Staff

Our team is the core of Liverpool Biennial, made up of permanent staff and temporary team members. You can contact the office at +44 (0)151 433 9156 and email  info@biennial.com with general enquiries.

Director – Samantha Lackey

Dr Samantha Lackey was Head of Collection and Exhibitions at the Whitworth (University of Manchester), where she was senior lead on the Leadership Team. Previously, she was curator at The Hepworth Wakefield (2010-16) where she delivered 40 exhibitions over 4 years as part of the team that opened the gallery in 2011 to critical acclaim. She received a PhD on the subject of surrealism in 2005, which was the context for her work as a lecturer, research fellow and her first exhibition at the Whitworth, Subversive Spaces: Surrealism and Contemporary Art

Curator, Liverpool Biennial 2023 – Khanyisile Mbongwa

Khanyisile Mbongwa is a Cape Town-based independent curator, award-winning artist and sociologist who engages with her curatorial practice as Curing & Care, using the creative to instigate spaces for emancipatory practices, joy and play.

Mbongwa is the curator of Puncture Points, founding member and curator of Twenty Journey and former Executive Director of Handspring Trust Puppets. She is one of the founding members of arts collective Gugulective, Vasiki Creative Citizens and WOC poetry collective Rioters In Session. Mbongwa was a Mellon Foundation Fellow at the Institute of Creative Arts at the University of Cape Town, where she completed her masters in Interdisciplinary Arts, Public Art and the Public Sphere, and has worked locally and internationally. She is also currently a PhD candidate at UCT where her work focuses on spatiality, radical black self love and imagination, and black futurity.

Formerly Chief Curator of the 2020 Stellenbosch Triennale, her other recent projects include: Process as Resistance, Resilience & Regeneration – a group exhibition co-curated with Julia Haarmann honoring a decade of CAT Cologne (2020), Athi-Patra Ruga’s solo at Norval Foundation titled iiNyanka Zonyaka (The Lunar Songbook) (2020) and a group exhibition titled History’s Footnote: On Love & Freedom at Marres, House for Contemporary Culture in Maastricht, Netherlands (2021).

Programme

Curator of Learning – Aimee Harrison 

Aimee is an artist and producer from Liverpool. Prior to the Biennial she was Children and Young People's Producer at Heart of Glass, St Helens and also worked at FACT Liverpool as Learning Coordinator. She completed her MA in Fine Art at Liverpool John Moores University. She has produced projects working with people from different communities including children and young people, older adults, womxn and people within the criminal justice system.

Liverpool Biennial Professor of Exhibition Research – Joasia Krysa

Joasia is Professor of Exhibition Research and Head of Art & Design at LJMU, with an adjunct position at Liverpool Biennial. She currently serves as curatorial advisor to Helsinki Biennial 2021 and Sapporo Art Triennale (SIAF), Japan. Previously, she was Artistic Director of Kunsthal Aarhus, Denmark, she was part of the Documenta 13 curatorial team and was co-curator of Liverpool Biennial 2016. Her recent publications include Systemics, or Exhibition as a Series (Sternberg Press, 2017) and, with Jussi Parikka, Writing and Unwriting Media Art History (MIT Press 2015). She is also commissioning editor for Liverpool Biennial's online journal Stages.

Programme Manager – Lily Mellor

Lily Mellor completed a BA (Hons) in Fine Art in 2013 and Masters in Fine Art (MFA) 2015, both at Northumbria University and whilst working at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Lily went on to join the Biennial as a trainee in the Programme team and then a staff member in the Development team. She joined the Hull City of Culture team in 2017 as Assistant Producer on the Turner Prize at Ferens Art Gallery and went on to be Producer at Absolutely Cultured. In this role, she managed the delivery of ambitious outdoor festivals, a gallery exhibition programme and talent development programmes that focused on enhancing place, sharing untold stories and bringing people together.

Assistant Curator –  Amani Mitha 

Amani completed a B.A. in Politics from the Queen Mary University of London and a Masters in Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art. She is an independent curator, writer, and speaker having worked on several UK-based and international projects, including the most recent Manchester International Festival in 2021 with Rashid Rana. Prior to this, Amani curated a video and film installation as part of the Asia Triennial Manchester that later toured Berlin. Previously, Amani worked as a studio coordinator in Anish Kapoor’s Studio. Her current research addresses contemporary social issues of our time around diaspora, identity, culture, and politics. 

Assistant Curator, Production - James Harper

James Harper is a Welsh artist and creative producer, based in Liverpool. Alongside his role at Liverpool Biennial, he is Founding Director of Periclo CIC, a studio group and project space in Wrexham.

James has been part of Liverpool's cultural scene since 2010 having held a studio and acted as Artistic Director at The Royal Standard within the city. As an independent practitioner, he has worked with organisations such as A-N, Bluecoat, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Site Gallery and Tate Liverpool. He has a Masters in Curating from Chelsea College of Arts and previously held the role of Curator at Ty Pawb, Wrexham.

