The Whitworth Cabinet

The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester

2007 → 2008

The Whitworth Cabinet was set up in order to encourage an active participation in the workings of the Whitworth Art Gallery by members of a wider creative community. Containing twelve members, the Cabinet would meet four times a year, during which time it would be encouraged to test its own position within the museum’s hierarchy by questioning – and by making demands of – the curatorial team. The intention of the Cabinet was to challenge the mechanisms by which decisions within the institution were made, and to question the relevance of certain developments that took place behind closed doors. It was not intended to hold the institution to account on specific programming or administrative issues, but to offer thinking space and expertise in an environment conducive to positing potentially risky manoeuvres or ideas before embarking on their delivery. An important element of the Cabinet was its confidentiality; there was no public manifestation of the meetings, and any effect the Cabinet had would be played out through the workings of the institution.

As well as an artist and an independent curator, the cabinet included a radio producer, a social geographer, a writer and a researcher on urban & regional ecology.