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Update on recent media coverage regarding the Whitworth Art Gallery

24 Feb 2022

You may have seen that there has been some speculative media coverage initiated in the Guardian with regard to the Whitworth Art Gallery

We should reiterate that staffing matters remain strictly internal to the University and we do not comment on media speculation of this nature, including in relation to our current Whitworth Director, Alistair Hudson.

We would, however, like to address the explicit criticism in the coverage that the University has in some way suppressed academic and artistic freedoms, particularly in relation to the Cloud Studies exhibition by Forensic Architecture last year.

We refute such claims entirely; indeed the University went to great lengths to ensure that the Cloud Studies exhibition remained opened for the full period that had been planned. The University’s position was clearly articulated in a statement that accompanied the exhibition.

Museums and galleries have traditionally been a space of experimentation and challenge and we hope that the Whitworth is a place where we can debate, discuss and disagree well. As a university and gallery, there are various rights and duties which apply across our work, including the protection of academic freedom, freedom of speech and expression and duties under equality laws (including the public sector equality duty.)

We work tirelessly to ensure that these rights, and our duties (including our public sector duties), are considered fully and carefully.

Such media speculation and reaction is very unhelpful and will have caused unnecessary concern and questions for many of our staff, students and stakeholders.