Meet the trio behind the making of town's 'cultural quarter'

Kirsty Holtby, Simon Hedges and Andrew Clay
Kirsty Holtby, Simon Hedges and Andrew Clay

A new senior management team is promising a fresh and inspiring future for what has been hailed as Scarborough's cultural quarter.

The Rotunda Museum, Scarborough Art Gallery, the creative businesses hub at Woodend and the internationally significant Scarborough Collections will soon be merged to provide and promote culture, heritage and creativity that supports the local economy and reaches out to surrounding communities.

This innovative collaboration, which will launch under a new name in the summer, will be led by chief executive, Andrew Clay; head of curation, collections and exhibitions, Simon Hedges; and head of operations, Kirsty Holtby.

“This is an exciting time for culture and creativity in Scarborough,” said Andrew Clay, who has been director at Woodend for the past 12 years and chief executive of Scarborough Museums Trust for the past year.

“Our vision is to transform the Crescent into a vibrant hub where creative thinkers thrive and innovators flourish.

“The creative industries are the fastest growing sector in the UK economy, so we want to make sure that in Scarborough jobs are created and aspirations raised by utilising an astonishing array of cultural assets that exist here.

"We also have plans to create working partnerships with various other cultural and educational organisations and creative communities in the area. I am delighted that we now have an experienced senior management team in place to deliver this vision.”

Simon Hedges, a curator who has worked with leading contemporary artists such as Tracey Emin and Gavin Turk, said: “We’re planning a three-year programme of exhibitions, events and commissions as part of a new contemporary platform for culture and creativity across the region. We will work with our extensive Collections to create a new Northern spectacle that will tell the story of our community – illustrating its significant contribution to UK society.”

Kirsty Holtby, who has joined the team from Ryedale Folk Museum, said: “I’m delighted to be joining the team at such an exciting time – this is a unique opportunity to help create something which will be of real cultural significance, and a real asset to both the town and the region.”

The first of what promises to be an uncompromising programme of exhibitions is Suffering Arcadia, three installations by Hull-based artist Annabel McCourt inspired by the current political climate and the erosion of human rights. It can be seen at Scarborough Art Gallery from May 11 to September 1.