AUT School of Art and Design is pleased to announce the appointment of Stephen Cleland as the new curator and manager of ST PAUL St Gallery. Stephen joins AUT at the beginning of an exciting new phase in the gallery's development.

As a curator and writer, Stephen brings more than 15 years’ experience to the role in programming art exhibitions across Aotearoa. Most recently he was Director of Tauranga Art Gallery, a role spanning both curation and management.

Stephen says that tertiary art galleries like ST PAUL St Gallery play a critically important role in stimulating in depth engagement with contemporary art and culture.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to build on ST PAUL St’s proud history and to reimagine the possibilities for presenting the best of art and design to our audiences in the coming years,” he says.

Professor Mandy Smith, head of AUT’s School of Art and Design, says she is excited to have someone of Stephen’s expertise take up the role, and looks forward to the reawakening of the gallery spaces under his guidance.

“ST PAUL St Gallery is a vital internal link for AUT students to experience and engage with art and professional curatorial practices. Stephen brings a new energy to the gallery’s programme of events, while leading it into a new phase of transformation,” Professor Smith says.

Over the coming months, ST PAUL St Gallery will be relaunched with a new identity, signalling its expanded mandate to represent leading contemporary practitioners across the art and design fields.

“We’re excited to have attracted Stephen to the role during this exciting phase, as we look forward and reflect back on the gallery’s extraordinary history of world-class exhibitions in the lead up to its 20th anniversary next year," Professor Smith says.

Stephen returns to Tāmaki Makarau having spent the last eight years away, initially moving to Pōneke Wellington to take up the role of Curator at Victoria University of Wellington’s Adam Art Gallery. He has held additional curatorial roles at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, The Physics Room (Christchurch), and Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, (Auckland).

Stephen is curator for the 2021/22 and 2023/24 editions of the C-Art Trust Award, and his writing has featured in numerous books and publications, including Bruce Barber: Work 1970 – 2008 (Artspace Sydney/ Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, 2010), A world undone (Auckland Art Gallery, 2014) and Space to Dream: Recent Art from South America (Auckland Art Gallery, 2016).

Originally from the Waikato, Stephen is married to leading contemporary artist Sonya Lacey.

About ST PAUL St Gallery:

Established in 2004, Auckland University of Technology’s ST PAUL St Galley is dedicated to the development of contemporary art and design through a curated programme of exhibitions, events, symposia and publications focused both locally and internationally. Through these programmes, the gallery embraces the role of the University as critic and conscience of society and interrogates the proposition that the arts have a particular capacity to speak critically about society. Previous ST PAUL St Gallery curators include Balamohan Shingade, Cameron Ah Loo-Matamua, and Abby Cunnane.

IMAGE: Portrait of Stephen Cleland by Robert Cross