Szefer Karlsen is teaching and lecturing in formal and informal education, and is Professor in Curatorial Practice directing the MA Curatorial Practice at the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design, University of Bergen (former Bergen Academy of Art and Design) (2015–21), has acted as external examiner for academic institutions such as Tromsø Art Academy, UiT the Arctic University of Norway; Departmen of Craft, Konstfack, Stockholm; Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford, UK and Dutch Art Institute, NL, and have been teaching (lectures/workshops) at Goldsmiths College, London; Chelsea College of Art, University of the Arts London; The Wits School of Art, Johannesburg; Capacete, Rio de Janeiro and Espacio Interdisciplinario, Universidad de la República Uruguay.
Szefer Karlsen was Director of Hordaland Art Centre in Bergen, Norway (2008–2014) and Senior Adviser at Bergen Assembly (2018–2020).. In addition to series of exhibitions and seminars for the Hordaland Art Centre, as well as further developing its residency programme, Szefer Karlsen has curated exhibitions for other art spaces, such as FUTURA – centre for contemporary art, Prague (2015); Performa 13, NYC (2013); Bergen Art Museum, Bergen (2011); UKS, Oslo (2007).
In 2017 Szefer Karlsen curated the international gathering of curators, directors, artists and thinkers Humans of the Institution together with Vivian Ziherl/Frontier Imaginaries.
Szefer Karlsen was curator for The Norwegian Sculpture Biennale 2015 entitled Art Belongs to Those Who See it at the Vigeland Museum in Oslo; curator for Lofoten International Art Festival – LIAF 2013 (with Bassam el Baroni and Eva González-Sancho) entitled Just what is it that makes today so familiar, so uneasy? and Associate Curator for Research and Encounters for Biennale Bénin 2012 – Inventer le monde: l’artiste citoyen (artistic director: Abdellah Karroum. Associate Curators: Didier Houenoude, Olivier Marboeuf and Claire Tancons).
Szefer Karlsen was series editor for Dublett (Hordaland Art Centre, 2013-2015) and edited the third anthology in Open Edition's Occasional Table-series titled Self-Organised with Stine Hebert (Open Editions/Hordaland Art Centre 2013), as well as edited Collected art criticisms by Erlend Hammer (Ctrl+Z Publishing, 2008) and co-edited Lokalisert/Localised with Arne Skaug Olsen and Morten Kvamme (Ctrl+Z Publishing, 2009).
Szefer Karlsen's writing has appeared in journals such as Afterall (Anarchism, Education and Compromise: Voices from Montevideo, 2016 ), Billedkunst (columnist from #2/2018 to #5/2019, Published), Kunstjournalen B-post (IN THE SHADOW OF OIL – What does the oil economy do to contemporary art?, 2014), kunstkritikk.no (The New Director, 2017; A demanding environment, 2016; Winter is coming, 2015), as well as in anthologies such as Plasticity of the Planet: On Environmental Challenge for Art and Its Institutions (ed. Magdalena Ziółkowska, Mousse Publishing, Mediolan and Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, 2019), Of(f) Our Times: Curatorial Anachronics (eds. Beatrice von Bismarck and Rike Frank, Sternberg Press, 2019),Condition Report (ed. Koyo Kouoh, Hatje Cantz, 2013) and Making Biennials in Contemporary Times (eds. Galit Eilat et. al., Biennial Foundation/ICCo – Instituto de Cultura Contemporânea, 2015).
Szefer Karlsen has conceived of several seminars and lecture series, expressing interests in artistic and curatorial collaborations as well as developing the language that surrounds art productions of today, linguistically, spatially and structurally. Szefer Karlsen has taken on a number of positions of trust within the Norwegian art context and is increasingly invited to speak on contemporary art at home as well as internationally. Exhibitions curated and publication projects edited by Szefer Karlsen will generally host an international roster of artists and other contributors.