Following the departure of Kate Brindley at the end of December, who left to take up a new post as Director of Collections and Exhibitions at Chatsworth House, it is with huge pleasure and excitement that we are able to announce that we have made the appointment of Claire Doherty as the new Director of Arnolfini. This followed a rigorous national and internal selection process facilitated by recruitment consultants Liz Amos Associates and the Board of Trustees led by our Chair Anna Southall.
Claire Doherty is currently the Director and Founder of Situations – one of the UK’s foremost producers of public art projects. Claire has spent 15 years spearheading dynamic new approaches to arts in the public realm, engaging those for whom the arts might have seemed irrelevant or inaccessible. Projects such as Theaster Gates’ Sanctum have caught the public’s imagination and garnered critical acclaim for their bold, cross-art form visions. Claire is a leading advocate for the role arts can play in the future of our cities, having authored public art and creative strategies for the cities of Melbourne, Plymouth and Oslo. In 2016, Claire was appointed MBE for her Services to the Arts in the South West.
The Board of Trustees felt it was very important to cast the net as wide as possible to ensure they could identify the calibre of individual who could bring international stature, vision, experience and artistic originality to the organisation at a significant juncture of its development. It was both logical and emotionally compelling that they could find such a world-class candidate so close to home. Not only does this send a signal about the strength of our cultural talent in the city, it also brings together two huge forces for cultural impact and relevance which can only be of huge benefit to Bristol, the region and the arts sector as a whole.
This appointment makes huge sense in terms of the future of Arnolfini and the wider cultural ecology of the region at a time where there are profound challenges and opportunities in equal measure for the arts sector and the city generally. As a well-regarded champion of the under-heard and overlooked in society and someone who has tirelessly sought ways to engage those for whom the arts might have seemed irrelevant or inaccessible; Claire’s values and principles are very aligned with Arnolfini and the wider city.
Claire herself has already singularly played a huge part in establishing Bristol’s reputation as a cultural powerhouse on the international stage and her vision, entrepreneurism and reputation are all attributes we feel will serve the development of Arnolfini and the city extremely well in the coming years. We hope that Claire’s intimate understanding of the heritage of Arnolfini and role that culture plays in a dynamic city like Bristol will only help to increase our ability to provide leadership and collaboration with a new emboldened vision at this crucial time.
We will make further announcements closer to the start of Claire’s tenure which begins officially on 1st August. Meanwhile, I hope you will continue to provide your support and best wishes for both Arnolfini and Situations leading into this next exciting phase of progressive transformation.
Helen Davies, Interim CEO
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Senior Communications and Engagement Manager