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Leonie Bradbury Named Foster Chair, Distinguished Curator-in-Residence

Leonie Bradbury head shotDr. Leonie Bradbury has joined Emerson College’s School of the Arts as the Foster Chair in Contemporary Art Theory and Practice and Distinguished Curator-in-Residence.

As a pragmatic visionary and a leading curator of contemporary art, Dr. Bradbury has excelled in roles at academic and cultural institutions and built a strong reputation as an astute reader of contemporary culture. In her distinguished career, she has curated innovative exhibitions that explore wide-ranging topics, such as copyright, biotechnology, data networks, social activism, and civic engagement.

Her curatorial programming includes solo and group exhibition projects that feature a range of established artists of national and international note, including Gregory Crewdson, Tom Friedman, Jenny Holzer, Julie Mehretu, Wangechi Mutu, and Matthew Ritchie. Two of her exhibitions have received awards from the Association of International Art Critics (AICA): A New Order: Appropriation Art in the Digital Age (second place, 2006) and Electric Wasteland: Urban Art from L.A. (first Place, 2008). She is passionate about creating platforms for artists to share their work and ideas through the thoughtful design of public programs, such as symposia, workshops, and lectures, as well as the facilitation of direct interactions between artists, exhibitions, and their audiences, both on campus and beyond.

Originally from the Netherlands, Dr. Bradbury began her studies at the University of Amsterdam. She went on to complete a B.A. in Art History specializing in Art Nouveau from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. She holds an M.A. in the History of Art and Architecture, specializing in 20th-century art, theory, and criticism, from Boston University. Additionally, she earned a Ph.D. in Visual Arts: Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Art Theory at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts, Portland, Maine, specializing in network theory and its intersections with art history and contemporary artistic practices. Her current research examines the role of the artist in the innovation ecosystem.

Dr. Bradbury served as the director and curator of the Galleries at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts, for 11 years, where she taught both critical and professional practice as part of the senior fine art capstone experience, and initiated a number of courses focused on the business of art.

She most recently served as the director of art and creative initiatives at HUBweek, a Boston-based innovation festival that explores intersections of art, science, and technology and their social impact. In that capacity, she organized two large-scale, outdoor exhibitions of public art on Boston’s iconic City Hall Plaza that included participatory projects, a 360-degree fulldome experience, digital projections, performance art, and murals on shipping containers. Additionally, she organized a dynamic performing arts program that included live music, contemporary dance, live virtual reality drawing, dancing robots, and a broad range of DJs.

Assisted by Arts Consulting Group, Emerson conducted a nation-wide search that included campus interviews with candidates from New York, San Francisco, and Boston. The search committee — composed of faculty and college administrators, with the input of undergraduate and graduate students and staff — was impressed with Dr. Bradbury’s ability to inspire students in the classroom, her vision for new programming in Emerson’s Urban Arts Media Art Gallery, and her dedication to bringing the arts out of the gallery and into public spaces in and around Emerson’s campus. President Lee Pelton endorsed the search committee’s recommendation and extended the formal offer to Dr. Bradbury.

Professor Bradbury will teach in the Department of Visual & Media Arts in addition to curating and directing the Media Art Gallery, administering the Huret & Spector Gallery, and serving on the School of the Arts Public Art Think Tank.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Leonie Bradbury to Emerson College.


Rob Sabal
Dean, School of the Arts






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