Case Study
  • Categories: Nurturing ideas and people

Maria Balshaw

(Image: Katia Porter)

Total Breakthrough Fund support: £260,000

The grant to Maria was made in 2010 when she was Director of the Whitworth Art Gallery, originally intended to support sabbatical and artistic research costs, and new curatorial approaches within the Whitworth. When Maria took on the directorship of Manchester Art Galleries alongside her role at the Whitworth in 2011, the grant was rethought. A first phase supported the first collaborative exhibition shared by the various galleries, which would allow them to forge new ways of working together and would build new international collaborations and relationships.

The Breakthrough grant allowed Maria to commit her organisations to the highly ambitious We Face Forward exhibition, presented in 2012 as part of Manchester’s official Cultural Olympiad programme, bringing together the work of artists from countries across West Africa in an unprecedented and collaboratively curated exhibition of their work. Maria’s grant concluded in 2015. A later phase of activity to be supported by the grant is currently in development, [to allow staff from both institutions to collaborate again with colleagues and artists in West Africa to conceive an exhibition and related learning programmes to be realised by partners there.

Pascale Marthine Tayou’s The World Falls Apart (Le monde s’effondre) at the Whitworth Art Gallery as part of We Face Forward 2012. (Image: Michael Pollard)