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 firstname.lastname@example.org with general enquiries.
Director and Curator
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 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).
Head of Programme
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.
Curator of Learning
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.
Curator of Learning (Maternity Cover)
Klaire is an artist and art educator from Wigan. She has a decade of experience working with adults and children from different communities to produce creative projects, including children and young people, adults experiencing homelessness, survivors of DV and disabled people. Klaire also co-leads TERM Art Classes, an alternative art school for Life Drawing and Art History. Klaire completed a BA (Hons) in Design for Performance (2014) and Masters in Making Performance (MA) (2018) at Edge Hill University. She went on to become a scenographer and designer for touring theatre productions. Her own arts practice has been internationally exhibited since 2014, including solo and group shows in New York City, Venice Architecture Biennale, Moscow, Tokyo, Helsinki, and Melbourne.
Assistant Curator, Logistics and Artist Liaison
Following her undergraduate studies, Amy was the recipient of a Weston Jerwood Creative Bursary – joining The Hepworth Wakefield as Curatorial Assistant and later progressing to Assistant Curator. Here, Amy worked on several largescale exhibitions including the inaugural Hepworth Prize for Sculpture, Anthea Hamilton Reimagines Kettle’s Yard and Disobedient Bodies: JW Andreson Curates The Hepworth Wakefield. Following this, Amy held several collections-based roles at Science Museum Group.
As an independent curator, Amy has curated exhibitions in gallery spaces and art fairs and has worked on international projects including Creative Time’s programming at the Venice Biennale. She recently gained an MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies from the University of Manchester and held a curatorial role at The Whitworth (University of Manchester) prior to joining Liverpool Biennial.
Assistant Curator, Production
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.
Liverpool Biennial Professor of Exhibition Research
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.
Development, Marketing & Communications
Director of Development & Communications
Petra 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.
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.
Elise gained experience in the art sector as an independent illustrator and graphic designer – working internationally with Macmillan Publishing to produce images in special edition books for Barnes & Noble and collaborating with NYT Bestselling Author Tomi Adeyemi to design merchandise. Elise graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from LJMU and gained fundraising experience working for Claire House Children’s Hospice.
Marketing & Communications Manager
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 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
HR Support Manager
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.
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 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.
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.
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. She has written extensively in her field and her broadcast activities include the five series of Portrait/Landscape Artist of the Year for SkyArts.
Deputy Chair & Chair of FHRC
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 UK’s International Business Festival 2014–2018 as Festival Director. Ian is a Director of several not-for-profit organisations and his own consultancy.
Natasha Bintley is a Liverpool born Chartered Accountant. Having completed a Master of Arts in Economics and Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh, Natasha commenced an ACA training contract at DSG Chartered Accountants, where she was also Secretary of the Liverpool Students Chapter (LCASA). Following qualification in 2017, she moved to RSM UK, working in audit with technical specialisms in AIM Listed companies and the not-for-profit sector.
Catherine Petitgas is a London-based art historian, patron and collector specialising in modern and contemporary art especially from Latin America. Following a career in finance in London and New York she retrained in art history with a Diploma of Modern Art Studies from Christie’s Education and a Masters in the History of Modern Art from the Courtauld Institute, London. She has been Executive Editor of books on the contemporary art scenes of Brazil, Colombia and Mexico, curator of exhibitions in the US and in Latin America, a lecturer and a guide at Tate Modern and Tate Britain. She is a former Trustee of the Whitechapel Gallery (2009-2018), former Chair of the Franco-British initiative Fluxus Art Projects (2010-2022) and the current Chair of Gasworks Triangle Network in London. She is the former Chair of the Tate International Council (2016-2022) and a member of the Tate Latin America Acquisitions Committee (since 2004). She is also a member of the Board of Les Amis du Centre Pompidou and the Pompidou Latin America Circle in Paris, and founding member of the Guggenheim Latin Circle (since 2016) in New York, among others. She supports several institutions in Latin America including the São Paulo Biennial and the Museo Tamayo in Mexico City. She discovered the Liverpool art scene in 2003 as a Tate Guide and has supported several initiatives in the city since, at Tate Liverpool and the Liverpool Biennial.
David Heron is a Chartered Civil Engineer with a long-standing relationship to Liverpool Biennial. David leads the Structural Engineering team at Arup’s Liverpool office, mentoring junior Engineers and Technicians under formal training agreements. David would typically undertake design leadership and coordination roles to ensure successful project outcomes for Arup’s clients and draws on considerable construction industry experience. David is effective in identifying project opportunities and manging risk. David was notably influential in the successful Jaume Plensa Dream and Ugo Rondinone Liverpool Mountain sculptures, in addition to many striking and memorable temporary installations across the city
Hetain Patel is a London based visual artist and performance maker. His live performances, films, sculptures, and photographs have been shown worldwide from the Venice Biennale, Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing and Tate Modern, London to Sadler’s Wells, where he is a New Wave Associate. Patel made his first dance company work for Candoco in 2014, which toured internationally for five years. His work exploring identity and freedom, using humour, choreography and text appears in multiple formats and media, intended to reach the widest possible audience. His voice and performance work online have been watched over 50 million times, which includes his TED talk of 2013 titled ‘Who Am I? Think Again’.
Patel is represented by Chatterjee &Lal, Mumbai, is a patron of QUAD, Derby, and sits on the Artist Council for a-n. He is the winner of the Film London Jarman Award, 2019, Kino Der Kunst Festival’s Best International Film 2020, and has been selected to participate in the British Art Show 9, 2012/22.
Jonathan Falkingham MBE is Creative Director and Co-Founder of award-winning property company UrbanSplash. Jonathan has been working in the North West since 1989, when he set up design practice shedkm. He founded Urban Splash in 1993 with Tom Bloxham and has lead big projects ranging from Fort Dunlop to his own award-winning house in Liverpool. Jonathan is committed to good architecture and is a Trustee of the RIBA.
Rick Behari is a senior communications director who has managed PR and communications for some of the UK’s leading media brands including the BBC, Fremantle Media, and Sky. He has extensive experience of crisis management, campaign delivery, media, and talent relations. His current role at Sky as Director of Communications, Content and Brand involves overseeing all communications activity for Sky Arts, including the channel’s recent successful free-to-air launch.
Scott Smith is Head of Digital Content at Manchester International Festival (MIF) where he leads a department responsible for Digital and Editorial Content, Digital Experiences and Product Management. His experience includes overseeing large-scale digital projects, including website redevelopments, apps, gallery and exhibition audio-visual content, and immersive experiences across NML’s seven museums and galleries. Scott was born in Liverpool and grew up in North Wales.
Simon Groom is Director of Modern & Contemporary Art at the National Galleries of Scotland. Born in Liverpool, he graduated with a degree in English Literature from Edinburgh University, before spending time living and working in Japan and Italy, and then completed an MA and PhD in post war international art at the Courtauld Institute of Art. He was previously curator at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, and Head of Exhibitions at Tate Liverpool. He has a specialist interest in art from Asia, and has curated numerous exhibitions including The Real Thing, the first major museum presentation of contemporary art from China in the UK.
Ying Tan has extensive experience working in the arts and culture sector in the UK with a particular expertise focusing on contemporary art practices within East Asia. Currently, she is Senior Programmes Manager, Collections at the Art Fund, where she leads on museum acquisitions including the development of new funding streams and commissioning projects as well as managing areas of Art Fund’s diverse portfolio of programmes. Previously, she has been Head of Public Art (interim) at Futurecity, Curator at the British Council, a visiting lecturer for Christie’s Education on the MA Art of Asia course as well as the Curating the Contemporary MA course at Goldsmiths, University of London.