Backstage at The Lowry: Kate Farrell, Curator of Special Exhibitions

Kate Farrell, Curator of Special Exhibitions
Kate Farrell, Curator of Special Exhibitions

The Lowry is an amazing place to work for anyone that shares our passion for performance and visual art. One of our biggest assets is the team that work here tirelessly throughout the year to achieve our mission to be the most successful arts venue in the world.  To give you a little insight into life here at The Lowry, today is the first of our new ‘Backstage at The Lowry’ guest blog posts by a member of ‘Team Lowry’. Today, we meet Kate Farrell, our curator of special exhibitions.

I started my job as curator of special exhibitions at The Lowry just over four years ago ( July 2009) and I feel like I haven’t stopped since (in a good way!) I manage a diverse programme of exhibitions that all focus on performance practice, which fits in really nicely with my background; my BA degree was in Dance & Culture at The University of Surrey, within which I did a year in industry at the Theatre Museum, (then in Covent Garden) where I was fascinated by the costume collection and my career in museums and galleries really started there.

Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to work at Urbis in Manchester, The Bluecoat, Liverpool and The Museum of Modern Art in New York. I gained an MA in Contemporary Curating from Manchester Metropolitan University somewhere in the middle of it all too.

A career in the creative industries takes lots of hard work of course, and it’s important to be focused on where you want to get to while diversifying your experience within that field as much as possible. I’ve gained lots of transferable skills since I started my BA degree 13 years ago and they’ve all equipped me to gain experience in the institutions and jobs I’ve been lucky enough to work in. I think it’s important to never stop learning, there’s always something new you can gain inspiration from.

Since I started at The Lowry I’ve been constantly inspired and have been incredibly lucky to work with the artists and organisations I have in realising unique exhibitions and projects, from New York artist Spencer Tunick: (my first project here which meant managing one artist photographing 1,000 naked participants across eight locations in Salford and Manchester!), The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, and most recently Alison Goldfrapp who I worked with to deliver our first Performer as Curator exhibition which opened this week.

My job is always collaborative, and it’s a pleasure to work with such creative minds and organisations on a daily basis and Alison was no exception. The Lowry excels at the performing and visual arts in equal measure, and Performer as Curator was established to bridge the gap between the two (we will work with two brand new artists in 2014 & 2015..) enabling these high profiler performers to curate their own visual art exhibition, drawing upon the influences, artists and artworks that have impacted their life and career.

Alison’s exhibition offers a rare opportunity to explore some of the singer’s personal inspirations through the painters, film makers, illustrators and photographers who have shaped her own inimitable artistic vision, portraying her fascination in the darker side of fairy tales and folklore and we’re so happy with how it’s come together. It’s been an incredibly exciting exhibition to work on, and preparations have already started on next year’s show, so the hard work, inspiration and excitement starts all over again.

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