Photo by Hayley Banks.
Liz Cooper has a passion for learning and it is vital to her that visitors to her exhibitions are entertained, challenged, educated and invited to think. Liz has a background in contemporary art and textiles. She chooses to work with artists whose concepts and ideas matter to hers, and strives to develop and present projects that are s not only of importance to everyone involved, but also has the potential to reach a wide audience. Liz is excited by curating contemporary craft, and deeply interested in the inevitability of change and how artists respond. The core of what Liz does is to present intriguing and thought-provoking ideas that are explored through the work of artists who also engage with process and materials. (With sincere thanks to Bridget Macklin for drafting this statement.)
Current and Recent Exhibition Projects
CTRL/Shift is a new exhibition project developed in partnership with The 62 Group and launching at MAC Birmingham in July 2018. Liz is also working on a new project with artist Jane Hoodless. Other projects include
- “What Do I Need to Do to Make It OK?”, launched at Pump House Gallery, London in August 2015, supported by Arts Council England and toured to seven other venues until November 2017.
- “Artists Meet Their Makers” for West Dean Tapestry Studio at the Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
- Marks & Tools, a major showcase of designer-makers from the Design-Nation portfolio, at the Oxo Tower Gallery on the Southbank as part of London Craft Week.
“Beauty is the First Test”, a group craft exhibition created for Pump House Gallery in 2012 and touring til 2014 at R-Space, Lisburn, Northern Ireland; The National Centre for Craft & Design (NCCD); Bilston Craft Gallery; Platform Gallery, Clitheroe; and National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny, Ireland. The exhibition included new furniture and film commissions to support case studies of five makers, plus nine other artists.
- A retrospective of Renate and Charles Keeping for The Knitting & Stitching Shows in 2014.
Since 2010 Liz has worked part-time for the North Kesteven arts partnership, for whom she runs the Design-Nation portfolio. Between 2010 and 2015 she also managed The National Centre for Craft & Design’s touring exhibitions programme. This included Transplantation, narrative jewellery and migration, touring UK and Australia 2012-2015; Creating a Scene, craft & theatre design, at Oriel Davies, mid Wales in 2014; Bathing Beauties, an EU-funded architecture competition, touring 2008-2015; and Black Sheep, an investigation of the edgier side of felt art practice, curated by artist Laura Mabbutt, touring 2014-2017.
Prior to joining NCCD Liz was craft curator for three years at Smiths Row (formerly Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery), curating exhibitions such as Better than Grey and Making and Mending. She worked for five years in senior arts administration roles for Studio Voltaire and Contemporary Art Society, both in London. Alongside this, she’s freelanced since 2002 for the annual UK/Ireland touring event The Knitting and Stitching Show with internationally renowned textile and fibre artists from around the world.
In 2014 Liz was elected as London representative to CraftNet, a leadership development initiative in the contemporary craft sector. She was a selector for the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland’s 2018 External Exhibitions Fund, and the 4th Riga Textile and Fibre Art Triennial in Latvia in 2010. In 2009 was part of the Arts Council England “Forming Ideas” research initiative to the Nordic countries. She taught professional development for artists at Mary Ward Centre, London for several years .
Liz studied textiles at Goldsmiths College London, graduating in 2002 with a specialism in digital weaving. Prior to this she was a project manager in the financial services sector, including eight years working for Visa International’s European HQ.