Liverpool Biennial Announces New Chair of its Board

© Benedict Johnson

© Benedict Johnson

Liverpool Biennial today announces Kathleen Soriano as the new Chair of its Board, taking up her appointment in October 2016. She replaces Paula Ridley, who has served as Chair of the Biennial since December 2007.

Kathleen Soriano began her career at the Royal Academy of Arts 30 years ago. In 1989 she joined the National Portrait Gallery as Head of Exhibitions & Collections, with additional responsibility for national and international programmes. In 2004 she became one of the first cohort of Clore Leadership Fellows taking up roles at the South Bank Centre and Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. In February 2006 she became Director of Compton Verney, Warwickshire and in 2009 returned to the RA as Director of Exhibitions where she remained until 2014 when she left to work independently.

A trustee of the House of Illustration, she is a patron of Crisis, the Stroke Association, and a member of the Women Leaders in Museums Network. She sits on the strategic committee of the Grand Palais in Paris, on the Wellcome Collection exhibition advisory group, chairs the Churches Conservation Trust’s Art Advisory board, is specialist advisor to the National Trust, and is on the editorial board of Apollo magazine.

She has lectured and written extensively on the visual arts and is currently preparing a book on women artists for publication in 2018. Her broadcast activities include the five series of Portrait/Landscape Artist of the Year for SkyArts.

Paula Ridley CBE DL steps down after nine years of service as Chair of Liverpool Biennial. Amongst her appointments in a distinguished career in the fields of urban regeneration, the arts and the environment, she was a Trustee of the Tate (and first Chair of Tate Liverpool) and of the National Gallery. She was Chairman of the Victoria and Albert Museums between 1998 and 2007. She was a Board Member of the Merseyside Development Corporation between 1991 and 1998, was a member of the Royal Commission on Long Term Care for the Elderly between 1997 and 1999, and presented Granada Television’s social action programmes between 1989 and 1991. She is an Honorary Fellow of John Moores University and of the Royal Institute of British Architecture.

Sally Tallant, Director of Liverpool Biennial said: “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Kathleen Soriano as our new Chair to take the organisation forward, at a time when the Biennial is established as the UK’s biggest and most successful international contemporary art festival. We are all immensely grateful to Paula Ridley for her dedication and support of the Biennial through this highly successful decade. I, and my colleagues, would like to express our gratitude to her for her lasting contribution to the Biennial.“