The Holburne Museum and The Edge at the University of Bath have been awarded a three year grant from the John Ellerman Foundation to fund a new shared post of Contemporary Art Curator.
We are pleased to announce the appointment of Will Cooper as Curator of Contemporary Programmes & Special Projects. Originally from Bath, Will has since 2015 been Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow. Previous roles include stints at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead and Whitechapel Gallery, London.
Recent presentations include a solo exhibition from leading British artist Aaron Angell, a group show exploring the legacy of pioneering Orcadian filmmaker Margaret Tait, and the first historical survey of influential Scottish painter Jack Knox in nearly thirty years. Will has led on museum acquisitions of important works by artists including Anne Collier, Walter Price and Victoria Morton and Turner Prize 2018 winnner Charlotte Prodger, and while at BALTIC worked with artists such as Heather Phillipson, Lorna Simpson and Thomas Bayrle. He has a BA in the History of Art and Architecture from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, and a MA in Curatorial Practice from the Whitechapel Gallery, taught via London Metropolitan University.
Will Cooper will start on 21 January and will be situated at both organisations. Jamie Eastman, Director of Arts at the University of Bath said, “We are delighted Will is set to join the University, supporting our continuing desire to see contemporary artists and Bath researchers collaborate to exciting ends. Will’s first tasks will be to finalise projects already in the pipeline with Gayle Chong Kwan, Aowen Jin and Felicity Hammond. Will brings great calibre and experience to our team and plenty of ideas. He will work at the forefront, an ambition we share with the Holburne to see Bath present programmes of international contemporary art more regularly across the city and we are grateful for the opportunity to do this in partnership with the John Ellerman Foundation for the next three years.”
Dr Chris Stephens, Director at the Holburne notes, “We are hugely grateful to the John Ellerman Foundation for supporting this role and enabling the Holburne to extend and deepen its commitment to contemporary art. I am delighted at the opportunity to develop our relationship with the University of Bath and, with them, to contribute to establishing Bath as a venue for international contemporary art. It is great that we have been able to appoint a curator with Will Cooper’s experience. I have no doubt that he will develop an exciting and innovative programme of contemporary projects that will enrich the Holburne, it’s collection and its location while bringing new audiences to the Museum.”
The Edge, University of Bath
Art · Research · Adventure
The Edge is an arts and creativity hub informed by the context and research of the University of Bath. We encourage and nurture arts/research collaborations, providing a place where artists, audiences, researchers and academics can find new perspectives and fertile ground to showcase new thinking and ideas. Here, mechanical engineers meet sculptors interested in moving structures, architects work with artists to shed new light on the nature of play and how architecture influences it, artists bring together inventing and engineering expertise to create artworks of scientific complexity.
Our year-round programme of exhibitions, performing arts presentations, talks, arts classes, family and community events, provide experiences of educational, emotional and intellectual stimulus, all based around our ethos of bringing together arts, research and adventure. Our focus is on participatory programmes and our belief is that everyone can be creative and contribute.
The state-of-the-art Edge building offers galleries, theatres, music and art studios, plus a lively café/bar – a destination that promotes the art in science and the science in art.
The Holburne Museum’s mission statement is ‘Changing Lives through Art’, signalling its commitment to opening up the enjoyment of art to people of all ages and from every walk of life. The Holburne was founded in 1882 with the gift of Sir William Holburne’s collection of 16th and 17th century Italian and Dutch paintings, silver, sculpture, furniture, porcelain and diverse objets d’art of national and international significance. That founding gift has been augmented with a collection of 18th century paintings by such artists as Gainsborough, Lawrence, Ramsay, Stubbs and Zoffany. Set within the historic Sydney Pleasure Gardens, the Museum reopened in May 2011 after ambitious renovations and with a new, award-winning extension by Eric Parry Architects. The Holburne has since secured a national reputation as an outstanding museum which holds critically acclaimed exhibitions. Its programme of exhibitions, commissions and events sets out to bring to Bath great art of all periods and from around the world, seeking to set the art of the past in dialogue with contemporary practice in exciting and dynamic new ways.
The John Ellerman Foundation is a grant-making trust supporting organisations working in Arts, Environment and Social Action, with an aim to ‘advance the wellbeing of people, society and the natural world’. In 2018, the Holburne Museum applied for and was successful in receiving a 3-year grant to support the above post through one of the Foundation’s grant-making programmes.