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New Director for Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art

28 March 2018 @TeessideUni


Teesside University has appointed Laura Sillars as Director of Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA).

Laura Sillars
Laura Sillars

Laura joins MIMA from Sheffield’s Site Gallery where she has been Artistic Director (Co-Director) for seven years. Previous roles include Programme Director at Foundation for Art and Creative Technology and Curator of Public Programmes at Tate Gallery, Liverpool. Curating projects for the Liverpool Biennial, Abandon Normal Devices Festival and Art Sheffield she has worked collaboratively in Liverpool and Sheffield to develop culture consortia to support the arts ecologies of those cities.

Her appointment comes following the departure of Alistair Hudson who moved earlier in the year to Manchester Art Gallery and Whitworth Art Gallery.

MIMA, which became part of Teesside University in 2014, celebrated its tenth anniversary last year. It has grown its national, local and international reputation and has seen an increase in both visitor numbers and dwell time. MIMA offers changing exhibitions, collection displays, learning activities, projects and community-focused initiatives both at MIMA and out in the community, involving artists and the public.

The museum now features a permanent display of the Middlesbrough Collection consisting of works made by British and international artists from the mid-1800s to today, including recent acquisitions of artworks by artists from diverse backgrounds and who address important global issues.

Speaking on the new role, Laura said: 'Taking on the role of Director in one of the UK’s leading institutions for modern and contemporary art is a huge honour. The opportunity is outstanding as MIMA has a track record of expertly curated exhibitions, it has pioneered the civic role of arts organisations 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 both of the gallery and the wider cultural landscape.'

Professor Paul Croney, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Teesside University, said: 'We are delighted to announce Laura Sillars as the new Director of MIMA. She has a great deal of experience and expertise working in museums, galleries and education and I am sure she will play a leading role in continuing to enhance MIMA as a leading national and international gallery.'

The opportunity is outstanding as MIMA has a track record of expertly curated exhibitions, it has pioneered the civic role of arts organisations and is supported by a unique partnership with Teesside University.

Laura Sillars

Professor Mark Simpson, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) at Teesside University, added: 'Since MIMA became part of the University in 2014, the gallery has continued to go from strength to strength and has provided a wide 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.'

Sharon Paterson, Associate Director, Culture and Engagement, Teesside University and MIMA said: 'We are very much looking forward to the contribution Laura will make, bringing her wealth of experience and furthering the cultural community in the North East region and beyond.'

Middlesbrough Mayor Dave Budd welcomed Laura’s appointment on behalf of Middlesbrough Council, one of MIMA’s key stakeholders and funding partners.

He 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.'

Laura, who grew up in the North East, has worked in the US, Asia and Europe on exhibitions with leading international artists such as Mike Kelley, Nam June Paik and Daria Martin. Throughout her career she has supported emerging and mid-career artists who are pioneers in their fields, including Eva and Franco Mattes, Pilvi Takala and Anna Barham. Laura serves on the boards of Engage, FutureEverything, Workplace and the Advisory Board of the Arts and Humanities Research Council. She completed a Clore Leadership Fellowship (2008) and is a doctoral scholar at Durham University's Centre for Visual Arts and Culture.

She is set to take up the role at MIMA in Summer 2018.

In the News

Laura heads mima
Darlington and Stockton Times, p39, 27/04/2018
Laura Sillars has been appointed as the new Director of mima.

New director appointed at Middlesbrough's modern art gallery
Northern Echo, p16, 31/03/2018, Northern Echo, online, 31/03/2018
Laura Sillars joins mima from Sheffield's Site Gallery where she has been artistic director for seven years.

Laura Sillars named director of Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art
Art Forum, online, 30/03/2018
Teesside University has announced that Laura Sillars has been hired as the new director of its Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art.

Top mima role is an honour for Laura
Evening Gazette, p22, 30/03/2018
Laura Sillars has been appointed as the new director of mima.

New director to paint fresh picture for art gallery
The Journal, p20, 30/03/2018
One of the region's biggest art galleries has appointed a new director, Laura Sillars.