The Board of Directors have appointed Ben Harman as the new Director of Stills, to succeed Deirdre MacKenna who leaves the organisation in December.
Harman is currently Curator of Contemporary Art, Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) in Glasgow and will take up his new appointment early in 2014. In his current role Harman cares for a world-class collection of modern and contemporary art including photography and lens-based media. Curatorial projects include: LIVING WITH WAR: Artists on war and conflict (2013); Tales of the City: Art Fund International and the GoMA collection (2012); Alan Dimmick: Photographs from the last 15 years of contemporary art in Scotland (2012); Alasdair Gray: City Recorder (2011); Jo Spence: Self Portraits (2008); Jim Lambie: Forever Changes (2008) and Barbara Kruger (2005). Selected projects out-with GoMA include: Sculpture on Film, Glasgow Film Theatre (2012) and The Work of Patti Smith, Mitchell Library, Glasgow (2006).
On the prospect of joining Stills, Harman said:
“Since its foundation in 1977, Stills has become a vital centre for photography in Scotland. I am greatly looking forward to leading the Stills team in the development of a vision for the next phase of the organisation. I passionately believe in photography’s increasingly important role in culture and society."
Harman was Lead Curator on the Art Fund International Partnership between GoMA and The Common Guild which, over a five year period from 2007 and with an acquisitions budget of £1m, established a world class collection of international contemporary art for the City of Glasgow. Purchases included an unprecedented range of photography, film and video by artists such as: Thomas Demand, Peter Hujar, Walid Raad, Wolfgang Tillmans, Omer Fast, Fischli & Weiss, Emily Jacir and Fiona Tan.
Stills’ Chair, Ben Spencer, said:
“I am delighted to announce the appointment of Ben Harman as the new Director of Stills. Ben’s broad knowledge of photography and artist film, both in Scotland and internationally, his network across the contemporary visual arts sector and many years experience of working at the Gallery of Modern Art - Scotland's most visited modern art gallery – will be a huge asset to the organisation. Ben’s appointment signals the start of a new, exciting phase for Stills.”
Deirdre MacKenna will leave Stills at Christmas this year to undertake a series of independent projects with her commissioning agency 'Cultural Documents', as Honorary Research Fellow of the RewindItalia project and as Visiting Professor at Fondazione Fotografia, Modena. In January 2014 she will start a doctoral studentship at University of Dundee supervised by Dr. Euan McArthur studying the history and development of models of visual art programme-making.
She will continue to work with Stills on the www.scotlandmigration.com project with Drummond High School and St. Andrews University.