chema rodriguez alcantara (aka polksnan)


chema (polksnan) is an artist, photographer and curator that believes art should be a powerful conversation, a call to action and a political statement

a practice based in photography and writing, a physical exploration of new spaces and materials inspired by radical politics challenging normative perspectives and subverting the status quo


duty manager, out of the blue drill hall

  • duty manager as part of the team of out of the blue

  • responsible for the well-being of the building and its closing

  • front-facing representative for the organization, responding to visitors’ queries and providing information

  • generating opportunities for everyone to participate in the arts by fostering innovative and accessible creative projects

co-founder, creative activism scotland

  • creative activism scotland (CAS) is a non-hierarchal artist’s run group situated in edinburgh. it seeks to re- move the barriers that exist and persist within artistic spaces, by creating a diy setting for artists to make their own

  • a radical approach to art making is necessary as a response to a changing society



founder, curator roots gallery
june 2018 - ongoing

  • founder and curator at an independent gallery space at the forest cafe

  • working with artists to develop a programme that attracts the public and respects the artist’s work

february, 2018

  • self-publication of a book of my own work dealing with the concept of dia- logue and the nature of conversation in art

  • held launch event at forest cafe to promote the sale of the book and display the contents on large scale prints on the space

telephone gallery
nov, 2017 - ongoing

  • the telephone gallery pro- ject was born out of the necessity for my practice to be directed towards a physical space out of the realm of photography

  • the space is a red tele- phone booth that is dependent on weather conditions, found mate- rials and other external factors to work

part of

digital museum
british red cross - march, 2019

  • the project aims to bring to light objects from the archive and record the voices and opinions of participants across the uk

ed. sculpture workshop - nov, 2018

• week-long residency as part of contemporary art practice hnd

• inductioned on woodwork- ing and plaster casting

• explored a breadth of 3d practices such as construc- tion or installation

invisible spaces - summerhall
nov - dec, 2018

  • part of a team of curators, artists and other creatives as part of a group exhibition at summerhall

  • exploring homelessness through my own explo- ration of edinburgh as a street photographer

  • working with HES to show spaces that matter to young people

fresh fruit leader - fruitmarket gallery
aug/ sep, 2018

  • fresh fruit is a programme for young people to work together and with artists to explore new ideas and make and share art usingthe fruitmarket gallery’sexhibitions as a reference

  • co-leader of two workshops with a small team to deliver the best possible experience

fresh focus - stills
march - oct, 2018 

  • fresh focus is a new community for graduate photographers where they can seek peer criticism and support for their crea- tive endeavours

  • the aim of the group is simple - to bring fresh practitioners together in a focused and supportive environment

contact - stills
feb - may, 2018

  • contact is an 8 week-long course for 16-25 year olds which teaches basic photography skills as well as encouraging one to develop their own projects

art & design coordinator, the meadows festival

  • working with meadows festival to liaise and coordinate the design of the festival’s brand- ing, programme and signage

goma youth programme

  • member of a collective of young people working with the gallery to amplify young voices to design a programme of activities for and by young people

advisory group member, traveling gallery

  • working with the gallery to bring skills, knowledge and expertise to develop strategy, policy and activity read and advise on papers, reports and funding

  • support and encourage an ambitious and engaging pro- gramme focusing on accesibility and learning

volunteer, shelter bookshop stockbridge



  • makers marque, out of the blue (feb. 2019)

  • critical/fictional investigations: site, sound and listening, esw (feb. 2019)

  • wiff waff wednesdays, out of the blue (jan. 2019)

  • flea market,out of the blue (jan. 2019)

  • bruncheon live music,out of the blue (jan. 2019)

  • cinemattic - alberto vázquez masterclass (jan. 2018)

  • epoch 8 opening event (dec. 2017)

  • edinburgh students’ arts festival (feb. 2017)

appeared on

when did she become such a sun rat?
december, 2018

  • performer in amelia tan’s performance as part of her edinburgh sculpture workshop’s residency

primary scenes - hand-made factory
may, 2018

  • displayed a fraction of my‘primary scenes’ series

  • ‘primary scenes’ consisted inthe post-conceptualization of some of my work into a series. having discovered by chance the colour relationship among some of my photographs i decided to create a series thatreflected such affinity

  • he series is currently composed of 42 pieces

projects 18 publication - stills
may, 2018

 the salon - embassy gallery
april, 2018

  • part of embassy’s annualmember show displaying “wo-man”, a picture from the‘new dialogues’ series in apoorly framed condition

apple bobbing - embassy gallery
feb, 2018

  • performance at embassy gallery as part of its members’performance evening

  • stared at a clock for 3 hours uninterrupted while kneeling down

  • inspired by the work of tehching hsieh

spilt milk mag
october, 2017

hand-made - fine roots gallery
june, 2017

  • solo show at the then-calledfine roots gallery displaying aseries of drawings and pho- tographs as well as a collagespecifically made for the show


  • philantropy university - planning for success, 2019

  • trinity college london - bronze certificate, 2018

  • ucirvine - project management: the basics for success, 2018

  • edinburgh college - portfolio preparation course, 2017

  • calarts - fundamentals of graphic design, 2016

  • the museum of modern art - modern art & ideas, 2016

  • the univ. of melbourne - sexing the canvas : art and gender, 2015

  • apple inc. - apple certified macintosh technician, 2015

  • duolingo - expertise in english, 2014

  • cambridge university - first certificate in english, 2013

  • aynadamar high school - humanistic baccalaureate, 2013


gallery attendant, scottish national modern gallery
june 2018 - january 2019

  • member of the visitor services team at the mod- ern gallery

  • welcomes visitors and provides information on current exhibitions and other services

  • ensures the safety of works on display while engaging in conversation about the artwork on display

  • maintains the reputation of the galleries by acknowledging visitors’ culture, age, etc.

  • anticipates visitors’ needs and questions to provide an excellent experience

assistant - the chocolate tree
oct 2017 - apr 18

  • assistant in a specialty chocolate cafe/shop in the heart of bruntsfield

  • welcomed customers into the cafe, took care of orders working with a small team and ensured customers’ satisfaction inservice and presentation

  • provided advice based on dietary preferences and taste to ensure an optimal experience

volunteer - edinburgh art festival
aug 2017

  • public facing representative of Edinburgh Art Festival

  • invigilator and stewart for commissioned works, tours and kiosk

  • engaged with the public and responded to enquiries about the works on display or the programme of the festival

  • ensured the safety and cared for EAF commissioned works

volunteer - hidden door festival
may 2017

  • team member as part of a volunteer-run arts festival

  • built and set up art-ists’spaces on site, invigilat- ed the space and provided visitors indications and support with queries

  • ensured the safety and well being of visitors to

    ensure the quality of the festival

  • engaged with visitors’questions about the works on display and thefestival’s programme

photographer - edinburgh students’ arts festival
feb 2017

  • photographed several venues across Edinburgh
    involved in the festival including shows, exhibitions and pop-up markets for marketing and promotional use

  • ensured a quality standard while remaining respectful to people’s privacy and safety

night manager - forest cafe
jan 2017 - ongoing

cooked, safely handled and served food in fast- paced environment while managing a small team of volunteers

• responsibly handled trans- actions with customers; kept reports and balanced the till

• maintained a sense of community by working together with colleagues and friends to create a safe and welcoming environment

host - the baxter hostel
jan-oct 2017

  • host of a central hostel in the city of edinburgh

  • provided a warm welcome to guests, took care of requests online and in person, managed bookings, accounting and general upkeep of the hostel

  • developed a proactive approach towards guests’ needs, complaints and feedback to provide an excellent customer service experience