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HomeUK NewsBarbican appoints Devyani Saltzman as Director for Arts and Participation

Barbican appoints Devyani Saltzman as Director for Arts and Participation


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Devyani Saltzman, who is a Canadian writer and curator, has been appointed the new Director for Arts and Participation at Barbican, London.

She will take up the post in July, replacing Will Gompertz, who was artistic director but left to join Sir John Soane’s Museum.

In a statement, Devyani Saltzman said, “We are living through such an important moment in which cultural institutions have the opportunity to enter into a new way of serving their people and the public. I really believe this generation of leadership can envision not only the best of creative practice and programming, but embody a healthier way of thinking and working, especially for the communities we serve and our own staff. I’m honoured to be joining the extraordinary team at the Barbican. I can’t wait to work with them and London’s many communities, to create a space that is both international and deeply local: daring, trust-based, politically relevant, and at the forefront of artistic practice. I look forward to working with the team to present the most innovative and thought-provoking work, that addresses and makes space for the issues we are collectively facing and ensures the Barbican is authentically welcoming for all.”

Saltzman was most recently Director of Public Programming at the Art Gallery of Ontario, before which she was also Director of Literary Arts at the Banff Centre and a founding Curator at Luminato, Toronto.

Talking about her appointment, Claire Spencer, Barbican CEO, said, “We are so thrilled with this appointment. As a Canadian with strong ties to artists and companies in South Asia, North America, and the UK, Devyani brings a wealth of experience, an international voice, and a new ethos of leadership based on collaboration, values, and service to the public, both local and international. Her ideas and experience will be instrumental in our ongoing journey towards a revitalised Barbican, as London’s creative catalyst for arts, curiosity, and enterprise, and a truly welcoming and transformational space for artists, audiences, and communities.”

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Reacting to the appointment of Saltzman as the Barbican’s Director for Arts and Participation, Musician, producer, composer, and Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Nitin Sawhney CBE, said, “As a London composer, producer, and creative, I am so excited to welcome Devyani Saltzman as the new Director of Arts of the Barbican Centre. Having known Devyani for a number of years, I have no doubt that she will bring her exceptional understanding and knowledge of the arts to the Barbican along with her incredible passion and inspiring creative vision. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for audiences and performers alike.”

“Devyani has an exceptional understanding of, and experience in, cross-genre arts programming. BAFTA shares a similar ethos with our year-round public programme showcasing the very best of film, games, and television programme making in all its forms. I am excited to see the vision Devyani will bring to an already rousing Barbican programme!” Mariayah Kaderbhai, Head of Programmes, BAFTA, said.


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