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International arts specialist to take helm at Glynn Vivian

Acclaimed arts authority Karen MacKinnon is the new curator of Swansea’s prestigious Glynn Vivian Art Gallery.

She joins Swansea Council’s city centre venue from her role as Director and Curator of internationally recognised contemporary arts body Artes Mundi.

Glynn Vivian Art Gallery

Karen, whose career includes a previous role at the Glynn Vivian, replaces Jenni Spencer-Davies who has retired.

Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “We are thrilled to have a curator of Karen’s calibre leading the Glynn Vivian.

“The gallery is a major arts venue for our city and Wales; both are brimming with creative opportunity and potential.

“These are challenging times for the public sector and the arts but I have no doubt that, under Karen’s creative leadership, the Glynn Vivian will thrive.

“Her expertise combined with that of her team at the gallery will benefit the wider arts and cultural sector in the region, as well as all Swansea residents and visitors.

“We thank Jenni Spencer-Davies for her work at the Glynn Vivian and wish her well in retirement.”

Swansea’s Glynn Vivian Art Gallery.

Karen MacKinnon said: “I’m delighted to return to Swansea and the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery.

“I look forward to continuing the brilliant work of recently retired curator Jenni Spencer-Davies and the whole team.

“Working closely with colleagues in Swansea Council and the wider cultural networks, Arts Council Wales and local diverse communities and residents, we can further explore how art questions, inspires, connects and transforms our lives – and how the things it teaches us reverberate and are useful way beyond the walls of the gallery.”

Karen MacKinnon has enjoyed a 25-year career as an arts director and curator. She has brought high-profile artists, exhibitions and events to Wales.

She worked as an international curator based in Wales from the late 1990s to 2013. This included roles at Glynn Vivian and Chapter, Cardiff.

She organised and curated exhibitions and worked with socially engaged practitioners as well as those whose work is gallery based. Successes included the curation of an exhibition at the prominent Venice Biennale.

She became Artes Mundi director in July 2013. Since then she has put the independent Cardiff-based organisation on the global stage, delivering world-class exhibitions as well as the UK’s largest art prize.

Karen regularly represents the arts sector at conferences, forums and on committees, contributing to publications and strategies to raise the profile of Wales’ cultural talent at home and abroad.

She sits on several national committees for the arts and advises British Council Wales and Arts Council of Wales on Welsh involvement at the Venice Biennale Biennale. She is on the steering committee for the Plus Tate scheme.

In recognition of her achievements and commitment, she was recently awarded the status Professor of Practice by University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

Karen MacKinnon will take the helm at the Glynn Vivian on April 1.