March 30, 2018

Laura Sillars to Lead Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art

MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND—Teesside University has named Laura Sillars the next director of the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. Sillars has served as the artistic director of Sheffield’s Site Gallery for the last seven years and has curated projects for the Liverpool Biennial, Abandon Normal Devices Festival, and Art Sheffield. She is currently a doctoral scholar at Durham University’s Centre for Visual Arts and Culture. Sillars succeeds Alistair Hudson, who was appointed director of the University of Manchester’s Whitworth and Manchester art galleries in October 2017.

“Taking on the role of director in one of the UK’s leading institutions for modern and contemporary art is a huge honor,” Sillars said. “The opportunity is outstanding as MIMA has a track record of expertly curated exhibitions, it has pioneered the civic role of arts organizations and is supported by a unique partnership with Teesside University. The region has set ambitious aims to connect, grow, and build, and I look forward to working with colleagues to help shape the future of both the gallery and the wide cultural landscape.”

Mark Simpson, pro vice-chancellor or learning and teaching at Teesside University, said of Sillars’ appointment, “Since MIMA became part of the university in 2014, the gallery has continued to go from strength to strength and has provided a breadth of cultural opportunities for students, staff, and the wider community. I am looking forward to welcoming Laura Sillars as the new director—I am sure her vast knowledge, expertise, and experience will be vital in guiding MIMA through its next phase of development.”

Alongside her curatorial work, Sillars has established organizations promoting art and culture in Liverpool and Sheffield. Since its founding in 2007, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art has operated as a “useful museum” pursuing a civic agenda and addressing “locally significant themes—current urgencies—in light of global matter, wishing to be relevant in Middlesbrough and the northeast of England, as well as influential nationally and internationally.” In addition to civic outreach, MIMA hosts the Middlesbrough Collection and has served as a partner institution of artist Tania Bruguera’s Asosiación de Arte Útil, which promotes sustainable works of art that are intended to function as larger social tools.

Of Sillars appointment, Middlesbrough mayor Dave Budd said, “MIMA is an asset to Middlesbrough of national and international significance, and has developed a reputation as a great venue that appeals to a whole range of audiences. Over the last few years, its engagement with the local community has deepened and strengthened, and the partnership with Teesside University has opened up new avenues for future development. I’m delighted at Laura’s appointment and I look forward to seeing how MIMA continues to grow as a beacon of culture under her leadership.”

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