I’ve had lots of congratulations on the news that I’m to be Interim Director at mima in Middlesbrough for six months from April. My wife says this is because it looks like a proper job people can understand, and she may not be wrong. This blog is to mark that news, and partly to point out it’s not quite a Proper Job…
It is a really exciting opportunity to help mima as it moves from Middlesbrough Council, whose vision brought the gallery to fruition, into Teesside University. The University is a huge driving force in Middlesbrough. I did some work with the Council and University testing the idea last year that convinced me it was the right way forward for mima and its work. The chance to help move this forward, after Director Kate Brindley leaves to run Arnolfini in Bristol, was an offer I couldn’t refuse. I spoke at the opening of the gallery in 2007, it’s my local international gallery, I go there often and as a Teesside resident I want it to work fantastically. I'm sure I'll learn masses from the chance, too. Finally, I didn’t want to think I was the kind of consultant who runs a mile when asked to work on implementing a plan they helped create.
I will be continuing to work beyond mima in the next 6 months, as this is an Interim role to help through a change process and to assist with the recruitment of a permanent Director. Thinking Practice has exciting work on with Bait in South East Northumberland and Northern Stage. I’m part of the crack team CidaCo have put together for a big resilience project commissioned by Arts Council England, to launch in Birmingham and London next month. Tyneside Cinema will soon publish a text combining a conference-poem and top tips for getting young people into specialised cinemas. And I’m loving doing events for How I Learned to Sing in libraries across Yorkshire and the North East as part of Read Regional. So busy, exciting times, but very much still open to other offers and invites for the future. Do not file me away under Got Proper Job.
(The image above is a clip from the latest mima ‘What’s On’ brochure. Look closely you’ll see me in the crowd, looking seriously unimpressed by something or other. It's one of those 'my face just looks like this, sorry' photos. I’m near to Alison Clark-Jenkins of Arts Council fame and the artist Simon McKeown, so it can’t have been anything either of them had said, obviously. Anyway, it put a smile on my face when I spotted it.)