The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) announced today the appointment of Dominic Willsdon as SFMOMA’s new Leanne and George Roberts Curator of Education and Public Programs. Willsdon has been a curator in the education department at Tate Modern in London since 2000—first as curator of events and interpretation from 2000 to 2002 and most recently as curator of public events. He will start at SFMOMA in late 2005.
“Dominic brings a wonderful combination of expertise, imagination, and an in depth knowledge of contemporary art to the Museum. We are looking forward to having him continue the tradition of innovative education programs at SFMOMA,” states SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra.
Of his appointment, Willsdon says, “I am thrilled to join an outstanding team in such a dynamic museum. SFMOMA has an international reputation and I look forward to developing an educational program that engages and inspires the local community and will keep the institution at the forefront of the museum world.”
At Tate Modern, Willsdon established the education events program as one of the leading of its kind. His programs aimed to connect earlier modern art and culture to current artistic developments and to encourage a dialogue that fills the gaps between academic thinking and art practice. He negotiated strategic partnerships with the BBC, British Film Institute, and leading universities, just to name a few. As curator of public events, Willsdon headed Tate’s program of talks, conferences, films and performances. He collaborated with educators establishing programs for schools, teachers, families, and other community groups. He also contributed to the development of major education initiatives at the Tate including, Tate Papers, the museum’s online journal, online special events, e-learning, research, and publications. As Tate Modern curator of events and interpretation, Willsdon originated the adult education program. He was the editor for the museum’s interpretive texts for exhibitions such as Century City, Katharina Fritsch, and Giorgio Morandi.
Willsdon was responsible for developing a significant film program at Tate Modern. He also steered the London Consortium graduate school at Tate Modern, which hosts nearly eighty masters and PhD students annually.
Willsdon holds a master’s degree and PhD in philosophy from the University of Essex, England, and a master’s degree with honors in fine art from Edinburgh University, Scotland. He was a lecturer in critical theory at the Royal College of Art, London (1999–2005) and a lecturer in the history of modern art at England’s Open University and Birkbeck College at the University of London (1995–1999).
At SFMOMA, Willsdon will be responsible for developing, directing, and implementing interpretive programs for the public related to the Museum’s collection and special exhibitions, including tours, gallery talks, lectures, symposia, teacher workshops, multiple session courses, screenings, concerts, and various special programs. He will oversee the Koret Visitor Education Center (the only educational facility at an American modern and contemporary art museum to offer drop-in public access), docent programs, school and youth programs, public programs, community outreach, and other education activities that augment the Museum’s exhibitions to help visitors better understand and enjoy modern and contemporary art.
He will supervise Education Department staff and serve as the department’s liaison with senior staff, curators, auxiliaries, and other Museum departments. Willsdon will also serve as project director for the design, development, and implementation of the resources provided by new technologies to facilitate educational instruction, and he will work in collaboration with SFMOMA’s other curators to prepare educational materials related to Museum collections and exhibitions.
SFMOMA’s Education Department presents a broad range of educational offerings that address the variety of audiences served by the Museum and enhance visitors’ understanding of modern and contemporary art. Encompassing expansive learning resources for Museum visitors; regular classes for members, artists, and the education community; monthly family programs; and ongoing programs in schools and neighborhoods around the Bay Area, the Education Department’s programming significantly contributes to the Museum’s profile as a learning resource devoted to modern and contemporary art.