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Internationally renowned art academic Andrea Phillips is the new BALTIC Professor at Northumbria University, Newcastle

3rd October 2017

Northumbria University and BALTIC Centre of Contemporary Art are excited and proud to announce the appointment of a new BALTIC Professor and Director of the BxNU research institute.

Professor Andrea Phillips will take on the five-year role at Northumbria and BALTIC as part of the groundbreaking and innovative partnership between the two organisations. The writer and academic joins the University from the prestigious Valand Academy at the University of Gothenburg where she was Professor of Art and Editor-in-Chief of the PARSE journal. Prior to this, she was Professor of Fine Art in the Art Department at Goldsmiths leading PhD programmes in Art and Curating.

She succeeds Professor Christine Borland in the role of BALTIC Professor and Director of the BxNU (BALTIC x Northumbria University) Institute based at BALTIC 39 on High Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne. The BxNU Institute is committed to diverse disciplines, approaches and practices that attracts an international community of students, creative thinkers, practitioners and scholars leading the discovery of new knowledge, research and practice. It was created to provide a unique intellectual space where education, professional practice and world-class research are combined. Professor Phillips will direct the activities of the institute in exciting directions and help drive the partnership between Northumbria and BALTIC as it enters a new phase.

Speaking about her appointment, Professor Phillips said: “I am honoured to be appointed the BALTIC Professor and Director of the BxNU research institute. The collaboration between BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Northumbria University represents a critical opportunity for us to reframe the ways in which higher education institutions, arts centres and their overlapping constituencies can work together.

“My vision of BxNU is as a site of radical experimentation, using artistic and curatorial tools, which will come to exemplify ways of working with and learning from communities that are based on practices of social, financial, educational equality and desegregation. Building on the long historical tail of committed political and social activism in the North East, I hope that BxNU will demonstrate that the arts sector and arts education in the UK need not be driven by meritocratic imperatives.”

Professor Phillips is a writer and cultural organiser based in London who lectures and writes on the economic and social construction of publics within contemporary art, the manipulation of forms of participation and the potential of forms of political, architectural and social reorganisation within artistic and curatorial culture. She works with many international partners to develop dialogues and debates about art's role in the configuration of uneven social landscapes.

The role of BALTIC Professor was created to collaborate with a network of internationally active artists, academics and curators to help develop an innovative, international research centre for public art and curating that serves to challenge current research and thinking within the arts. This will open up arts in institutions to the future politics of financial sustainability, cross-sector collaboration and egalitarian management within them, enabling Northumbria and BALTIC to develop an ambitious and world-leading centre, building significant international collaboration with a strongly identified social core within the North-East.

Professor Tom Lawson, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Arts, Design and Social Sciences) at Northumbria University, Newcastle, said: “We’re delighted to announce Andrea as our new BALTIC professor. Her appointment marks a new phase in our partnership with BALTIC and demonstrates our joint ambition to attract the very best academics and practitioners from around the world to the region. Under Andrea’s leadership we will extend the international reach of Arts at Northumbria and of our ground breaking partnership with BALTIC.”

Sarah Munro, BALTIC Director said: “It is with deep honour and a frisson of anticipation that we announce the appointment of Andrea Phillips as BALTIC Professor and Director of the BxNU Institute. Andrea Phillips brings a huge wealth of knowledge, experience and understanding of the contemporary arts and higher education sectors to the Institute with a significant and distinguished background in international lecturing and publishing.

“Professor Phillips’ appointment represents the ambitions of the BxNU Institute to create an internationally connected, locally embedded, experimental, research led organisation for critical pedagogy.  I am absolutely delighted that Andrea Phillips will be leading that vision as our new BALTIC Professor.”

Northumbria has a global reputation for excellence in the Arts with its degree programmes in this area recently rated Top 18 in the UK for 2018, Top 10 in the UK for Art and Design research, and in the Top 301-400 for Arts and Humanities in the world. The University’s pioneering partnerships with key cultural organisations is at the heart of what Northumbria does. The University’s strategic partnership with BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art is an exemplar of the innovative ways it works to create thriving, stimulating communities of artist, practitioners, students, and staff who collaborate with experts across a wide range of fields, to generate new ways of thinking and creative practice. 

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