Liverpool Biennial Appoints New Trustees

Liverpool Biennial is delighted to announce the appointment of new Trustees Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press, Ian McCarthy and Jon Sharples.

Kathleen Soriano, Chair of the Board, said:

“The Board of the Liverpool Biennial takes great pride in championing, supporting and ensuring the continued success of the UK’s largest festival of contemporary art. We reflect a diverse group of individuals with specific areas of expertise that relate to the overall activities of the Liverpool Biennial and are particularly excited therefore to be able to announce the appointment of three new members.

With artists at the heart of everything that we do, it is an honour to be able to announce that the Turner Prize-nominated artist, Fiona Banner, has joined the Board. Banner, like Jon Sharples who comes on board with legal expertise and a formidable reputation for supporting young artists in their work, has roots in the Wirral. They are joined by Liverpool-born Ian McCarthy who will be known to many business leaders in the city and beyond, and whose experience in economic development and events will be highly valued by the Board and the Liverpool Biennial team.”

Fiona Banner is an artist who was born on the Wirral. She often works under the moniker of The Vanity Press, the imprint she established in 1997 with her seminal book The Nam. Her work centres on the problems and possibilities of language, both written and metaphorical. She has exhibited internationally with solo exhibitions at institutions including Tate Britain and IKON Gallery and her work is held in many public collections including Tate and MoMA. She is a Royal Academician and is based in London.

Speaking about the Biennial and Liverpool itself, Fiona said:

“Liverpool is a totally unique city, it is defined by its contradictions and humour. It has an incredible history; I’m intrigued and excited to see what is in store for the future.”

Ian McCarthy is a town planner and chartered surveyor with a strong commitment to building viable, vibrant and inclusive places. During an extensive career, he has contributed to the economic regeneration of Manchester and Liverpool and more recently, established and delivered the UKs International Business Festival 2014–2018 as Festival Director. Ian is a Director of several not-for-profit organisations and his own consultancy.

Responding to what excites him about Liverpool Biennial, Ian said:

“The Biennial brings world class artists, new experiences, new thinking and inspiration to Liverpool – the UKs most distinctive cultural centre.”

Jon Sharples is an art and intellectual property lawyer, broadcaster and curator. Originally from the Wirral, Jon read law at the University of Cambridge and trained as a solicitor at leading international law firm Simmons & Simmons in London. Between 2013 and 2019, he was Chair of the Simmons & Simmons Art Network and was responsible for the firm's celebrated collection of contemporary art, displayed across offices in 15 countries. Jon is also on the Board of Trustees at Block 336, an artist-run project space and studio provider in Brixton.

Speaking about his connection with Liverpool Biennial, Jon said:

“I remember the buzz when FACT opened in 2003 – when I was doing my GCSEs just across the Mersey – and it has felt like Liverpool has enjoyed a cultural renaissance that has been gaining momentum ever since. It’s such an exciting time to be sharing stories and making art in this city, which as well being storied, fiercely independent and confident, is outward-looking and welcoming. I am a huge admirer of our dynamic new Director Fatos Üstek and am looking forward to supporting Fatos and her team, and to challenging the organisation to be the best it can be to serve the people of Liverpool and the North West, the Biennial’s staff, all of its partners, and, of course, the artists who participate.”

Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press, Ian McCarthy and Jon Sharples join Chair, Kathleen Soriano, and current Trustees, Natasha Bintley, May Calil, Chris Evans, Jonathan Falkingham, Paul Hyland, Judith Nesbitt, John Shield, Anna Valle and Tony Wilson.