Thames-Side Studios Talks: Liz Cooper (12 Oct 2016)

Wednesday 12 October 2016
Education Space (Unit 2)

A new series of talks from invited artists, makers and curators, both from Thames-Side Studios and elsewhere, held in the Education Space (Unit 2). The first talk was by contemporary craft curator Liz Cooper.

Liz curated the touring exhibition What Do I Need to Do to Make It OK? which launched at Pumphouse Gallery and on display at Forty Hall & Estate, Enfield until 20 November 2016. The exhibition is supported by Arts Council England and is touring until early 2018.

About Liz: Liz Cooper is a contemporary craft curator and project manager with a background in art textiles and a strong grounding in contemporary visual arts. Her practice centres on the valuing and placement of craft practice within a wider visual arts context; and building audiences for this through work with a wide range of venues and organisations, not all of who are art-specific. This work necessarily involved extensive partnership working with a complex array of stakeholders and funders.

Since 2010-2015 Liz has worked part-time for the North Kesteven arts partnership, for whom she now runs the Design-Nation portfolio. Until mid 2015 she had primary responsibility for managing The National Centre for Craft & Design‘s (NCCD) touring exhibitions programme. This included Transplantation, narrative jewellery and migration, touring UK and Australia 2012-2015; Creating a Scene, craft & theatre design, at Oriel Davies, mid-Wales in summer 2014; and Bathing Beauties, an EU-funded architecture competition, touring 2008-2015. Since 2013 she’s also worked on various projects for NCCD’s sister organisation Design Factory, and in July 2014 assumed the management of the latest brand to join the family Design-Nation.

Prior to joining NCCD Liz was craft curator for three years at Smiths Row (formerly Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery), curating exhibitions such as Better than Grey and Making and Mending. She worked for five years in senior arts administration roles for Studio Voltaire and Contemporary Art Society, both in London. Alongside this, she’s freelanced since 2002 for the annual UK/Ireland touring event The Knitting and Stitching Show with internationally renowned textile and fibre artists from around the world.

Recent exhibition projects include Growing a survey of new trends in craft & design, to celebrate NCCD’s 10th anniversary in summer 2013; Made in the Middle, a partnership between Craftspace, MAC Birmingham and NCCD (touring 2012-2013); a touring retrospective for renowned textile artist Pauline Burbidge; a retrospective of Renate and Charles Keeping for The Knitting & Stitching Shows in 2014; and Beauty is the First Test, a group craft exhibition for the Pump House Gallery, London in 2012, and touring until July 2014: R-Space @ The Linen Rooms in Lisburn, Northern Ireland; The National Centre for Craft & Design; Bilston Craft Gallery; Platform Gallery, Clitheroe and National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny, Ireland. The exhibition included new furniture and film commissions to support case studies of five makers, plus nine other artists.

Her current major freelance project is What Do I Need to Do to Make It OK? which launched at Pumphouse Gallery London in August 2015, supported by Arts Council England and is touring until early 2018.

In 2014 Liz was elected to join CraftNet, a leadership development initiative in the contemporary craft sector. She was a selector for the British Tapestry Group’s exhibition Woven Threads at Orleans House Gallery (2011) and for the 4th Riga Textile and Fibre Art Triennial in Latvia (2010). In 2010 Liz also curated the first ever tour of the Holland Paper Biennial to London and in 2009 was selected to join the Arts Council England Forming Ideas research initiative to all five Nordic countries.

Liz taught professional development for artists at Mary Ward Centre, London for several years and sits on the selection panel for Design Factory’s membership. Liz studied textiles at Goldsmiths College London, specialising in digital weaving for her degree show in 2002. Prior to this she was a project manager in the financial services sector, including eight years working for Visa International’s European HQ. For more on Liz Cooper go to lizcooper.org