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  • Writer's picturePaul Andrews

Assistant Curator Appointed For National Gallery Bicentenary Project

Laura McSorley, a Curator, Producer from the Black Isle and a graduate of the University of Dundee, has been appointed as one of four Assistant Curators by the National Gallery, with support from Art Fund, to work on a commission by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller for the National Gallery’s Bicentenary year.

'The Triumph of Art', a UK-wide performance work, will mark the culmination of NG200 – the National Gallery’s year-long festival of art to celebrate its 200th anniversary.

Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (DJCAD), part of the University of Dundee, has been named as the Scottish partner in the project, the first time the National Gallery has had a formal partnership with an art school or college.

Each Art Fund Assistant Curator will be seconded to one of four partner organisations working on the commission – The Box in Plymouth, Mostyn in Llandudno, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in Dundee and The Playhouse in Derry/Londonderry – and all have strong links to the culture of the area and community where they will be based. In a brand-new model of partnership for the National Gallery, the Art Fund Assistant Curators will have extra capacity built into their roles to support the partner organisations in their day-to-day work.

After graduating from Fine Art at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, Laura spent two years running GeneratorPROJECTS, an internationally renowned, artist-led gallery and exhibition space in Dundee.

She has previously worked as Programme Assistant at the Edinburgh Art Festival and is currently working with a group of young people for the Creative Community Network project with Dundee Heritage Trust. In 2022, Laura was elected to the British Art Network’s Emerging Curators Group and has recently been appointed to the board of the Bothy Project – a charity that operates in a set of rural contexts to provide creative residencies in bespoke, off-grid bothies across Scotland.

Laura said, “I am delighted to be given the opportunity to be part of this celebration of the National Gallery’s Bicentenary and look forward to working with Jeremy Deller and colleagues here at DJCAD.”

Laura’s curatorial practice has been informed by lived experience as a working-class person, she specialises in supporting artists at the early stages of their career and is keen to undertake projects that focus on generating community, hospitality and joyful moments of togetherness. She has research interests that include tracing the impact of artist-led ecologies and how artists can work in non-visual and sensory ways. Laura also works collaboratively with artist Saoirse Amira Anis under the guise ‘two of cups’ where they have produced a series of performance events and gatherings titled A Very Heavenly Social.

Inspired by the National Gallery’s history and collection, the Art Fund Assistant Curators will help bring local traditions and heritage to the work being developed by Deller. Drawing on themes of celebration, commemoration and demonstration, Deller, together with the Art Fund Assistant Curators and with community involvement at each of the partners, will work to develop a near year-long public programme of collective and interactive activities. 'The Triumph of Art' will culminate in a performance organised by each of the partners in their locality. A major final performance will take place in July 2025, taking over Trafalgar Square with celebration and rounding off the Gallery’s 200th birthday.


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