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Ferens Art Gallery announce new curator

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The Ferens Art Gallery in Hull has appointed a new curator.

Kerri Offord has joined the prestigious art gallery – which in 2018 was shortlisted for the Art Fund Museum of the Year award.

Kerri, who was born in Stockport, has held positions at Gallery Oldham, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and Watts Gallery. Most recently she worked at Lakeland Arts, first as Curator of Abbot Hall Art Gallery and Blackwell, the Arts& Crafts House, then as Head of Curatorial across four museums and galleries.

Kerri said: “The Ferens has a fantastic reputation and was known to me even before Hull was UK City of Culture. The collection is fantastic – as a curator it’s a dream come true to work with such a wealth of artists, periods and artistic movements.

“Hull also has a burgeoning creative scene and I’m really looking forward to being a part of it and supporting its growth through my work at the Ferens.”

Kerri replaces Kirsten Simister, who was the curator of Ferens Art Gallery for 17 years after joining in 2003. Kirsten oversaw the gallery’s incredible £5.2m refurbishment in 2016 before holding the post during Hull’s remarkable year as UK City of Culture in 2017.

Kerri continued: “Connecting with communities is very important to me. Community curator Lauren Field has done a great job on the Pride in Our City project, working with groups across Hull to create an exhibition that is collaborative, profound and fun.

“It’s important for us to continue this way of working to inspire and connect with people. I’m also keen to bring the collection out of the Ferens to locations around Hull and East Riding, so I’ll be working with the learning team to do this, while also creating space at the Ferens for artist residencies and commissions.

“We’ll also be working with Ferens national partners, like Royal Collections Trust and the Courtauld, to continue to bring internationally important works to Hull, building on the legacy of 2017.”

Pride in Our City is a new exhibition celebrating Hull’s LGBTQ+ history, which opens at Ferens on Saturday August 14.

Hull Museums and Ferens Art Gallery have been working in partnership with local LGBTQ+ community groups to identify untold narratives in this community-led retelling of Hull’s LGBTQ+ history.

Pride in Our City documents experiences of being part of LGBTQ+ communities in the city, sharing people’s own stories through new interpretations of the collections.

The Ferens also currently has on display the annual Open Exhibition, which gives a platform to local artists and allows them to show their work in a prestigious art gallery.

Simon Green, director of cultural services at Hull City Council, said: “We are delighted to welcome Kerri to the Ferens to drive forward the development of the galley after the impact of the pandemic and to develop new audiences and new ideas.

“She comes highly recommended from her previous post and has a breadth of experience and skills that goes beyond traditional core collections expertise and into fundraising and development. I look forward to working with her and the team.”

You can find out more about Ferens Art Gallery here.

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