The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Nicola Kalinsky, joined the Barber Institute as its sixth Director in January 2013, having moved from a role as Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, National Galleries of Scotland. Nicola, who moved to Scotland in 1997, played a key role in the critically acclaimed and hugely popular £17.6 million transformation of the Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh. Responsible for the development of the refurbished galleries’ interpretative information and the delivery of the first 17 exhibitions, she was the museum’s 18th-century art specialist and has been responsible for several major acquisitions. After reading History and English at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, Nicola studied for her MA at London’s Courtauld Institute of Art. She began her curatorial career as Keeper of Dulwich Picture Gallery, where she produced major shows on Charles Lebrun and Thomas Gainsborough. After five years at Dulwich, she joined University College London as Curator of the College Art Collections, where she organised the refurbishment of the Strang Print Room, initiated a public exhibition programme and restored the historic Flaxman plasters to the university. Alongside her scholarly interests, Nicola is particularly interested in how design and interpretation can be used to increase public enjoyment of fine art collections within traditional gallery spaces. At the Barber, Nicola has re-emphasised the importance of developing the collections, making important new acquisitions including several ‘firsts’ for the institution including a painting by a living artist, examples of abstract sculpture, and one of the earliest known caricatures, dating to 1594. During her directorship, the Barber has achieved its highest ever attendance figures, with numbers continuing to rise steadily as visitors come to enjoy the regularly-refreshed permanent collection and exhibitions and displays, ranging from interventions by contemporary artists to traditional research-based historical shows.