Gallery Director to speak at event on 20 years of Ikon’s public art in Birmingham

  • Aston University is to host an event celebrating public art in Birmingham
  • Jonathan Watkins, Ikon Director, will deliver a keynote speech on 20 years of the internationally acclaimed contemporary gallery’s off-site work

A prestigious event to celebrate public art in Birmingham is to be hosted by Aston University in its new students’ union building on Monday 21 October.

The event, ‘Public Art in Birmingham’, will see Jonathan Watkins, Ikon Director, deliver a keynote speech marking 20 years of the internationally acclaimed city-based art gallery’s off-site programme, which has involved work by internationally renowned artists Gillian Wearing, Shimabuku, Katharina Grosse, Julian Opie and Marko Mäetamm.

The talk will also consider the dynamic local context for Marko Mäetamm’s public sculpture installed on Aston University’s campus in April 2019. The granite structure, which stands in front of the students’ union building, features a six foot pile of books with the quotation “all the books I should have read, but I’ve been doing other things instead.”

The event, which will be chaired by Professor Helen Higson, Provost and Deputy Vice Chancellor at Aston University, will also feature a discussion between Marko Mäetamm, Alistair Hicks, author of The Global Art Compass: New Directions in 21st Century Art, Theresa Bergne, Art, Design and Culture Specialist for HS2, Roxanna Collins, Culture Development Officer and Public Art Lead at Birmingham City Council and Abid Hussain, Director of Diversity at Arts Council England.

This event marks Jonathan Watkin’s 20th year in his role as Ikon Director.

Since joining the Ikon Gallery in 1999, Jonathan has curated a number of large international exhibitions, written extensively on contemporary art and served on numerous committees and boards, including the Imperial War Museum in London and the First World War Centenary Cultural Programme. He was also nominated as one of the top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy Magazine in 2013.

Tickets for this event are free, but places must be booked in advance via the Ikon website as admission is by ticket only. Guests are asked to consider making a donation for this free event.


About Jonathan Watkins

More information can be found here

About Ikon

More information can be found here

Photos (click links to download)

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students.  Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

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