Spike Island Director Helen Legg is appointed Director of Tate Liverpool

Image Credit: Helen Legg, photograph by Yiannis Katsaris

It is announced that Helen Legg, current Director of Spike Island, has been appointed the new Director of Tate Liverpool.

Since her appointment as Spike Island Director in September 2010, Helen has developed an ambitious exhibitions programme focused on emerging and underrepresented artists alongside the growth of a dynamic internal community. Over this period Spike Island has seen significant increases in attendance and a raised national and international profile. Spike Island now plays a leading role in the visual arts in the South West.

Helen is also the current Chair of the Visual Arts South West (VASW) Steering Group. Gordon Dalton, VASW Network Manager said, 'Helen has contributed greatly to the South West's visual arts scene, not only in the development of Spike Island under her direction, but as the Chair of VASW's Steering Group, where her experience and knowledge formed part of our Strategic Framework. While we will be very sad to see her go, she leaves behind a vibrant arts ecology that has benefitted from her time in the South West.'

Previously Helen was Curator at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2005 – 2010), where she was heavily involved in the development of Ikon, Eastside, based in a former factory building in Digbeth, an industrial area of the city.

With almost two decades of curatorial expertise, having worked extensively with British and international contemporary artists, including Hedwig Houben, Lubaina Himid, Kim Yong-Ik, Haroon Mirza, Laure Prouvost, Charlotte Prodger, Becky Beasley, Ciara Phillips and Michael Simpson, she has built impressive relationships in the UK and abroad. 

Andrew Cooper, Chair of Spike Island said:

'Helen has been instrumental in establishing Spike Island as a beacon of excellence at a very challenging time for the visual arts in Bristol and her reputation is rightly extremely high - both nationally and internationally - and with it that of Spike Island too. I am immensely proud that Helen has been offered such a prestigious and important post based on her highly valued work at Spike Island, and I am delighted that she has been given such an exciting opportunity and challenge at this stage in her career. We wish her the very best in Liverpool where she will take up the position in June 2018.'

Helen Legg said:

'I am delighted to be joining Tate as Director of Tate Liverpool. The gallery has had a huge impact on me and I feel a strong affinity with the values of the organisation. I look forward to working with colleagues there and to deepening relationships with partners both locally and internationally to take the gallery into its next exciting phase.'

Maria Balshaw, Director of Tate said:

'We are thrilled to announce that Helen Legg has been appointed Director of Tate Liverpool. As the gallery enters its fourth decade, Helen will lead the institution into a new era. Her impressive track record at Spike Island and at Ikon mean she brings a wealth of expertise to the role. Her curatorial achievements and her experience of developing crucial networks and partnerships will help us attract the audiences of the future to Tate Liverpool.'

Tate Trustee and Chair of Tate Liverpool Advisory Council, James Timpson said:

'Tate Liverpool has a long history of working closely with organisations in the city and is one of the most visited modern and contemporary art galleries outside London. Helen Legg’s impressive vision and expertise will ensure the gallery will continue to offer an outstanding programme and affirm its important role in this community and beyond.'

Helen is currently an external advisor to the Arts Council Collection Acquisitions Committee, a member of Arts Council England South West Area Council, Chair of Visual Arts South West, an Honorary Visiting Professor at the University West of England and sits on the advisory board of the Bristol Cultural Development partnership. Among other achievements, she was part of the selection committee for the British representations at the Venice Biennale 2017 and a judge for the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2017.

She gained an MA in History of Art from the University of St Andrews in 1996 and an MA in Curating & Commissioning Contemporary Art in 2002 from the Royal College of Art. She completed the Chief Executive Programme of National Art Strategies, hosted by Harvard Business School and Michigan Business School, in April 2015.

For more information please contact Spike Island Communications Manager jane.faram@spikeisland.org.uk or call +44(0)117 929 2266 / Tate at pressoffice@tate.org.uk or call +44(0)20 7887 8730.


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