         “Revealing Histories” web resource on transatlantic slavery (2008) as managing editor and educational resources developer working with 8 partner museums, regional schools and teachers

·         “Exhale” DVD with Audio CD and booklets containing essays and contexts (Virtual Migrants, 2007)

·         “Pathways 06” artists’ publication featuring “No Frame Required” film on DVD witrh accompanying text (LIME, 2006)

·         “Collective Conversations” web video project for the Manchester Museum (2004-7) consultant and video specialist developing and directing collaborative discussions on human contexts of objects

·         “Aftershock” artists’ publication featuring my installation work “Metamotion”, as an interactive CD-ROM, incl. work by the Singh Twins (Commonwealth Games Arts Programme, 2002)

·          “Observe Interpret React” website online art works (Manchester United / Trafford MBC, 2001) – no longer online

·         Experimenta  (Australia, 1999) refereed text: online article on Virtual Migrants http://www.experimenta.org/mesh/mesh_2000/index.htm#virtual 

·          “Through The Looking Glass” website  (Beechwood Centre For The Arts, Ohio, USA 1999) http://www.voyd.com/ttlg/

·          Variant  1998 – commissioned essay on “Virtual Migrants: Imperialism as Deportation, Art as Ideology”

·          “Virtual Revolutions” artists CD-ROM featuring my interactive work “Resonant Reflections” (FACT, 1999)

·          “Shared Experience” artists CD-ROM (FACT, 1995)





·         Environmental Change and Migration (European Science Federation)  Bielefeld University, Germany (December 2010) – presentation of “The Centre Cannot Hold” project

·         ISEA 09  Belfast, Northern Ireland – presentation of paper “Tolerating Mass Murder” (published)

·         Are Museums Racist?  Manchester Museum, UK (October 2007) – presentation for panel discussion.

·         ISEA Developments and Archive  Discussion session, Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK (September 07).  Panel presentation incl. presentation of my own film entitled ‘Between Zero And One’

·         Creating A Culture Of Visibility  Belfast, Northern Ireland (September 2007).  Panel presentation on the theme of ‘How Can The Arts Speak For Minority Communities?’

·         Creolising Europe  International Conference, Manchester University, UK (September 07).  Presentation of a talk entitled “Crossing Aesthetic Territories”

·         SIGGRAPH 07  San Diego, California, USA (August 2007) – artists’ talk and presentation entitled “Crossing Aesthetic Territories”

·         Exodus Shorts Festival  Imperial War Museum North, UK (June 2007) – presentation entitled “Refugee Film in a social, political and artistic context”

·         ISEA 06  San Jose, California, USA (August 2006) – ‘poster’ exhibit and presentation of a session entitled “A Handful Of Seeds”

·         ICT for an Inclusive Society  European Conference, Riga, Latvia (June 2006) – a presentation on New Media, Cultural Diversity and Art


Museums work – brief summary
Since 2003 Kooj has created interactive art-works and video productions for the Manchester Museum, where he also developed the methodology for the award-winning “Collective Conversations” web-video project including setting up a mobile multi-camera studio. He worked with a partnership of eight museums and galleries on an educational project around transatlantic slavery, and collaborated on a keynote presentation with Dr Bernadette Lynch for the Museums Association conference 2008. 

Community-based arts work – brief summary
Kooj’s portfolio of creative work with communities of all kinds is extensive and in depth.  He first worked at Community Arts Workshop in 1984 from a belief in principles of creative democracy.  He has continued in this field ever since, has taught on an HND course “Arts in a Community Context”, has supporting the degree course at LIPA, and was recently Principal Manager at Community Arts North West.

Educational work – brief summary
In addition to appointments listed below, he has
developed a Citizenship module with Lostock High School, developed and taught arts courses at Tameside College and creative modules/projects within primary/secondary schools including media arts residencies such as in Mossley.

Skills and Training – brief summary
Through productions and short courses he has developed skills in video production, scriptwriting and directing, plus interactive multimedia, internet, installation art and video design for performance.  He is familiar with a range of industry software.  He has undertaken various management and teaching training.


Web links:

Virtual Migrants: digital art collective

SIGGRAPH 2007 "Global Eyes" Art Exhibition and Digital Performance

ISEA 2006 International Symposium on Electronic Art (San Jose, USA)

Explore, Expand, Exchange museum arts project

ISEA 2000 International Symposium on Electronic Art (Paris, France)

Mesh 2000 (Journal of Experimenta, creativity and technology organisation, Australia)

International Association of Labour Museums newsletter (Denmark)

Through The Looking Glass exhibition (Ohio, USA)

Virtual Revolutions CD-ROM

Metaceptive Media Production

ICT for an Inclusive Society conference - Riga 11-13 June 2006



you can contact Kooj on:  info[a]kooj.net