Esra Plümer Bardak is an art historian, researcher and active member of non-profit art associations.
Born in Cyprus, Esra was raised between New York, USA, and Nicosia, Cyprus until moving to England in 2002. After completing her bachelor’s degree in Art History and Theory at the University of Essex, Esra moved to Nottingham to continue her graduate studies and was awarded an MA with Distinction. Returning to Cyprus for a year in 2008-2009, she worked as a cultural specialist consultant for the USAID funded project Supporting Activities that Value the Environment, whilst lecturing part-time at the European University of Lefke.
In 2009-2010 Esra received a European Union Grant to begin her doctoral studies in England and was awarded a scholarship by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for the remainder of her Ph.D. (completed in 2012). Between the years 2009-2013, she worked at the University of Nottingham as Teaching Assistant, Guest Lecturer, and Part-Time Lecturer. Throughout her doctoral research and its completion since Esra has been awarded travel grants to France and Germany and has been invited to speak at conferences and symposia in institutions around the United Kingdom and Europe.
After 2013, Esra became more involved in arts organizations, volunteering in art galleries and civil society organizations. Between the years 2013-2015, she completed a PG-Dip in Arts Management and Cultural Policy at the Queen’s University, Belfast to support her breadth of expertise. Returning to Cyprus in 2015, Esra became a full-time lecturer whilst continuing her engagement with local art organizations, as a board member, art consultant, and mentor; generating and taking part in collaborative projects that have a social focus, as well as consulting on project development and execution.
Currently, she is working as one of the art consultants for the project ‘Art for All’ (2018-2021) funded by the European Union Civil Society in Action IV Grant Program implemented by the European-Mediterranean Arts Association. One of her key roles in the project is as Series Editor of ‘EMAA Art Publications’; overseeing the production and publication of a total of six books for various age groups.
Esra’s wider research interests include canon studies, new approaches to modernism, and decentralising models in reinterpreting histories. She has published several monographic studies on artists including the first English book on the life and work of German artist and writer Unica Zürn, extended essays on Cypriot artists Gönen Atakol, İsmet Tatar and Sümer Erek as well as on rethinking art history narratives in the Turkish Community in Cyprus.
Ongoing research projects include editing an anthology on Cypriot artist and writer Ayhan Menteş, as well as preparing his autobiography for publication. Both publications will accompany the upcoming exhibition titled “Meaningful Coincidences” curated by Esra. The exhibition, which will feature a selection of Mentes’ artistic work, is scheduled to take place in Spring 2021 and will be co-hosted by EMAA and DAU-KAM.
Since 2017, Esra has been a faculty member as Assistant Professor at the Arkin University of Creative Arts and Design, Cyprus.
She lives between Nicosia, Cyprus and Istanbul, Turkey.