Alistair Hudson is the Scientific-Artistic Chairman of the ZKM | Karlsruhe since April 1, 2023. He succeeds Peter Weibel, who had headed the institution since 1999.
Hudson is a curator and museum director with broad-ranging international experience. He combines contemporary curatorial expertise with a profound knowledge of the relationship between art, technology and society. From 2018 to 2022 he served as director of two museums in Manchester: the Manchester Art Gallery and The Whitworth. The latter is the art museum of the University of Manchester, where he was also Professor of Useful Art.
Alistair Hudson’s concept of a »useful museum« envisions artistic institutions and cultural institutions as centres of social responsibility and transformation. He believes that they should be run artistically, as works in progress in their own right. Together with the artist Tania Bruguera he heads the Asociación de Arte Útil, a growing international network which collaborates with other institutions such as the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, INSTAR in Havanna and YBCA San Francisco.
Hudson has been a member of many panels. For example, he was on the juries for the Turner Prize, Artes Mundi Prize and a member of the selection committee for the British pavilion of the Venice Biennale 2021.
In 1994, after completing his studies in art history and fine art, he went to work for the prestigious Anthony d’Offay Gallery in London. From 2000 he served as curator of public projects for the Government Art Collection. From 2004 he was vice director of Grizedale Arts, a ground-breaking art institution and international artists residency programme operating from a farm in England’s Lake District. From 2014 he served as director of the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, where he radically re-invented the museum, working with the residents of the city to give it social purpose. His activities in these institutions has generated considerable public attention and had much influence on the cultural sector.
Although Alistair Hudson’s career has taken him to many stations in England, he sees himself as a true European, working in a rapidly changing global context. European culture and philosophy have shaped him profoundly, inspiring him to collaborate with many institutions in Europe, whilst joining in wide dialogue across all geographies and cultures. His methods have focused on the relationships between culture, society, politics and technical progress – originally in the context of Britain’s industrial revolution and Empire, but today extending to interactions with our digitized environment and beyond.