The arts form a vital part of our culture and creative economy, and my practice focuses on excellence in arts programmes, enhancing visitor experience, creating accessible digital platforms for artwork across all disciplines, and expanding participation through innovative and engaging programmes of events, activities and information resources. I create environments both online and in physical spaces, that are rich in opportunity for learning and discovery and which to communicate complex and emergent ideas relating to art’s often untold narratives and hidden histories, bringing divergent ideas together to create new perspectives.
I have worked in the arts for more than 20 years as an arts manager, curator and educator, and currently lead Art exhibitions and public programmes at the National Museum of Wales in the role of Deputy Keeper of Art. My work over the past two years at the Museum has been focussed on making one of Europe’s greatest art collections more accessible, challenging the imperial past it reflects, and creating a new critical context grounded in lived experience. The new curatorial strategy that has emerged for future reflects profound changes in society and our urgent need to respond to national divisions, cultural tensions and economic challenges in an age of climate emergency, digital ubiquity and a revolution in gender politics.
My practice been grounded in communities across Wales, working with diverse groups and a wide range of partners, and I take a strategic role in promoting the place of visual art within mainstream education. My approach as an educator is based not on teaching art, but in teaching people to think like artists. It comprises participatory projects, residencies, commissions, exhibitions and events, training and learning resources, all embedded within sociocultural agendas, key curriculum targets, and all fully capitalise on funding opportunities.
During the Covid-19 Health Emergency, I have been re-focussed almost exclusively on a suite of projects entitled Celf ar y Cyd which aim to put art and creative practice to work. These projects respond to the acute needs of the present situation, and include installation of art into field hospitals across Wales, and working with NHS staff to devise associated creative resources and tools for clinical use in CV-19 recovery programmes. I am actively developing a series of artist commissions, new interactive web content built around the National Art Collection and a new on-line Arts Journal, Cynfas, which will launch in October this year to coincide with Black History Month.
I was formally Head of Education at Ffotogallery, the National Agency for Photography and Lens-based media in Wales, and led public programmes for the Diffusion International Festival of Photography, Cardiff. I began my career as a freelance producer and practicing artist in Cardiff, before becoming established as an arts educator promoting a wider understanding of, and participation in, contemporary art, lens based media and creative technology, encouraging critical and visual literacy.
I have wide experience within arts project management, evaluation, internal operations, financial management, governance, and sustainable business modelling. In my role as founder member and Chair of g39, the gallery and its subsidiary, WARP (the Wales Artists Resource Programme), I have been closely involved in securing core funding, permanent premises, and a funded exhibition and learning programme. I have worked to establish an organisation which has become a vital platform for emerging art practice, and artist-led initiatives across the region. http://www.g39.org
I am interested in progressive educational philosophies and am also a qualified Montessori Teacher. I studied Photography at Newport School of Art and am a regular visiting lecturer at universities in Wales. I am a Trustee of Engage, the National Association for Museum and Gallery Education and work on policy and planning at a national level to develop and promote contemporary visual art across education and social and cultural sectors.
I have devised and carried out a series of major participatory projects using creative technologies, and visual media for which I was awarded the Chrisi Bailey Media Arts Award and an Artworks award presented to the participating school by artist Anish Kapoor at The Tate Modern.
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