Programme Assistant - Laura Caseberry 

Laura completed a Master's degree in Art History and Curating in 2020 and prior to that a Bachelor's (Hons) degree in East Asian Studies with a focus on arts. Since graduating Laura has done assistant curatorial work and freelance research/ curatorial work which, like their degree research, focused on contemporary arts which engage with ecology and eco-critical themes. Laura also spent two years living in mainland China, a year in Taiwan studying East Asian Art History and two years in The Netherlands. Social justice, including environmental justice and inclusive community arts are all strong interests Laura aims to incorporate into a visual culture setting.

Development, Marketing & Communications

Director of Development, Marketing & CommunicationsPetra van den Houten

Over the past 25 years Petra has worked extensively with emerging artists, commercial galleries, not-for-profit art organisations, art collectors, and philanthropists in Europe, USA and the Middle East. Most recently Petra was Head of Major Gifts at the Royal Northern College of Music. She is a Trustee of the Manchester Art Gallery, a former Associate Director of Christie’s and Deputy Director of Sotheby’s and holds an MA in Art History from Leiden University, The Netherlands.

Development Manager – Aoife Robinson

Aoife is an arts fundraiser and project manager. She joined Liverpool Biennial in 2018 after working in Fundraising and Development roles at CFCCA and FACT. Originally from Nottinghamshire, she moved to Liverpool to study Philosophy, and developed interests in aesthetics, feminism and cultural criticism. She has since collaborated with many Liverpool based organisations and grassroots projects to deliver events around these themes.

Development Officer – Benjamin Nuttall

Benjamin completed a BA (Hons) in Fine Art in 2016 at LJMU. He went on to join The Royal Standard in 2018 as Director/Artist Lead, focusing on building connections within the city between artists and cultural organisations and leading on the charity’s funding strategy. Previously, Benjamin worked at National Museums Liverpool as a Team Leader, creating cohesion between exhibitions and retail space. Benjamin is part of the team at Shuffle, hosting events and providing opportunities for emerging creatives. Benjamin continues to work freelance in photography, specialising in exhibition documentation and photojournalism.

Marketing & Communications Manager – Lucinda Riding

Lucinda joined the Liverpool Biennial team from a busy cultural communications agency, where she oversaw national and international campaigns for clients ranging from art fairs, collectors and commercial art galleries to public institutions and not-for-profit organisations. Previously, Lucinda worked in the press office at Christie’s auction house where she worked on the campaigns for the 250th anniversary of the organisation and major auctions. She completed a degree in Hispanic Studies and English Literature at King’s College London in 2016.

Digital Content & Marketing Officer – Laura Hessey 

Laura completed a BA (Hons) in Fine Art: Painting from UAL: Camberwell College of Arts, graduating in 2020 with a creative practice of film and writing,. Prior to joining the Biennial team, Laura worked as the Communications Assistant at Open Eye Gallery, taking the lead on the publicity, marketing and management of the organisation's social media during the LOOK Climate Lab 2022.

Operations, Finance & HR

Operations Manager – Jade Mitchell 

Before joining the Biennial team, Jade gained administration, operations and finance experience in several third sector organisations including social arts agency Heart of Glass. Outside of this work, Jade has also provided marketing and communications support to small businesses in the North West, including the coordination and management of the digital General Election campaign for Helen Jones MP. 

Operations Manager – Kezia Davies

Kezia completed a BA in Fine Art at Winchester School of Art and subsequently an MFA in Curating at Goldsmiths. Shortly after, she moved back to her hometown of Liverpool where she has worked with a number of arts organisations, including previously working at the Biennial as a Programme Assistant. As well as working with the Biennial, she is also an Artist Lead at The Royal Standard, a volunteer-led studio/gallery complex, and is a member of Liverpool Sisterhood, an intersectional feminist activist group.

Head of Finance – Allison Mottram

Allison has a vast experience of Finance and Management accounts, having previously worked for a range of organisations throughout the North West within the retail and housing sectors. Following her BTEC National Diploma in Accountancy and Bookeeping, Allison studied through the Open University to achieve her AAT and CIMA pq qualifications.

Finance Officer – Dan Bayley 

Dan is AAT Level 3 Qualified and has accountancy experience in the Printing Industry (PM Web Neston), Housing companies (Riverside and SLH), Slater and Gordon Lawyers and Costa Coffee. Previous to this Dan worked in administration roles for companies including Citizen’s Advice Bureaux, Brabners Solicitors, Criminal Records Bureaux and TNT Couriers.

HR Consultant – Jane Howard

Jane began her career as a Civil Servant working on regeneration projects such as the Albert Dock, with one of her first projects being the opening of Tate Liverpool in 1988. She helped set up Liverpool Housing Action Trust where she was Head of HR and Administration, and has been an HR Consultant working in the Arts and Culture field since 2006.