Nicholas Serota appointed chairman of Arts Council England

Geraldine Kendall Adams, 08.09.2016
Tate director to move on after 29 years in the role
Nicholas Serota has been appointed the new chairman of Arts Council England by the culture secretary Karen Bradley.

The director of Tate will take over from outgoing arts council chairman Peter Bazalgette on 1 February 2017 for a four-year term.

Serota, who turned 70 this year, has been a leading figure in the cultural sector since becoming director of Tate Gallery (since renamed Tate Britain) in 1988, and was a driving force behind the major expansion of the Tate brand, with Tate St Ives and Tate Modern established under his watch.

More recently, he oversaw the £260m extension of Tate Modern, which increased the bankside gallery’s space by 60% and saw it diversify its collections to include more work by female and international artists.

Before joining Tate, Serota served as director of the Whitechapel Gallery and Oxford’s Museum of Modern Art. He said: “This is an enormous honour, given the seventy year history of the [arts] council, its success in recent years and the crucial role that it plays in promoting art and culture in this country.”

Bradley said: “Nicholas Serota has transformed the Tate during his time there, making it one of the leading art institutions in the world, and I am delighted he is taking up the position as chair of Arts Council England.

“He brings unparallelled experience, creativity and wisdom and will continue to be an enthusiastic champion of the arts in his new role.”

The director of the Museums Association (MA), Sharon Heal, welcomed Serota’s appointment.

She said: “It will be good for museums to have someone with a thorough understanding of the museums as chair of the arts council.

“His long service in the sector means he has seen the benefits of government support for the arts and also what happens when the funding is reduced.

“The MA recently convened the first meeting of the Museums Taskforce to look at the future of museums which has already identified big issues around funding, the impact of Brexit, diversity of workforce and how we work better in partnership with our communities. I look forward to working with the new chairman on these and other issues.”

Serota will take a pay cut for his new role, with his salary dropping from approximately £170,000 to £40,000 a year.