Senior Research Fellow
Birmingham School of Art
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Gavin Wade is an award winning artist-curator, influential public gallery director of Eastside Projects and producer and curator of world-class public art, exhibition making, writing, and publishing over the last two decades.
Wade is a pragmatic utopian. His practice combines upcycling, re-enactment and developing exhibiting structures for ‘supporting’ the work of others.
Living and working in London from 1991-2004 Wade established his artist-curator approach to art production curating his first exhibition in 1996. His major curated exhibition ‘In the Midst of Things’, Bournville Village, 1999, was heralded as ‘perhaps the most intriguing example of a site-specific project I’ve seen in Britain’ by Alex Farquharson in Frieze magazine.
Returning to Birmingham in 2004, Wade proposed a new artist run space as public gallery in 2007. Eastside Projects was launched in 2008 as a new regularly funded organisation (National Portfolio Organisation) by Arts Council England in partnership with Birmingham City University, with a team of collaborative directors.
In 2010 he received the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Breakthrough Fund Award for exceptional cultural entrepreneurs “after 12 years of distinctive and challenging artist-curator practice in unusual spaces. His aim was to establish a new model of artist-run space that supports high-quality artists’ practice, impacts significantly on the cultural life of the city, and contributes to both national and international critical cultural ideas and agendas.”
In 2017 Book Works and Stroom den Haag published a selection of 26 texts by Wade as ‘Upcycle This Book’, and he has curated, edited, and published over 60 publications beginning with his seminal book ‘Curating in the 21st Century’, (2000), and 27 publication works in his ongoing Strategic Questions series. Wade has curated over many exhibitions in sites ranging from museums to Naval Frigates, Cathedrals, the entire Piccadilly Line, Greenham Common and Dudley Zoo, islands, villages, across the UK, USA, Germany, Norway, Austria, Holland, Italy, United Arab Emirates and China. He is seen as a world leading artist-curator and is cited within Paul O’Neill’s 2012 MIT publication, ‘The Curating of Culture and the Culture of Curating’ (2012), and his practice forms a case study in Alison Green’s ‘When Artists Curate: Contemporary Art and the Exhibition as Medium’, Reaktion Books, London (2018).