What kind of a year has 2018 been for you?
It has been a year of significant change, which has been both exciting and challenging. Among other things, I am very happy to have been appointed director of Spike Island in Bristol, and for the opportunity to have curated exhibitions by some brilliant artists at Gasworks, including Rachal Bradley, Osías Yanov, Evan Ifekoya and James N. Kienitz Wilkins. They have all, in different ways, taught me a lot.
What has changed for the better and what, if anything, has changed for the worse?
The major change for me has been moving from working as curator and head of programmes at Gasworks in London to becoming director of Spike Island. I am over the moon to now be leading Spike Island, building on Helen Legg’s excellent work here over the years. Naturally though it was hard to leave Gasworks, which has played a significant role in my life for nearly a decade, particularly as I was midway through working on new commissions with artists and friends Libita Clayton, Pedro Neves Marques and Kudzanai-Violet Hwami. At the same time, I look forward to seeing how their brilliant new curator Sabel Gavaldon shapes the programme in future.
What do you wish had happened this year, but didn’t?
In a UK arts context, how about more equality, accountability and radicalism?
What would you characterise as your major achievement this year and why?
Becoming director of Spike Island: a unique, production-focused model for what a contemporary arts organisation can be and do, with a great team, an outstanding reputation, and a remarkable building. With the right support, there’s great potential for the organisation to develop in future and I am truly honoured to have been selected to lead on that.
Is there anything you’d like to have done this year but haven’t?
I wish that Sidsel Meineche Hansen and I had managed to publish SECOND SEX WAR – a book that we’ve been working together for the past couple of years, along with designer Soraya Lutangu, Paraguay Press in Paris, and many brilliant contributors – but we’ve just had to delay the release until spring 2019. I also wish that I had learned to speak Spanish fluently. How I dream of being able to rap along to the Spanish versions of Cypress Hill songs at my next karaoke opportunity: ‘Medio loco en el coco (Ido de la mente!)’
What would make 2019 a better year than 2018?
Public funding for artists, and arts organisations to do less, better.
1. Robert Leckie, director, Spike Island. Photo: Yiannis Katsaris; Courtesy: Spike Island
2. Spike Island, Bristol. Photo: Max McClure
More on a-n.co.uk:
Best exhibitions of 2018: a-n writers pick their top shows of the year
A Q&A with… Barbara Walker, artist making black histories visible