As reported in The Art Newspaper Alistair Hudson, currently the Director of both The Whitworth Art Gallery and the Manchester Art Gallery will be moving to ZKM in April 2023.
On one hand, this is sad news. What Hudson has achieved at both The Whitworth Art Gallery and the Manchester Art Gallery has been outstanding. A highlight of this for me was the opening of the major Suzanne Lacey Exhibition ‘What Kind of City’ which opened across both venues in 2022.
As both a long-time colleague, collaborator and friend of Hudson’s, the opening of this exhibition was significant on many levels. For me, it was the simply the fact that, alongside the outstanding work of Lacey, the result of carefully cultivated long-term projects, there was a palpable feel of excitement, co-ownership and enthusiasm which buzzed around the venue. Compared to most exhibition openings (usual termed ‘private views’) this was a scene of bubbling discussion, exchange and ‘what next’ discussions about how museums could be used by constituents as tools for social change. Those who had participated in the production of the work exhibited by Lacey were clearly aware that they weren’t simply being represented in a civic museum space, but they had co-used the museum space as a tool of rethinking, remaking and as an open-source channel for speaking to power.
For me, this was represented most clearly on the night by the sound of the exhibition halls and spaces being filled with song and human voice.
Before Hudson leaves for ZKM though, we have a collaboration to participate in with Whitworth Art Gallery for their forthcoming exhibition ‘Economics The Blockbuster’ (ETB), which is currently set to open at the Whitworth in July 2023. Via my role as lead researcher of the Decentralising Political Economies online platform (www.dpe.tools), as well as in my current role as Researcher and Writer in Residence at The Whitworth Art Gallery, I’m really looking forward to working with staff and constituents in the development of this exhibition.