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Violet McClean

Senior Gallery Officer – TheGallery

MA Museum & Galleries Studies: Culture, Collections, Communication (Curating); Southampton University


Violet McClean has over 20 years of experience of working in galleries. She is an independent Curator and Senior Gallery Officer at TheGallery, Arts University Bournemouth.  She currently The Chair of TheGallery Group and has contributed to establish TheGallery as a leading university gallery with an international programme of exhibitions, events and publications.

She studied Arts & Event Management at AUB graduating in 1998, General Art & Design Studies, Public Art and Arts Management (Scotland), Fashion Design and Art & Craft (Ireland) prior to working at AUB.

In 2010 Violet was awarded an MA in Museum and Galleries Studies in Curating by University of Southampton. Violet has been furthering this area of research with a focus on contemporary curatorship’s relationship to classical museum curating, researching the approaches of Alfred H. Barr, Jr. founding director of The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Violet started working at the Arts University Bournemouth in 1998, where she held the post of Exhibitions Officer on a part-time basis. She set up the annual exhibitions and events programme in consultation with TheGallery’s then Chair.

Violet also worked part-time for Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Poole as their Box Office Manager & Volunteers Coordinator from 1998 to 1999 and freelanced for the Contemporary Art Society, London from 1998 to 2000.

In 1999 Violet became full-time as part of Marketing & Communications team as Promotions Officer.  Her responsibility included TheGallery, Promotions, School Liaison, Open Days, UCAS Fairs, AUB Events, WP Events and lecturing at AUB.

However, due to the development and growth in TheGallery and Marketing & Communications, it was the University’s decision to split the role in two in 2004, where Violet became a part-time Gallery Officer. She then was made Senior Gallery Officer in 2005.

Whilst working at TheGallery part-time from 2004 – 2006, she worked freelance delivering projects within the areas of Arts Marketing, Arts Business, Exhibitions and Event Management.

She also carried out a number of art and industry placements from 1996 to 2008 to include: Shell Advertising Art Collection, The National Motor Museum, Beaulieu/ Dorset Art Week, Dorset/  Bournemouth Orchestras, Poole/ Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth/ ArtSway, Sway/ City Art Centre Edinburgh, Scotland/ Scottish International Children’s Festival/ Edinburgh’s Telford College Theatre, Scotland.

From 1998 to 2009, Violet also lectured as part of her employment contract and as a Visiting Tutor within Further and Higher Education at Arts University Bournemouth.

In 2010 the Senior Gallery Officer post was made full-time, as a result of the expansion of TheGallery and the increasing number of events in support of the exhibitions. Violet has been carrying out this role ever since.

Professional practice

2010 – present:  Senior Gallery Officer currently working as a practitioner and curator within galleries and working with artists on their curatorial concepts, exhibitions, publications, events and project management.

Working with external businesses in Bournemouth bringing art to the wider public, through TheGallery’s Off-Site Programme.

Mentors and trains students interested in furthering their skills and careers in curating and event and gallery management.

2004 – 2010  (Senior) Gallery Officer (Part – time), text+work, The Gallery, Arts University Bournemouth worked as a practitioner with the area of Art and Event Management, curating and supporting staff and artist’s research through the text + work concept/programme combining theory and practice.

2004 –2006  Working freelance in marketing/business/event management, copy writer and editor.  (Self-employed/freelancer – own business – while working part-time at AUB)

Freelance Consultant working within the areas of marketing, arts liaison, promotion, design coordinator (management), brand and design development and concepts and editor.



Curator for Suddenly Last Summer 2016 and 2017. AUB Campus Galleries.

Joint Curator on “Drawing with Light – An exhibition of work by Sir Peter Cook, Poole Lighthouse, Dorset – March 2015 (TheGallery, AUB – Drawing Studio Project)

Curated Power Plays exhibition and working with performance artist Laura Eldret and writers Sally O’Reilly and Colin Perry, which was supported by an ACE Grant – September 2012.  (TheGallery, AUB – A text + work exhibition)

Group Curated: WHAT’S IT WORTH, an exhibition exploring found objects, One person‘s TRASH is another person’s TREASURE – May 2008.  (Textile Conservation Centre, Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton)

A number of external and pop up exhibitions promoting AUB as part of Promotions Officer’s role.

A number of exhibitions as part of Senior Gallery Officer’s Role


First Editor: Goldberg Variations Publication

Editor: Goldberg Variations Concert Programme

Editor of a number of TheGallery’s text + work essays, (The Gallery  Programme), Arts University Bournemouth

First Editor: Costume Symposium 2006, academic research paper published by the arts institute at Bournemouth.

Teaching and other

Violet has lectured for twelve years from 1998 to 2009, at AUB. On the following courses;

BA (Hons) Arts and Event Management – BA (Hons) Fine Art – BA (Hons) 3D Design – FdA Fashion – FdA Interior Architecture & Design – HNC Graphic Design – HNC Fine Art – ND Fine Art, ND Graphic Design – ND Multimedia – GNVQ Advanced.

Guest lecturer, University of the Arts, Fareham

External member of validation panel  – FdA degree for Libraries, Museums and Galleries, Bournemouth & Poole College, 2009.

Panel member:  BA (Hons) Arts & Event Management Course review, 2009.

Professional memberships

  • Associate Member of the Museums Association


  • Sir Misha Black Award for Innovation in Design Education, with special mention to TheGallery (2016)

Research Specialism

2016 and 2017: Curator for Suddenly Last Summer, Arts University Bournemouth.

Suddenly Last Summer is a curated selection of work from our graduating cohort, which takes place every September.  Featuring the work from Preparation for Higher Education, BA (Hons) Degree and Masters.  Its showcases over 60 artists, designers and makers. It is the biggest annual exhibition that TheGallery stages.

2010: Theory Behind Contemporary Curating

Violet’s research in 2010 focused on the concepts and theory behind contemporary curating, and how it relates to museum curating.

It is her intention to further develop her research question from her MA studies to allow her to analyze the responses from Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate and to follow up other confirmed interviews with national and international curators.

Violet wishes to develop a number of exhibitions, papers, organise a conference and to rework her research findings, so it may be published at a later date.

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