My career began at home – my mother was an artist and my father was in business & marketing, then teaching; this background continues to influence me today.
I studied Art History at Edinburgh University, followed by some good early experience working with an artist led organisation, an international contemporary applied arts gallery and a regional arts centre.
I said I would never work in a museum, but a key period was working as a curator of the exhibition programmes at Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery. This is where I fell for collections, their freight of histories and their potential to be borrowed by artists and seen anew. I began to work with artists who were interested in responding to both the historical objects and spaces.
I was offered the chance to build a contemporary textiles collection, in partnership with Contemporary Art Society. Between 1995 and 1999, I travelled around the UK, Netherlands and Japan to build the collection, making links with Nottingham’s own history of lace and textiles. The commissions included Grayson Perry’s first coming out dress, which marked his coming out as a transvestite to the art world.
In 2007, I became a freelance curator, mentor and creative producer. I have worked with a number of organisations within the heritage sector, particularly the National Trust, developing and delivering contemporary projects across the Midlands and nationally, supporting professional development and building new partnerships. My practice has extended from the museum and gallery, to the landscape, the city, the village and the built space, working with collaborating artists, communities and partners.
My partner is an architect (lettswheeler.com) and together with 8 other households we are developing a co-housing project, Hot House. We have an option on former allotments in Derbyshire, and we are designing and building a new low carbon neighbourhood on the edge of Belper.