Kate Stoddart

Kate Stoddart

My career began at home, with a mother who was an artist and a father who was in business and marketing; this background influenced in my professional development.

I studied Art History at Edinburgh University which then led to some good early experience of working with an artist-led organisation, an international contemporary applied arts gallery and a regional arts centre which had a strong emphasis on the visual arts.

Having said I would never work in a museum, a key period in my career was working as a curator on the contemporary exhibition programme at Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery. This is where I fell in love with museum collections and their stories. Working with artists who enjoyed responding to the spaces and the historical context of the Castle made me appreciate the possibilities of contemporary art in a historical location as well as the ‘white cube’ gallery space.

At the point when I was thinking of leaving, I was offered the chance to start a contemporary textile collection in partnership with the Contemporary Art Society. Between 1995 and 1999, I travelled around the UK and to Japan and the Netherlands to build the collection. This included working with Craftspace to commission Grayson Perry to design his first Coming Out Dress, which marked his emergence as a transvestite to the art world.

Grayson Perry, Coming Out Dress

Grayson Perry, Coming Out Dress, Nottingham City Museums. Photographer: Jerry Hardman Jones

After this period, my partner and I took a very long honeymoon, cycling from Greece to India, which was an extraordinary trip and exploration. On my return I became interested in horticulture and took two City & Guilds courses in horticulture and design. However I soon realised that this wasn’t the right career direction as I missed collaborating and working with people, as well as the problem solving that goes with an arts project. I have now worked in the arts for the last 20 years.

My partner is an architect (lettswheeler.com) in Nottingham. When we could not rescue the dilapidated coach house next to our house, we built a small contemporary house on the same site. This hands-on experience of development (and having an architect in the house) has provided me with invaluable practical and technical experience that I’ve since brought to many of my art projects.

11 Hedley Street, Nottingham. Photographer: Martine Hamilton Knight

11 Hedley Street, Nottingham. Photographer: Martine Hamilton Knight

In 2007 I became a freelance curator and mentor and have worked with a variety of people and organisations. I have developed my own curatorial practice within historical contexts and I continue to work beyond the white space.