Joint vision for Manchester's top galleries

24 Feb 2011

Manchester City Council and The University of Manchester have announced an exciting new collaboration which will enhance further the city’s cultural significance.

Dr Maria Balshaw
Dr Maria Balshaw

The council and the University have agreed in principle to have a joint director for two of the most renowned galleries in the country, Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Art Gallery.

Dr Maria Balshaw, the existing director of the University’s Whitworth Gallery, will extend her role to manage Manchester Art Gallery when Moira Stevenson, the current Art Gallery director retires.

This new joint post is an exciting development which will realise significant benefits for the two galleries, in terms of the contribution they can make to the cultural life of the city; the sharing of academic research; the coherence of artistic vision for Manchester and the combined strength of their complementary world-class collections.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Manchester Art Gallery has always been at the heart of our city’s cultural ambitions and I believe this collaboration will bring real benefits to the Manchester.

“This innovative arrangement will assist Manchester to realise its ambitions to become a world-class cultural city with a world-renowned university. We believe there are significant social and economic benefits to having such a vibrant artistic scene and this development will ensure we not only safeguard, but significantly enhance the city’s cultural reputation.”

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, said: “The University has been working closely with our city council colleagues to respond creatively to enhancing the cultural life of the city.

“This new arrangement illustrates how Manchester is prepared to pioneer new modes of leadership for the arts to achieve mutual benefits. The University of Manchester looks forward to seeing the impact of a shared vision for visual art in Manchester.”