Image shows Emma Ridgway, the new associate curator for Venice Biennale 2022

Emma Ridgway. Photo by Kirill Kozlov

The British Council is delighted to announce that Emma Ridgway has been selected as the Shane Akeroyd Associate Curator of the British Pavilion at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, running April to November 2022.

Ridgway will support artist Sonia Boyce OBE RA in presenting a major solo exhibition of new work. Boyce was announced earlier this year as the artist commissioned by British Council to represent the UK at La Biennale Arte 2022. She came to prominence as a key figure in the burgeoning Black-British art scene of the early 1980s and is known for her highly innovative, experimental and collaborative approach to artmaking. 

Ridgway is Chief Curator at leading contemporary arts organisation Modern Art Oxford, where she has led the artistic programme of exhibitions and learning since 2015. Ridgway was previously a curator at the Barbican Centre, the Royal Society of Arts, Serpentine Gallery and Khoj International Artists’ Association in New Delhi. 

Ridgway was selected from a highly competitive shortlist of ten candidates who responded to the British Council’s open call for applications in September 2020. The final selection panel included Sonia Boyce and Emma Dexter, Director of Visual Arts at the British Council and Commissioner of the British Pavilion. 

Landscape image of Sonia Boyce OBE RA, British Pavilion artist 2021

Landscape of Sonia Boyce by Paul Cochrane, courtesy of UAL, 2013

Emma Ridgway said:

“It is an honour to be granted this exciting opportunity to become the inaugural Shane Akeroyd Associate Curator for the British Pavilion. I am completely delighted to collaborate with Sonia Boyce and the team at the British Council. It will be wonderful to learn from Boyce’s exploratory creative process as we work together to shape a unique exhibition for La Biennale Arte 2022.”

Emma Dexter, Director of Visual Arts at the British Council and Commissioner of the British Pavilion, said: 

“The British Council is delighted to have selected such a dynamic and accomplished curator in Emma Ridgway to oversee Sonia Boyce’s British Pavilion exhibition at La Biennale Arte 2022. We were impressed by the way Emma described the importance of exhibition design in relation to visitor experience, as well as her sensitivity to the nature of creative collaboration – qualities which have clearly enabled her to mount many high-profile exhibitions with great success. I can’t wait to see what comes of this exciting partnership!”

Shane Akeroyd, supporter of the Shane Akeroyd Associate Curator post, said: 

“It is an honour to support the position of Associate Curator of the British Pavilion for the next ten years and to have Emma Ridgway taking up the inaugural post. Supporting visual arts has been an important part of my life for many years and the Biennale Arte is one of the highlights of the global arts calendar. The British Pavilion is always one of the most inspirational at the Biennale Arte and I look forward to seeing the results of Emma’s collaboration with Sonia in 2022”

The British Council has been responsible for the British Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia since 1937, showcasing the best of the UK's artists, architects, designers and curators. These exhibitions, and the British Council’s Venice Fellowships initiative introduced in 2016, help make the British Pavilion a major platform for discussion about contemporary art and architecture.