Edinburgh Art Festival appoints Kim McAleese as new director

Kim McAleese has been appointed as the new director of Edinburgh Art Festival.

McAleese joins Edinburgh Art Festival ahead of its 18th edition of the festival, which returns from Thursday 28 July to Sunday 28 August 2022.

Founded in 2004, Edinburgh Art Festival (EAF) is the platform for the visual arts at the heart of Edinburgh’s August festivals, bringing together the capital’s leading galleries, museums, production facilities and artist-run spaces in a city-wide celebration of the very best in visual art.

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Each year the festival comprises newly commissioned artworks by leading and emerging artists, alongside a rich programme of exhibitions curated and presented by partners across the city.

Kim McAleese has been appointed as Director of Edinburgh Art Festival

Kim McAleese said: “Scotland has always been close to my heart, and I cannot wait to begin working there. Over the past few years, I have learned so much from artists working and living there, so really hope to continue these relationships and have them flourish.

"Collaborative working and co-commissioning has been an essential part of how I operate and see the world, and really hope to bring that to the festival.”

Iain McFadden, Chair of Edinburgh Art Festival, said: “The EAF Board of Trustees are delighted to welcome Kim as the new Director, joining the festival at an important moment of development. Kim's career has demonstrated her outstanding commitment to artists, audiences and partnership working, and the Board and I am confident she will bring the same dynamic vision and collaborative leadership to EAF."

Amanda Catto, Creative Scotland’s Head of Visual Arts said: “We’d like to congratulate Kim McAleese on her appointment and look forward to welcoming her to Scotland. The Edinburgh Art Festival contributes significantly to the cultural offer of the city and is an important and valued force for good within the wider contemporary art sector in Scotland. Following the disruption of Covid over the last two years Kim joins the festival at an important time and we’re excited to see how her curatorial vision and commitment to artists and audiences will shape its work into the future.”

McAleese is co-founder and co-director of Household Collective, Belfast (nominated for the Paul Hamlyn Breakthrough Award 2013). Household has connected with organisations such as Artangel (London), Creativetime (New York) and Irish Museum of Modern Art (Dublin) to deliver interventions, commissions, and events.

McAleese also led on a community artwork created by Bob and Roberta Smith in 2015 as part of 14-18NOW, a major programme of art commissions across the UK, and has worked on large-scale visual art projects for Belfast International Festival.

She served on the 2021 Turner Prize Jury, and as Jury Member and Selector for the 2021 Margaret Tait Award. She is the Vice Chair of Outburst Queer Arts in Belfast, and was Advisory Board member of SHOUT Festival of Queer Arts and Culture in Birmingham until 2020 and is currently an Advisory Board member for New Art West Midlands, and served as a board member for Visual Artists Ireland from 2013 – 2016.

McAleese succeeds outgoing Director Sorcha Carey who led the festival from 2010 to 2021. Carey is now Director at Collective, Edinburgh.