Shoair Mavlian leaves Tate to become Photoworks director

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“I’m thrilled to be given the opportunity to lead an organisation I have admired for so many years,” says Shoair Mavlian of her new role, director of Photoworks. “I look forward to working with the team, developing partnerships and supporting artists at local, national and international levels to connect new audiences with photography.”

With a background in fine art photography practice and the history of photography, Mavlian has been an assistant curator at Tate Modern since 2011, curating the major exhibition The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection (Tate Modern, 2016), and Project Space: A Chronicle of Interventions (Tate Modern and TEOR/éTica, Costa Rica, 2014) and co-curating exhibitions such as Shape of Light: 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art (Tate Modern 2018), Conflict, Time, Photography (Tate Modern, 2014), and Harry Callahan (Tate Modern 2013).

Mavlian has also worked on many of the photography displays of the permanent collection, researched acquisitions for the Tate collection, and worked with the Photography Acquisitions Committee, a group of patrons helping to build the photography collection at Tate. Recent independent curatorial projects include the exhibition Don McCullin: Looking Beyond the Edge for Les Rencontres d’Arles in 2016, and In Flux exhibited at Getxo Photo 2017 and Kanellopoulos Cultural Centre, Greece, 2015, and her writing is regularly published in magazines.

Photoworks is a national development agency for photography, and its programme includes commissions, new writing, participation and projects such as the national Jerwood/Photoworks Awards, Photoworks Annual and Brighton Photo Biennial. Photoworks is a registered charity based at the University of Brighton, and a National Portfolio Organisation supported by Arts Council England. The outgoing director, Celia Davies, left in December after eight years at the organisation.

“We are very pleased to welcome Shoair Mavlian to Photoworks,” says Matt Locke, chairman of Photoworks’ board of trustees. “We ran an exhaustive recruitment process for the new director, with a very high standard of international applicants. Shoair stood out with her combination of deep experience in commissioning photography, excellent networks, and passion for supporting emerging practise.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for Shoair to work with the Photoworks team to develop an innovative and exciting programme of work, including projects such as the upcoming Jerwood/Photoworks Awards.” The Jerwood/Photoworks Awards exhibition opens at Jerwood Space London on 17 January, after which it travels to Impressions Gallery, Bradford and Belfast Exposed, Belfast


Diane Smyth

Diane Smyth is a freelance journalist who contributes to publications such as The Guardian, The Observer, The FT Weekend Magazine, Creative Review, The Calvert Journal, Aperture, FOAM, IMA, Aesthetica and Apollo Magazine. Prior to going freelance, she wrote and edited at BJP for 15 years. She has also curated exhibitions for institutions such as The Photographers Gallery and Lianzhou Foto Festival. You can follow her on instagram @dismy