Wednesday 09 September 2020


The British Council is pleased to launch an open call for the inaugural Shane Akeroyd Associate Curator of the British Pavilion at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, running April to November 2022.

The selected curator will support artist Sonia Boyce OBE RA in presenting a major solo exhibition of new work. Boyce, a Royal Academician and Professor at University of the Arts London, was announced earlier this year as the artist commissioned by British Council to represent the UK at the 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 art-making.

Following a British Council pilot open call in 2019 to widen opportunities for UK visual arts professionals, this is the first curatorial post to be sponsored by British philanthropist and contemporary art collector Shane Akeroyd. Akeroyd has pledged ten years’ worth of support for the Associate Curator of the British Pavilion art exhibitions in Venice.

The selected curator will work on all curatorial aspects of the exhibition, collaborating closely with Boyce and the British Council’s Visual Arts team. The post is open to UK-based contemporary visual arts professionals who can demonstrate strong curatorial experience but would still benefit from the international exposure and insights that the opportunity will bring. Experience of commissioning new work and supporting artists as they develop ideas is essential for those applying.

The deadline for submitting applications is 23.59 BST on Sunday 27 September and shortlisted applicants will be invited to interview in October. More information on how to apply can be found here.

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

“The British Council is thrilled that Shane Akeroyd is so generously supporting the post of Associate Curator of the British Pavilion over the next ten years. Building on the success of last year’s open call, we are delighted to offer this career-changing opportunity to work closely with Sonia Boyce, one of the UK’s most respected visual artists. It also opens up new international experiences and contacts and offers a unique insight into cultural relations and the interplay of contemporary culture and national identity at the core of the Biennale Arte.”

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

“It is an honour to offer my support to the Associate Curator of the British Pavilion. Supporting visual arts is an important part of my life 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 am excited to be joining the British Council team in making it happen for the next decade.”

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.

Notes to Editor

The British Pavilion is commissioned by the British Council; please ensure you credit the British Council in all editorial features.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Claire McAuley, Media Relations, Arts: +447542268752

For more information on how to apply: 

Exhibition details:

The 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, April – November 2022 

The British Pavilion is commissioned and managed by British Council Visual Arts. 

Commissioner: Emma Dexter, British Council Director Visual Arts.

For latest news on the British Council commission: 

Follow updates on the #BritishPavilion via: TwitterFacebook and Instagram 

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We build connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language. In 2019-2020 we reached over 75 million people directly and 758 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive a 14.5 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.

About the British Pavilion 

Artists commissioned to represent Britain have included: Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Ben Nicholson, Anthony Caro, Bridget Riley, Richard Long, Frank Auerbach, Barry Flanagan, Howard Hodgkin,  Tony Cragg, Anish Kapoor, Richard Hamilton, Leon Kossoff, Rachel Whiteread, Gary Hume, Mark Wallinger, Chris Ofili, Gilbert & George, Tracey Emin, Steve McQueen, Mike Nelson, Jeremy Deller, Sarah Lucas, Phyllida Barlow and Cathy Wilkes (2019). 

To find out more about previous British Pavilion exhibitions and British Council Visual Arts visit: and

About the Venice Fellowships

The Venice Fellowships enable students and volunteers to spend a month in Venice during one of the world’s most significant art and architecture biennales:  

About Shane Akeroyd

Shane Akeroyd is President IHS Markit Asia Pacific and Global Head of Account Management. A British philanthropist and contemporary art collector, Shane has been supporting visual arts and art institutions for many years. He has been a Patron of the Tate since 2004, a Founding Patron of the Chisenhale Gallery since 2009, and is on the Boards of Directors at Artists Space, New York and Para Site, Hong Kong.