October 12, 2017

Alistair Hudson Named Director of University of Manchester’s Whitworth and Manchester Art Galleries

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND—Alistair Hudson has been appointed director of the Whitworth Art Gallery at the University of Manchester and the Manchester Art Gallery. Hudson is currently director of the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art at Teesside University. His tenure as in Manchester begins in January 2018, succeeding Maria Balshaw who left the Manchester galleries following her appointment as director of the Tate.

“I am completely thrilled to be taking up this post in Manchester,” Hudson said. “The city’s cultural scene is one of the most dynamic and diverse in the country and Manchester Art Gallery and the Whitworth are at the heart of this. Maria Balshaw and her teams have established both institutions at the forefront of the democratization of art, working for all of society. I look forward to driving this mission forward and working across the region in projects that have real impact in people’s lives.”

During his three-year directorship of mima he positioned the institution as a “Useful Museum,” emphasizing community building and public outreach. Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art is a partner institution for the Asociación de Arte Útil, for which Hudson currently serves as co-director of with artist Tania Bruguera. In summer 2017, Hudson led a course on institutional self-criticism as an instructor at the Escuela de Arte Útil at the Yerba Center for the Arts in San Francisco, which was profiled by Monica Westin for Art & Education's School Watch.

Hudson has previously held the positions of projects curator at the Government Art Collection, overseeing public art strategy, and deputy director of Grizedale Arts, a contemporary arts residency and exhibition program in England’s Lake District. In 2015, Hudson served on the jury for the Turner Prize, which was awarded to the design and architecture collective Assemble. He is also the chair of Culture Forum North, an organization that partners cultural and higher education institutions in the North of England.

“Alistair is dedicated to the idea of cultural institutions as a force for promoting social change, and this fits precisely with the mission of the Whitworth. We are delighted that he will be leading the gallery into the next phase of its development,” said professor James Thompson, vice-president for social responsibility at the University of Manchester. “The Whitworth is a hugely important cultural asset for the university and for the many thousands of visitors from the local community and further afield who use it every year.”

The Manchester Art Gallery was established in 1835 and in 2002 completed a four-year, £35 million expansion project. The Whitworth Art Gallery re-opened in 2015 following a £17 million renovation, for which it received the Art Fund Museum of the Year prize. The dual-directorship of the Whitworth and Manchester galleries was created in 2012 to foster further collaboration between the city’s historic and modern art collections.

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